Working with anger

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Working with anger

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:33 pm

The treasure revelations of Ratna Lingpa contain this quotation: "The essence of your angry mind is clear awareness; bright and empty the moment you recognize it."

Thrangu Rinpoche, Crystal Clear, p.67.

I find working with anger to be very difficult.

Does anyone have any tips or tricks for working with anger?
It has been the misfortune (not, as these gentlemen think it, the glory) of this age that everything is to be discussed. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France.

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futerko
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Re: Working with anger

Post by futerko » Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:22 am

Yes, working with anger can be quite difficult.

Someone stole some money from me a while back. I trusted them and they let me down. I got a bit annoyed because of my own stupidity more than anything - I should have seen it coming.

I realised that in fact, although it appeared that the person had harmed me by depriving me of material goods, when seen in conventional terms of an interpersonal interaction, in fact what was at stake was his relationship to money. That in effect, the money acted as a 'fetish' which blocked our ability to relate to each other as humans. The reason that I should have seen it coming was precisely this - that I perceived he was a bit down on his luck and only afterwards realised. Seeing this, I simply said to myself - that's your birthday present for this year, good luck to you... knowing full well he would probably waste it on something unhealthy, thereby reinforcing his own perceived lack of value.

So in terms of the mirror-like nature of wisdom, what was at stake here was my realisation of emptiness and my own relationship to the money. I reached the point where I was able to perceive him clearly, in terms of his own relationship to his object (in this case money). Prior to seeing this, the money itself acted as my object, blocking my view of him as a human being and merely reflecting my own issues with my own object.

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Re: Working with anger

Post by SteRo » Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:35 am

Avoiding the object and emptiness are useful antidots against all types of afflictions.

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Ayu
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Re: Working with anger

Post by Ayu » Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:57 pm

SteRo wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:35 am
Avoiding the object and emptiness...

... lead to patience.

I find a good method
1) accepting anger = "it is there"
2) recognizing anger as soon as it arises
3) detecting the states of mind that lead to anger
4) using above mentioned antidotes* when those pre-anger mind sets occur.

(* avoiding, emptiness, patience)

Anger is like a truck. When it is in full speed it is difficult to stop. Therfore it is useful to learn how it functions and then nip it in bud, stop it as long as it is small.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Working with anger

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:31 pm

Ayu wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:57 pm
... nip it in bud, stop it as long as it is small.
Yes. but not easy to do. The more I practice the better it gets but it is still a problem.
It has been the misfortune (not, as these gentlemen think it, the glory) of this age that everything is to be discussed. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France.

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Re: Working with anger

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:38 pm

My suggestion for dealing with anger is don't get married or have kids -ba-dum-.

Seriously though, I've tried lots of stuff, Lojong, seeing it as empty (nearly impossible once angry), the one that has helped me the most is just exchanging self and other.

I find my temper is finally improving with consistent practice and age, not sure which one is more central.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Working with anger

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:54 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:38 pm
age
Yes lol the older I get, the tireder I get, the less energy I have for getting angry. Must indeed have something to do with the
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:38 pm
kids
It has been the misfortune (not, as these gentlemen think it, the glory) of this age that everything is to be discussed. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France.

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Rick
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Re: Working with anger

Post by Rick » Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:26 pm

This is more psychotherapy than dharma, but if it works, it works:

1. Recognize the anger. Part of the problem for many people is that they don't realize, consciously, that they are mad.

2. Stay with it in its pure form, pure anger, without encouraging or even attending to the stories that accompany it. Pema Chodron says pure emotions tend to burn themselves out after about 90 seconds. If stories enter the fray, these 90 seconds can become hours, days, a lifetime.

Loop 1-2 as needed. If you can't deal with the pure anger in the moment, 'schedule' the dealing for later.

The moral of the story: Don't ignore, escape, or bury the anger. Return of the repressed and all that.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Working with anger

Post by SteRo » Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:45 pm

Rick wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:26 pm
...
2. Stay with it in its pure form, pure anger, without encouraging or even attending to the stories that accompany it. Pema Chodron says pure emotions tend to burn themselves out after about 90 seconds. If stories enter the fray, these 90 seconds can become hours, days, a lifetime.
That's great. "No stories" amounts to objectless anger. No fuel and anger must die. Not attending to stories is an aspect of emptiness. But not attending to stories from the outset is better since no anger arises at all. It's plain mindfulness.

