Just a practical question on attachment to trifling material things.

I struggle to put it in words but from my younger age, I have a habit of being angry when someone takes a minor item without asking. He/she could be my best friend but still, the feeling is there. I don't think it been stingy because been asked or not even asked I would give the same person or even a stranger x100 times the value of the item but when taken without my consent it is all a different matter.

My question is how do I get read of it?

A thinker once told me: if you claim to not-care for these things then when someone takes these items and you feel the anger go burn two more of the items to show that you're in control... this method did help me to quench the anger, but the character still lingers?

Many Thanks.

  • An alternate (less destructive) practice. If someone takes a trifling thing without permission, go out, buy another one, and offer the person the new one in exchange for the one that s'he took. That will soothe your ego in the short run, and in the long run highlight the silliness of the attachment, so that you can release it. Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 15:37

2 Answers 2


The reason to this state is actually not bound to things that's been taken, it's the worthiness (treating it's the best) that you given to the action of politeness. In simple word, asking permission or informing before taking something.

So the core of the buddhism is this. If you try to keep things the way you want (way you want means is the worthiness you have assigned to -> it can be anything like an action, an attitude, a person, a thing, etc..), you are doing a mistake. Because the things in the world are not in our control. Everything happens as a result of a reason.

Of course we can make reasons and control it right? But there are incidents that though we control (make reasons) things won't go the way we want right? If you think about this further the reason for that is,

  • First case -> Our actions had some space to impact on the existing state
  • Second case -> Our actions had no space to change the existing state, because existing state had stronger reasons

So simply, though we think, we can 100% control things, actually we cannot. Without knowing this, we label things as politeness and we expects it from others, it won't happens the way you want it to be. Our foolishness is (not mean to offence) we crazily expect things like that from others and the world. And as a result we get angry. Which is bad for us. Why bad for us -> just have a look on this video which you can get an idea.

That's where the Buddhism comes useful. If we give worthiness to the world and expects things to be the way we want and when we try to control things the way we want, it results in anger which is bad. (Of course there's another side of the same on attraction to the things also doing bad for us, I won't speak about it here, since not relevant to the question)

So let it go, there are things that you can't change because the things are not the way you want, they behave based on their own reasons. So by getting angry by trying to change won't do any good for you but bad. You still can try to change without anger, if there are reasons it might be success.

With Metta..!


this method did help me to quench the anger, but the character still lingers?

In my case I remember what might cause it. I was in a strict primary school with a strict primary school teacher who was frightening (and slghtly violent), more than once there the time came in class, for everyone to bring out some book or other for the next lesson, and my book wasn't there in my desk as expected!

And I couldn't think where the book was. And I'd be hiding, pretending now to look for the book in my desk when -- it's only a small school-desk -- it's obvious to my sight that the book isn't in there.

So it's traumatic -- and a minor post-traumatic stress -- I don't like losing things. I want them to be where I put them (aka "object permanence").

I have lost a lot more important things since then though -- people.

That and I don't like feeling upset so I try not to. I don't want to be angry with other people, instead of getting angry -- like, "he robbed me!", etc. -- I tend to attribute the event to "carelessness" or "communication failure" or even a childish greed (like the dog is greedy). It's not malice on their part.

Still there's also that joke about "depression" i.e. that it is "anger without enthusiasm" -- see also wrath?

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