How to Deal with Anger (According to the Dalai Lama)

We cannot overcome anger and hatred simply by suppressing them.  We need to actively cultivate the antidotes to hatred: patience and tolerance…When we are engaged in the practice of patience and tolerance, in reality, what is happening is you are engaged in a combat with hatred and anger.”

I believe that generally speaking, anger and hatred are the type of emotions which, if you leave them unchecked or unattended, tend to aggravate and keep on increasing.  If you simply get more and more used to letting them happen and just keep expressing them, this usually results in their growth, not their reduction.  So, I feel that the more you adopt a cautious attitude and actively try to reduce the level of their force, the better it is.”

Feelings of anger and hatred arise from a mind that is troubled by dissatisfaction and discontent.  So you can prepare ahead of time by constantly working toward building inner contentment and cultivating kindness and compassion.  This brings about a certain calmness of mind that can help prevent anger from arising in the first place.  And then when a situation does arise that makes you angry, you should directly confront your anger and analyze it.  Investigate what factors have given rise to that particular instance of anger or hatred.  Then, analyze further, seeing whether it is an appropriate response and especially whether it is constructive or destructive.   And you make an effort to exert a certain inner discipline and restraint, actively combating it by applying the antidotes: counteracting these negative emotions with thoughts of patience and tolerance.”

“Since patience or tolerance comes from an ability to remain firm and steadfast and not be overwhelmed by the adverse situations or conditions that one faces, one should not see tolerance or patience as a sign of weakness, or giving in, but rather as a sign of strength, coming from a deep ability to remain firm.  Responding to a trying situation with patience and tolerance rather than reacting with anger and hatred involves active restraint, which comes from a strong, self-disciplined mind.”

“I think that there is a very close connection between humility and patience.  Humility involves having the capacity to take a more confrontational stance, having the capacity to retaliate if you wish, yet deliberately deciding not to do so.  That is what I would call genuine humility.”

Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama) 2008, 2005 & 2...

Meditation on Anger #1

“Let us imagine a scenario in which someone who you know very well, someone who is close or dear to you, is in a situation in which he or she loses his or her temper.  You can imagine this occurring either in a very acrimonious relationship or in a situation in which something personally upsetting is happening.  The person is so angry that he or she has lost all his or her mental composure, creating very negative vibrations, even going to the extent of beating himself or herself up or breaking things.  Then, reflect upon the immediate effects of the person’s rage.  You’ll see a physical transformation happening to that person.  This person whom you feel close to, whom you like, the very sight of whom gave you pleasure in the past, now turns into this ugly person, even physically speaking.  The reason why I think you should visualize this happening to someone else is because it is easier to see the faults of others than to see your own faults.  So, using your imagination, do this meditation and visualization for a few minutes.  At the end of that visualization, analyze the situation and relate the circumstances to your own experience.  See that you yourself have been in this state many times.  Resolve that ‘I shall never let myself fall under the sway of such intense anger and hatred, because if I do that, I will be in the same position.  I will also suffer all these consequences, lose my peace of mind, lose my composure, assume this ugly physical appearance,’ and so on.  So once you make that decision, then for the last few minutes of the meditation focus your mind on that conclusion; without further analysis, simply let your mind remain on your resolution not to fall under the influence of anger and hatred.”

Meditation on Anger #2

“Let us do another meditation using visualization.  Begin by visualizing someone whom you dislike, someone who annoys you, causes a lot of problems for you, or gets on your nerves.  Then, imagine a scenario in which the person irritates you, or does something that offends you or annoys you.  And, in your imagination, when you visualize this, let your natural response follow; just let it flow naturally.  Then see how you feel, see whether that causes the rate of your heartbeat to go up, and so on.  Examine whether you are comfortable or uncomfortable; see if you immediately become more peaceful or if you develop an uncomfortable mental feeling.  Judge for yourself; investigate.  So for a few minutes, three or four minutes perhaps, judge, and experiment.  And then at the end of your investigation, if you discover that ‘Yes, it is of no use to allow that irritation to develop.  Immediately I lose my peace of mind,’ then say to yourself, ‘In the future, I will never do that.” Develop that determination.  Finally, for the last few minutes of the exercise, place your mind single-pointedly upon that conclusion or determination.”

*These quotes are from The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.


10 thoughts on “How to Deal with Anger (According to the Dalai Lama)

  1. This is a great post. I love the first quote about the hot poker and it only burning you. So true! I think it we realized this…I mean REALLY realized this, we would curb this reaction to hold on to anger.

    Thanks for this! Cheers.

  2. A Great and interesting post, I so appreciate the content. Anger is also very damaging to the heart and causes blood pressure to rise causing clogging and blocking of the arteries…slowly but surely over time.

    To Your Healthy Intelligent Heart

  3. Pingback: Inspirational Quotes from The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D. | heallovebe

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