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Re: Working with anger

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:52 pm

It is very challenging to deal with anger (or any emotion) while it is happening,
because you have to apply an analytical approach. You "know" on an intellectual level that you don't want to be practicing anger,
but when you are actively practicing anger, it's hard to intellectualize your way out of it.
What's going on is, you end up having a little struggle between emotion and intellect,
And, because the emotional aspect of it is so powerful, it's like somebody yelling really loud,
or like a barking dog running around the yard,it totally takes over.

While intellect is calm and rational, speaking quietly, it cannot be heard over the loudness of emotion.
For this reason, you need to spend a lot more time when you are not angry
on "intellectually" understanding the problems of allowing anger to take over, meditating and
thinking about the negative effects of practicing anger. This will help later on, when anger arises again.
You can do this by analyzing "who" is the person being angry. This is an approach using Vippasana practice,
to determine that it there is no solid thing that is "you" at all, but it is just ego-clinging that whips up anger as a defense mechanism.
Still, merely understanding that conceptually won't put out the fire when it's already burning.
But, along with that, you look at what is the nature of the experience of anger.
So, this is slightly different than before.
Earlier, you are looking at whether there is indeed a solid "me" or not, and deconstructing that,
and now, you are deconstructing the experience itself. Where does anger reside? Where did it come from? Your elbow? Where does it go?
You analyze where it came from and where it is located, and you find there is nothing there.

Then, you can look at the anger, when it arises, the way you look at a child having a temper tantrum.
When you hear and see a child throwing a tantrum, you are aware of it, but it isn't your tantrum.
If you already practice shamata (calm mind) or "breathing" meditation, then you know, when thoughts arise, you don't indulge them.
You are aware of them, but you just go back to watching your breathing (or whatever is the object of your meditation focus).
In a sense, it's like having two minds working at the same time.
You have the mind that is upset about whatever, which is completely absorbed by rage,
and then you have the calm mind that is observing that raging mind, like calmly observing a child throwing a temper tantrum.
As soon as you enter that calm, observing mind (which is, at that moment literally taking refuge in the Buddha),
at that moment, you are no longer consumed by the angry mind. In fact, the practicing of anger immediately stops.

I think it's important to remember that, just as a musician practices a musical instrument,
when we have thoughts, they are not static things, but states of mind we are actively practicing.
So, don't just think, "I am angry right now", but rather, "I am practicing anger right now".
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WesleyP
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Re: Working with anger

Post by WesleyP » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:42 pm

Thanks!

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Working with anger

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:24 pm

Anger is a special concern for me, too.

For abiding anger against others, Shantideva's chapter 6 on patience in the Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life can correct a faulty view of others.
It's also the first time I saw patience described as an antidote to anger. I've found this approach makes more sense to me.

Chapter 3 has some good quotes for anger, too:
Shantideva wrote:14. Let [beings] have me perform deeds that are conducive to their happiness.
Whoever resorts to me, may it never be in vain.
15. For those who have resorted to me and have an angry or unkind thought, may even that always be the cause for their accomplishing every goal.
16. May those who falsely accuse me, who harm me, and who ridicule me all partake of Awakening.
Likewise, the Eight Verses of Training the Mind weaken the attitudes supportive of anger in daily life.

If anger flares up suddenly, the Lojong slogans are hard to beat. They're too short to ignore when they come to mind :)
"Don't wait in ambush, Don't talk about injured limbs, Don't ponder others, Don't transfer the ox's load to the cow."

For ongoing problems, the Wheel of Sharp Weapons is like a medicine cabinet.
This is one of those precious texts that I can just open when I'm having some issue and always find good advice.
Wheel wrote:When attachment and anger disturb and upset us
No matter how much we may try to suppress them,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
‘Till now we have held on to the improper outlook:
Stubbornly cherishing only ourselves;
Hereafter let’s uproot self-interest completely.
For the long-term management of anger, I rely on reciting a buddha's name or mantra.
This is beneficial in the short and long run.
Thoughts of anger, an illusory object, give way to mutual awareness with a perfectly compassionate one.

The presence of a name and buddha is like an admirable friendship.
As Honen says of reciting Amitabha's name, by degrees, your heart becomes purer and purer.

