I'm trying to adhere to buddhist principles in my life wherever I can. I understand that it's really the best approach in just about every situation you can find yourself in.

However, right now I'm owed a not insubstantial amount of money from one of my clients who is refusing to take my phone calls, or answer emails to discuss the matter.

Honestly, it burns me up inside and when I think about having to deal with it I feel angry and resentful which I know is not a good way to live.

From my understanding I should really just let go of the matter completely, and calmly wait for the universe to resolve this for me, one way or another. If I receive the money, then all is well, and if I don't receive the money, all is still well.

From a Buddhist perspective, at what point should I give up and move on?

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    I think that you should let go in the way that you don't take the matter personally, see the anger that is conditioned by factors and conditions as not being yourself, and so don't resist that anger but let it cease, let it go home by itself. "Ah, this anger has arisen because this happened, it is conditioned, it is not me, it is not mine, it is not myself. :)" Then go after the money smiling if you get it, smiling if you don't get it.
    – user4878
    Oct 23, 2015 at 11:15
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    Thanks @UrsulRosu. That makes sense, and helps. Accept the anger for what it is, watch it (hopefully) pass, and have no expectation one way or the other for the outcome. All the while continuing to pursue them in a reasonable, and non-agressive, yet persistent, manner.
    – Suibhne
    Oct 23, 2015 at 14:24
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    @Suibhne: see buddhism.stackexchange.com/a/12025/43
    – Andriy Volkov
    Oct 23, 2015 at 22:25

2 Answers 2


Answer based in Theravada Buddhism.

Such situations that you describe here can really get one burning inside. It can make one so angry. The feeling of being poorly treated can also arise.

The nature of these feelings are dark and stormy. They leave a gloomy print on the mind, which is not conducive to either ones practice or ones way of life.

One can choose to see this from the above mentioned angle. One can react to the anger and feed it, by giving it attention and dwelling in it. One can identify with it and take ownership of it, saying that "I am angry" and that "This is my anger" or "This person did this to me". These are examples of how ignorance (avijja) and conceit (mana), makes one see reality from a distorted perspective. Like when horses are made to eat dry grass, by wearing a green eye-glas, making them believe that the dry grass is fresh.

When one reacts to anger and feeds it, it will grow. When one throws gasoline on a bonfire, it will grow. The negative feed-back loop is in effect. The snow-balling is in effect. When unbroken, this loop will only produce more and more anger. If this anger is allowed to persists in the mind over longer periods of time, it will produce responses in the physical body such as "increased respiration, perspiration, rapid heartbeat, head-ache, tensions".

The above, describes how anger develops when not dealt with and how it can affect ones mind and body and ones practice and life. When anger is left unattended, i.e. without mindfulness, then this defilement can operate in the dark. Defilements like to operate in the dark, where one cannot see them. Here they grow and multiply like bacteria or fungi, which also like dark and moist places.

One can also choose to approach this from an insight-meditational perspective.

By observing the anger with mindfulness in the present moment, one can clearly see how unwholesome defilements really are. One can see for oneself what effect they have on the mind and body. By observing the anger with mindfulness, one is dragging the anger out in the light. In the light, it cannot conceil its operation anymore. When observing the anger with an objective and non-interacting approach, the anger cannot grow because it is not being fed anymore. When one is not interacting with conditioned phenomena, they will reveal their true nature for the observer. Their true nature is that they are impermanent (anicca), unsatisfactory (dukkha) and uncontrollable/ungovernable (anatta).

When one is interacting with phenomena, i.e. reacting to them, one will get burnt. Its like picking up a piece of hot charcoal and holding it in ones hand. One is bound to get burned.

Only you can decide what to do in this situation. Only you can make a decision.

You have the Buddha and the Noble Eightfold Path to guide you.

My suggestion is that you use this remarkable oppertunity that you have been given, to develop insight into the nature of reality. You are very lucky, that you are now experiencing this intense anger inside you. Why are you lucky?

Because pain and suffering are great teachers and if you use these teachers correctly, i.e. by observing them with mindfulness in the present moment, with an objective and non-interacting approach, you will see how the defilements affect the mind and body. When seeing how anger makes one burn inside, over and over, one will eventually stop reacting to anger. One has seen for oneself the destructive nature of anger. If you keep observing the anger, you will also see that it is impermanent and that it changes over time. You will see that this anger is not you or yours. How can it be? It arose without your permission and it does not go away, just because one wants it to go away.

In insight-meditation we treat all phenomena the same. A happy feeling is treated in the same way as intense anger, meaning that the anger is not given more or less attention. All objects are treated the same. When observing the anger and aversion towards it arise, then observe the aversion. You can also observe the physical effects of the anger, if they are there.

In short, use this remarkable oppertunity to see for yourself, how conditioned phenomena affects the mind and body. Use this pain and suffering to cultivate insights. We tend to turn away from pain and suffering, yet these are our greatest teachers. If we were happy all the time, then why would anyone work on themselves?

Pain and suffering is what makes us want to change and work with ourselves. Use this oppertunity wisely. A human life is very short. Cultivate as much insight as you can before this life ends.

Lastly, here are some videos from my teacher Ven. Yuttadhammo, on how to deal with anger and pain and suffering.

Now, I have not gone into the antidotes for dealing with anger, such as Metta-meditation, since that would make this answer too long. Just know that anger is one of the 5 hindrances, that blocks one from progressing in meditation. Read about the hindrances and learn how to deal with them. Metta-meditation is mentioned by Ven. Yuttadhammo in one of the above videos.

May you have a fruitful practice my friend. Let me know, if you have any questions to what I wrote.

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    Thanks very much for taking the time to reply @Lanka. That's given me a lot to think about, and I really appreciate your perspective and opinion. I'll spend some time contemplating your answer and will let you know if I have any further questions.
    – Suibhne
    Oct 24, 2015 at 10:04

Imagine a monkey came to your house and grabbed something of value and climbed a tree. You tell the monkey "please give it back to me! Be a good monkey!". But it doesn't respond. What would your plan of action be? Start cursing and hating the monkey? No! You would try to lure the monkey with a banana or something. If that's not successful, you might call a wild life officer. You have to use your wisdom instead of getting all emotional. And if you still can't get it back, you don't wish for the universe to resolve it. ex: Wishing for the monkey to be struck by lightning. :) You just let it go and credit it towards experience or a lesson learnt and see what you can do to prevent the same from happening in the future.

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    Good points @Sankha. Keep it practical and remove the emotional aspect. While I do realistically need to get the money back, I need to focus on the practicalities of doing so, and not let myself get sucked into the angst of the process.
    – Suibhne
    Oct 24, 2015 at 10:08
  • Wisdom is what gets things moving in your favor. Not unwholesome emotions Oct 24, 2015 at 11:43

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