Some buddhist teachers say anger is inescapable, or even necessary and healthy, are they not enlightened ?

2 Answers 2


Because teachers, or even if they are arahats, are not Buddha. They often err or have some imperfection in their teachings. They may have destroyed all or some of the fetters but they are not perfect as Buddha in Dhamma (both in seeing and how to articulate it). In Ani Sutta, Buddha said not to lend ear to new teachings. I have not seen "anger is inescapable, or even necessary and healthy" in any sutta that could be credited to Buddha's original teachings. As for myself, I disregard it.

PS. I certainly not to be disrespectful to your teachers. They may be imperfect in their teachings but it is still a good idea to hangout with people who are virtuous in their precepts. IMO.

PS2. wanting to be near, approach those with virtuous actions, keeping precepts is a sign of Saddha.

  • Thanks. I was looking at Tara Brach and she said that anger is "...absolutely essential for our survival and our flourishing, that it's an intelligent emotion...", and then proceeds to convey how to deal with it. Dealing with it is fine, but seeing it as essential and intelligent seems at variance with buddhism as I understand it. She is a buddhist, right ? (I don't think I've quoted her out of context BTW.) Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 18:07
  • from what you said, i believe she is a honest virtuous person for not saying the quote was from Buddha to give it credibility or she didn't twist Buddha's words to match her views. I dont recall from which sutta but those with 5 precepts (assuming it starts from faith in Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha) are called Sāvaka (followers, listeners, or buddhists). If she has these qualities then safe to assume she is a Buddhist.
    – user5056
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 18:41
  • I dont know what level of knowledge in Buddhism you are at the moment, but if i may make a suggestion... separate your notes, one from sutta (Buddha's words, one from Abhidhamma (later additions), and from modern teachers or monks). you will see very quickly the style and cleverness of Buddha. He made complex subject easy to understand, where abhidhamma is very complex and it wasnt from Buddha. And from modern teachers often make it too easy almost to the point of straw man. If you put all 3 together it will be confusing becuase tons of contradictions.
    – user5056
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 18:58
  • How can these false teachers have destroyed all or some of the fetters? Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 19:47
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    Tara Brach is part of a certain socio group that teaches psychotherapy as buddhism for money. Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 19:48

Why do so many buddhist teachers say anger is inescapable?

In Theravada Buddhism the attainment of Nibbana is enumerated into 4 stages, also known as the Four stages of Enlightenment.

There are a total of 10 fetters that has to be broken in order to attain Nibbana. Anger/ill-will is the 5th fetter.

The destruction of those fetters comes in stages;

  • Stream-enterer

  • Once-returner

  • Non-returner

  • Arahant

When a fetter has been broken it does not come back. It is done away with for good. It is permanently destroyed, meaning that one has "escaped" from it.

As seen in the illustration below, the Arahant is free from the 5 lower fetters and the 5 higher fetters.

The Non-returner is also free from anger/ill-will.

Only the Stream-enterer and Once-returner has not yet broken the fetter of ill-will.

That of course goes for Worldlings as well, i.e. beings that have not yet reached any stages of Enlightenment.

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