This quote has also been useful to me, regarding afflictions:
Subhakarasimha wrote:O beginners, many of your fear that thoughts arising in your mind will tempt you, and so you follow your breath and maintain a state of no-thought, thinking that this is the ultimate. You seek to improve in this way, but cannot. Thought is of two kinds. One is negative and the other positive. Negative, deluded thoughts should be removed completely. Correct thoughts of the good Dharma should not be extinguished.
Practitioners with the correct attitude should not concern themselves about temptation, but strive first to maintain and increase correct thoughts. After this, they will attain the purity of the ultimate. When people learn archery, do they not practice for a long time before achieving excellence? Furthermore, if you do not think at all, how can your practice have any stability?
Do not be afraid of your mind's workings. Consider it a disturbance of your practice only if you slacken in moving forward.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen

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Re: Working with anger

Post by empting » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:07 pm

Remember the remorse/awkwardness of you towards the person you angry before

Anger only burns temporary, it has no use other than to hurt
the next moment you will find yourself guilty or remoserful over the anger remarks and you will feel awkward when having to deal with that person again

Anger is impermanent, it is often arise from desire of having a truth or want or needs being rejected
it means there is still desire/truth/want/needs left in the person
so the person has not yet renounced himself

the first sign a person renounces himself is that he will no longer angry

which result in people wanting to make him angry to test his limit in accordance to psychology to help patient to do self defense

thats why sometimes psychology and buddhism does not really go hand in hand

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Re: Working with anger

Post by nowmindful » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:45 pm

That's a Chinese saying: "Buddha also has fire!" It may appear after a Chinese, who is a Buddhist, has exhibited his or her anger. Not all angers are bad as it depends on the situation such as letting people know your border and it can release emotional tension. But i think most or many angers are unconstructive.

There is also a Chinese saying: "Tolerate can't tolerate already, no need to tolerate some more!" Kṣānti pāramitā or one of the six perfections, known as patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance and endurance are not perform by normal people. Even we have problems to compose ourselves. But it will be wise to think twice before we decide whether to display our angers.

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Re: Working with anger

Post by RDTAC Ranger » Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:41 am

To understand anger its important to have an some level of insight into Emotion and the brain, otherwise the direction "Anger" may wish to take will be subverted by your thinking Mind (intellect).

The brain is comprised of three primary functional areas: 1: the sensory brain; 2: the emotional brain; and, the thinking brain. There is a fourth region, but I will discuss that later. When you were born all three parts of the brain were comprised of a single highly sophisticated structure which over the course of your first 23/25 yrs of life, gradually separated, developing into a triune-brain.To make this happen correctly requires energy specific stimulation or more correctly said: bio-energetic-stimulation. This reaction does several things simultaneously. Firstly, it brings nervous tissue to life and establishes connections between several or more neurons that over time organize themselves into very specific networks. It also gives brain tissue the option to choose from a variety of pathways through which emotional impulses can travel to their intended destinations. This ability to switch networks allows the brain to evaluate the strength, texture and temperature etc of different sensations and by so doing get an accurate understanding of physical experience.

Emotion, is then, a very organised, sophisticated and specialized form of energy that works to amplify the connections which exist between sensation and consciousness, and, sensation and super-unconsciousness (the fourth Mind or Original Mind). But this movement of emotion impulse can very easily be restricted and/or diverted when the body becomes afraid. These fears are so small, that we refer to them as micro-traumas. They are the very small things that are said to us or done to us, that make being who we are developing to become, seem imperfect or flawed. These actions toward us cause our Biology to doubt itself which over time filters up into the thinking brain where it is interpreted as, "I feel stupid," or, " No one loves me."Etc.

Your Biology is very,very sensitive. Especially between 0-25yrs old. So when a child is pushed or scorned when its trying to learn, it comes as an unexpected shock. This causes Neuro-biological pathways to lose confidence and this is expressed in many different forms of hesitation (self doubt). Over time, if the hesitation causes you to divert the emotion off from its original direction and designated network, the entire body will experience this as frustration. To get the emotional brain to select the most appropriate pathway, at any given moment, it allows its circuitry to over charge causing chaos. And it is this volatile reaction that opens many different neural-gates which ensures that a least some of the emotional-charge goes down the preferable neural-response-network.

Because this happens mostly unconsciously both chaos and volatility will remain as an active emotional facilitator. That is until you can consciously or super-unconsciously govern neural-gate-switching and activation. Strictly speaking, there is no separation in emotion or such a thing as positive and negative emotion. "Anger," is simply a combination of bio-emotional forces which indicate a need for adjustment. Its the reason why Zen training is so important because it will allow you to access these deep networks and pathways and discover how they fit together, how to use them to connect to transform yourself from inside out, in a most profound way.

