What does Buddhism say about how to manage other people's anger? Does Buddhism suggest any specific attitude when we are facing angry people, especially when they are unable to control their anger and/or unaware of their anger?

Intuitively I try for example to listen to the person, understand him/her and remain calm myself as much as possible.

What kind of recommendations or advice does Buddhism offer to help us in such situations?

6 Answers 6


A very apt verse in the case of anger is this one from Dhammapada - Na Hi Verena Verani - Hatred is never appeased by Hatred. It is appeased only by loving kindness.

Here is the Dhamma talk by Ven. Yuttadhammo on that particular verse.

Although there are certain differences in anger and hatred, the basic approach will be the same - Remain equanimous by knowing Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta at the level of your body and then based on your sensations cultivate Loving Kindness towards the person.


Stop focusing on "other people" and focus on the experience. Focus on what causes anger to arise in the mind.

ex: If someone scolds at you, it's just sound hitting the ears. What's wrong with sound hitting the ears? Why you need to get so upset about it?

Anger arises due to ignorance. Ignorance personifies the experiences caused by bad Karma. That leads to aversion.


you may want to take a look at this list of suttas and Dhammapada verses dealing with anger, hatred, aggression and hostility

just one example from Theragatha Brahma­datta 6.12

One who gets angry at an angry person
Just makes things worse.
One who doesn’t get angry at an angry person
Wins a battle hard to win.

When you know that the other is angry,
You act for the good of both
Yourself and the other,
If you are mindful, and stay calm.

only that these are not words attributed to the Buddha


In Engaged Buddhism (a belief started by Thich Nhat Hanh during the vietnam war in the 1960's) Thich Nhat Hanh states that

"Be aware of anger; anger blocks the communication and brings suffering"

He then advises that in order to reach Dhamma one must rid their mind of defilements of such things like suffering and ignorance, which cause angry fits of passion. By being constantly aware and in control of one's actions, conciously one can prevent from experiencing these selfish emotions and focus on the communication and the content of the heated debate, occurrence, and/or problem.


This desire to demonize an emotion is disturbing, and I have always had a problem with it.

Anger is a useful emotion. It can allow us to react properly to a life threatening situation, either for ourselves or for another.

The problem is not Anger. The problem is not being able to recognize when it is harming, rather than helping, the situation you are currently experiencing. It is also the problem that Anger severely limits our ability to reason, trading reason for energy.

If you understand these things, then Anger can be your friend, just like all other emotions.

Loving Kindness, in some situations, might be scolding someone back, if that is what teaches them the proper lesson. It could even be defending someone, or yourself, physically.

But to recognize that moment is the hard part. THAT is what I believe is the liberating thought in this case.


In the Dhammapada, The Buddha says:

"Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth." (Dhammapada, 223)

And also here The Buddha says:

"Whence is there anger for one free from anger, tamed, living in tune — one released through right knowing, calmed & Such.

You make things worse when you flare up at someone who's angry. Whoever doesn't flare up at someone who's angry wins a battle hard to win." (Akkosa Sutta, SN 7.2)

But with making an end to mental fermentations, why would you be concerned about managing another's anger?

Happy, angerless, fearless, doubtless, sorrowless, becomes the one who's put an end to mental fermentations, such an extreme form of pleasure.

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