Anger management - Buddhist practice to deal with your anger
Table of contents [Hide]
- What is anger?
- Why do I get mad so easily?
- Lacking sympathy for others
- Finding it hard to manage your mind
- Bad consequences of lacking anger management
- Hurting yourself before hurting others
- Destroying your good relationships
- How to control anger in a relationship
- #1 Practicing meditation for anger management
- #2 Practicing the mind of compassion to stop feeling anger
- #3 Some tips for temporary anger management
Anger resides within everyone, it's just a matter of how intense it is. Those who harbor a lot of anger can easily get upset over anything, leading to great misery.
Facing difficulties in taming their temper usually can lead to undesirable consequences later. Therefore, many individuals are deeply concerned: “How to not lose my temper?”
More than 2,500 years ago, the Buddha - the Enlightened One, taught about many methods to control the mind and overcome challenges in life. In managing the anger, he imparted useful techniques, helping individuals both to overcome anger and find inner peace.
What is anger?
Anger is a natural and common emotion everyone does experience. It can be defined as a strong unpleasant feeling that occurs when you think someone is interrupting, looking down on you, or doing something against your will.
In Buddhism, anger can be understood as a state that comes from your inner mind. It may make you want to hurt others, thereby probably harboring resentment.
Why do I get mad so easily?
As the world has developed at a greater pace, you always feel urged to pursue success, which burdens you with great pressure. Therefore, it is easy to understand why people are more likely to get angry.
There are many reasons and philosophies explaining anger, but from the Buddhist perspectives, there are two main anger triggers clarifying the very essence of anger as follows:
Lacking sympathy for others
The truth is that each of you has an ego. You tend to want everyone to approve, support, and do what you request without caring about their feelings or considering whether your requests are appropriate. As long as they do it according to your will, you will be pleased or else, you can get mad immediately. Under some circumstances, you no longer want to know the reasons and listen to the explanations. Buddhism shows you that your lack of empathy with others leads to your refusal to give ears to and forgive others. Consequently, you become even more selfish.
Finding it hard to manage your mind
When your temper flares, you usually blame external factors but rarely reflect on your own behavior. As mentioned above, according to Buddhism, anger is derived from your mind. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha taught: “Mind is the forerunner of states. Mind is chief; mind-made are they.”
Your mind decides your thoughts, actions, and speech. As such, your anger or happiness originally lies in your mind. If you are not able to manage your mind, you will not be able to calm down and easily get angry when confronting undesirable situations such as failure, disrespect, increasing work pressure, etc.
Your sympathy with others is also led by your mind and it is shown when your mind is open and loving.
Hence, your mind is the main factor resulting in anger.
Bad consequences of lacking anger management
Anger is a state of mind that affects you in many ways, typically in two aspects: health and life.
Hurting yourself before hurting others
“When you have hatred in your heart, you are the first one to suffer and be harmed.” — Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh taught. "The anger burning inside you makes you very miserable, which affects your eating and sleeping."
Anger destroys your mental health and causes some diseases. Those full of anger are likely to harbor negative thoughts and feel tired. Alongside, some people always feel irritated and even want to hurt others. In a Dharma talk about how to put an end to anger, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh shared: “Anger drains your energy. It produces harmful hormones in your body, thus making you older and uglier.” Moreover, such diseases as high blood pressure, heart attack, or cancer also stem from anger to a certain extent.
All kinds of diseases also arise from there, even serious diseases such as cancer. Just like anger over time forms a lump in the heart, so do illness and anger.
Destroying your good relationships
Besides affecting your health, getting angry has serious effects on your lives, too. Everyone strives to build up good relationships; however, it is anger that can damage them so quickly.
When you cannot stop feeling angry and control your mind, you can say hurtful words to others. At the office, you may hurt your colleagues or your employees. In daily life, you can lose your friends and you even can break up your happy family.
Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh taught that if a wife is always grumbling and frowning at her husband, it will create great tension in the family, which does not make it home and a peaceful place anymore. So, getting angry with others means that you are pushing them away.
Furthermore, anger brings about the wrong decisions that are detrimental to your success. Hence, there are many consequences that you have to suffer just because of your anger. Are there any methods to tame your anger according to the Buddhist's view?
How to control anger in a relationship
#1 Practicing meditation for anger management
Nowadays, meditation is a popular method that helps you control your mind as well as find peace of mind. Also, meditation is extremely beneficial in combating anger.
Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh shared: “If you have practiced meditation, you will be aware of your mind of anger when you are angry with someone. Otherwise, if you haven't practiced meditation before, you might get into a fight or have some vulgar words when getting angry. However, with meditation, you will recognize your angry mind and thus not be controlled by it.”
For those reasons, an effective way for anger management is to practice meditation and control your mind.
When meditating, many emotions arise in your mind, for example, you may recall someone who drives you mad. At that time, you begin to get used to those negative emotions, then soothe them. After finishing meditating, the energy emerged from this practice will help you deal with your anger, even in new situations.
#2 Practicing the mind of compassion to stop feeling anger
Buddhism is the religion that advocates for the mind of compassion. The Buddha also taught His disciples to practice the mind of compassion which will help everyone empathize and forgive others. Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh once shared: “You are angry at someone mainly because you do not understand them and you lack empathy with them. Therefore, you need to cultivate empathy with other people, which is called compassion and forgiveness in Buddhism. Be sympathetic, loving, and forgiving!”
#3 Some tips for temporary anger management
In addition to the two ways above, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh also offers a quick method to control your anger:
First, take a deep breath. You can even close your hands tightly if needed. Don't rush to say anything because your words spilled out in anger are just poison.
Next, you can go for a walk, staying away from the situation that makes you angry.
However, this is just a temporary solution. If you want to truly resolve these negative emotions, learning and practicing meditation still play an extremely important role.
“Return to and cultivate your mind. By cultivating and controlling your mind through meditation, you will be able to effectively release your negative thoughts.” — Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh advised.
Anger management is a process that everyone needs to learn to keep their temper at bay. Understanding the definition, causes, and consequences of anger, you should practice meditation and compassion by following the Buddha's teachings through Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh's Dharma talks to live a healthy and enjoyable life.
1. The Dhammapada, v.01 translated by Venerable NARADA, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1963, 1971.
2. 05 tips any wife should know for family happiness, a Dharma talk in Hang Thuan ceremony, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh, 2019.
3. The youth explore the garden of the mind, a Dharma talk in the monthly one-day retreat of Ba Vang Youth Club, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh, 2019.
4. Meditation and its benefits to schooling, a Dharma talk in Summer Retreat 2018, Thay Thich Truc Thai Minh, 2018.