Eliminating Anger

Eliminating Anger

Date Posted:
August 2009

Rinpoche gave this advice to a person who worked as a driver for a Dharma center. The driver complained of being very angry with his family and asked Rinpoche for some mantras to help him.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching in Hong Kong, 2010. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang (Henri Lopez).

My dear one,
You have recognized that anger arising is not good and that you must do something about it. You’re responsible for stopping that problem. Even this is progression toward peace and happiness. Without this first discovery, there is no day-to-day, moment-to moment peace for you and others. The more you can stop getting angry and lessen your anger, the more you bring peace and happiness to all living beings, particularly the human beings, animals, and so forth in this world. All six billion people in the world get that much more peace and happiness and the billion people in your country get that much more peace and happiness. Of course, there is no question about your family, neighbors, and you.

If anger is completely eliminated through meditation and by collecting merit, you stop harming all beings, not only in this life but in all future lives, bringing them peace and happiness. It is incredible that you, one person, can offer this service to countless human beings.

You can see your family as your great, spiritual guru. This is what the Buddha said: the one you call enemy, who makes you get angry, is your spiritual guru. Why? Because he or she teaches you how to practice patience. Then, you train your mind in patience regarding that person. The only one who can help you put that into practice is someone who has anger toward you. You don’t have this opportunity to practice with friends, strangers or buddhas, who have no anger. So, these people are the great teachers; they help you to eliminate anger and stop harming others. So many sentient beings then stop receiving harm and receive benefit, peace, and happiness. Without anger there is harmony and peace in the family, in the lives and hearts of others, and also in your heart and life.

So, you can see that those who are angry with you or criticize you, those who insult you with their speech or beat you with their body, are most precious and kind. You see they are the kindest ones in your life.

If you get angry you create negative karma and that creates hell and suffering. If you don’t have anger, attachment, and ignorance, there is no hell. This means those beings are helping you to learn about anger and to practice patience. They are your protectors, protecting you from rebirth in the hell realms, where one has to experience the heaviest suffering for so many eons.

Therefore, when you have the conditions to get angry and it’s about to happen, be aware of the great dangers that could befall you, of hell and all the sufferings. If you get angry, it also makes many other people engage in anger. By getting angry back at you, they can also be born in hell instead of gaining a higher rebirth in their next life.

Sometimes you can put yourself in their place, thinking that they are you while they’re criticizing you. If you do that while the person is criticizing you it is great fun. We always think that he or she is bad or mean to me, but then where are you? You can’t find the “I,” you, the person who is receiving harm. You can’t find the I inside the body, from the tip of the hair down to the toes, in the nose or the ears.

Of course, there is the I who creates negative karma, has delusions, and brings many sentient beings to hell by causing them to get angry, but that is not the I in which we believe. But you also can’t find that I inside the body or mind, or both together. It’s good to analyze this. It can be a very deep discovery and a great shock. You believe the I is in the body, somewhere in the chest, but when you check you can’t find it. I’m talking of the I in which you normally believe.

You can also think of the kindness of the enemy, the person who is angry with you or abusing you. It helps you to complete the paramita of patience, the path to enlightenment. Without that you can’t achieve full enlightenment, you can’t be perfectly qualified (a Buddha), liberate many sentient beings from the oceans of sufferings of samsara, and bring them to enlightenment, the greatest happiness. The person whom you call enemy, whose anger you see as bad, is helping you to practice patience. He or she is actually the one who is giving you liberation from all suffering, and enlightenment, by letting you practice the Mahayana path, the paramita of patience.

Even Shakyamuni Buddha and the numberless buddhas were ordinary beings like us, with mistakes, delusions, and problems, then they discovered the nature of suffering, practiced patience, developed their minds on the path, and achieved great liberation: enlightenment. That is how they were able to liberate beings from suffering and bring them to enlightenment. They showed the complete path to full enlightenment to sentient beings in this world, how to achieve happiness, a good rebirth in the next life, and the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara and full enlightenment.

As well as these meditations, please chant every day OM MANI PADME HUM: the Chenrezig mantra, who is the Buddha of compassion, for all sentient beings, to bring every sentient being, every hell being, preta, animal, human being, asura, and sura to enlightenment. OM MANI PADME HUM is the most precious mantra, cherished by numberless buddhas. It is like a wish-granting jewel, giving all happiness to all sentient beings.

Please also recite the Maitreya Buddha mantra, the Buddha of loving kindness. It’s very good to recite this to develop loving kindness toward others and reduce anger, this poisonous mind, the continuation of which has no beginning. I will enjoy seeing you reciting these two mantras and practicing the meditations as explained. What I appreciate is your practicing patience and abandoning anger.

Thank you very much.

One more thing: every day that you stop getting angry, you bring so much peace to your family, the world and yourself. If you don’t stop getting angry, you will cause harm and suffering to others and to yourself.

Again, thank you very much.