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I'm new to Buddhism and I had just started to put some of the teachings into practice. But I'm having great difficulty dealing with my anger. I have always been rather intense in my emotions. I get angered quite easily. I've done some reading and I'm still stuck. I need some help on the way forward.

From the readings I've done, I was told to practice forbearance, which is something I'm actually quite used to doing. But the things is, instead of expressing it, the anger is seething inside of me, and I would be passive aggressive, which is also wrong. From doing this, I would get a headache and waste a great portion of the day.

Then, I've read that I should practice metta towards my anger, accepting it with equanimity. So, this morning when I was angry, I tried but failed. I would tell myself that being angry is normal, but the anger still remained in me for a long time.

So, actually, I'm rather confused with this acceptance of anger. How does it help in any way?

Thanks all.

  • Hi and welcome to Buddhism SE. We also have a Help Center with useful resources for new comers. Enjoy your time here. – Lanka Jul 1 '16 at 10:01
  • There are several other questions (topics) on this site which are tagged anger, and which you might find helpful to read. So that this is slightly different and not a duplicate of other topics, I edited this question's title to make it more specific. – ChrisW Jul 1 '16 at 10:40
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In Buddhism, there are many methods to deal with anger.

The method of accepting anger is a method of 'non-conflict'. By fully acknowledging & accepting anger in an open way, you can develop some objectivity towards & independence from the anger (in that it will not control your behaviour) and, importantly, give anger the space to subside.

The method I personally prefer & the method most used by the Buddha before his enlightenment was to wisely reflect (think about) the harm & dangers of anger; in how anger can harm yourself & harm others.

If you are often habitually & uncontrollably angry:

(1) You feel bad about yourself (afterwards).

(2) You become tense & can harm the health of your body & mind.

(3) People may dislike, fear or avoid you.

(4) Important relationships can be harmed, broken & lost.

(5) You can lose your job (employment) & develop a bad reputation.

The scriptures state:

As I abided...a thought of ill will (anger) arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This thought of anger has arisen in me. This leads to my own affliction (harm), to others’ affliction and to the affliction of both; it obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties (vexation) and leads away from peace.‘ When I considered thus…it subsided in me. Whenever a thought of anger arose in me, I abandoned it, removed it, did away with it.

Just as in the last month of the rainy season, in the autumn, when the crops thicken, a cowherd would guard his cows by constantly tapping and poking them on this side and that with a stick to check and curb them. Why is that? Because he sees that he could be flogged, imprisoned, fined or blamed if he let them stray into the crops. So too I saw in unwholesome states danger, degradation and defilement...

Two Kinds of Thought

If you use the wise reflection method, it is important to focus on the anger rather than on 'yourself'. You must think: "This anger is harmful" (rather than "I am harmful").

The Buddha did not teach the 'self' or 'I' is the ultimate cause of problems & suffering. The Buddha taught 'ignorance' or 'not-knowing' is the ultimate cause of problems.

Therefore, we think/reflect: "Anger is bad & harmful" (and not "I am bad & harmful").

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    Thanks for your help Dhammadhatu! I would try to practise what you said the next time I get angry. I should view anger as a separate entity and distance myself away from it. – Lim LS Jul 1 '16 at 9:21
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    Thank you for your kind comment. And yes, precisely. You should view anger as a separate entity and distance yourself away from it. You are not anger & anger is not you. Anger is a element in nature but is not us & is separate from the clarity of consciousness that can observe anger. My best wishes. – Dhammadhatu Jul 1 '16 at 9:36

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