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Re: Working with anger

Post by Taikor.Taikun » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:01 pm

Rick wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:26 pm
2. Stay with it in its pure form, pure anger, without encouraging or even attending to the stories that accompany it. Pema Chodron says pure emotions tend to burn themselves out after about 90 seconds. If stories enter the fray, these 90 seconds can become hours, days, a lifetime
In anger today n it’s affecting me whole day. This quote here helped me to focus. Stories that have passed like dark clouds. Dont go back in time n relive the bad moments over n over again. Thanks

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Re: Working with anger

Post by Taikor.Taikun » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:19 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:52 pm
For this reason, you need to spend a lot more time when you are not angry
on "intellectually" understanding the problems of allowing anger to take over, meditating and
thinking about the negative effects of practicing anger.
Can we visualise things like annoying matters flushed away by the waterfall, exploded along with the fireworks... etc. Does it work?

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Re: Working with anger

Post by Taikor.Taikun » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:24 pm

RDTAC Ranger wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:41 am
Its the reason why Zen training is so important because it will allow you to access these deep networks and pathways and discover how they fit together, how to use them to connect to transform yourself from inside out, in a most profound way.
Is it the sub-conscious mind?

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Re: Working with anger

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:54 am

Taikor.Taikun wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:19 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:52 pm
For this reason, you need to spend a lot more time when you are not angry
on "intellectually" understanding the problems of allowing anger to take over, meditating and
thinking about the negative effects of practicing anger.
Can we visualise things like annoying matters flushed away by the waterfall, exploded along with the fireworks... etc. Does it work?
You can do whatever will work for you.
Will you be able to do that when you are face to face with the thing or person making you angry?
I think that might be difficult.
I have a friend who zaps bad drivers with an invisible death ray. Then, having disintegrated them into atoms
they don't upset her any more on the highway.

When you are experiencing anger, in that real-time moment,
you can't very easily process things on a calm level, think things through intellectually
if you haven't spent time practicing that.

It's like martial arts, kung fu, karate, or whatever.
You practice kicks and punches in a calm, safe environment, looking at your mistakes, looking at where to improve your focus, your mind
so that if one day, all of a sudden someone attacks you, you are prepared.
If you are in a street some night and somebody attacks you, you don't have any opportunity to look at the kung fu instruction book.
But if you have already practiced it, your response will come naturally to you.

When we experience anger, in a way, it attacks us.
The person we feel anger to isn't the enemy. The anger that becomes a dictator to our mind is the enemy.
Who pushes you around and tries to control you more..some other person, or the emotion of anger?
The person made us angry yesterday, but we are still upset about it today, so that is not the person attacking us.
It is our own clinging to anger. That emotion is still on.
So, you practice mental calming techniques when you are not angry.
When you meditate, and suddenly the thought comes into your mind about someone who makes you angry,
you let that go, return to your breath or whatever your focus is.
That's practice.

What is anger? It is frustration about things we have no control over.
Then when it's another person, another driver, somebody whose actions you don't have control over,
instead of anger, you exhale, you let go of that need to control
because in meditation you don't try to control your thoughts.
You practice just letting go of thoughts that arise, and returning to the mind's natural state which is calm and clear.

The one thing we do have control over is our own mind.
We can train the mind to not practice anger.
.
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Taikor.Taikun
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Re: Working with anger

Post by Taikor.Taikun » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:59 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:54 am
Taikor.Taikun wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:19 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:52 pm
For this reason, you need to spend a lot more time when you are not angry
on "intellectually" understanding the problems of allowing anger to take over, meditating and
thinking about the negative effects of practicing anger.
Can we visualise things like annoying matters flushed away by the waterfall, exploded along with the fireworks... etc. Does it work?
...
Will you be able to do that when you are face to face with the thing or person making you angry?
I think that might be difficult.

...
When you are experiencing anger, in that real-time moment,
you can't very easily process things on a calm level, think things through intellectually
if you haven't spent time practicing that.

...
But if you have already practiced it, your response will come naturally to you.

...
So, you practice mental calming techniques when you are not angry.
When you meditate, and suddenly the thought comes into your mind about someone who makes you angry,
you let that go, return to your breath or whatever your focus is.
That's practice.

... whose actions you don't have control over,
instead of anger, you exhale, you let go of that need to control
because in meditation you don't try to control your thoughts.
You practice just letting go of thoughts that arise, and returning to the mind's natural state which is calm and clear.

...
In real-time situation or a sudden unexpected event, depending on intensity of the bad experience, most people could not contain the powerful emotion that rises and loses it. Difficult to apply mindfulness here. Auto-pilot kicks in, subconscious mind with a lot of negativity takes over. Hence it is important to reprogram the subconscious mind with meditation to instil positive, empowering values and memorising the methods that we can use when it happens. I would try deep breathing with 4 counts in, 8 counts out to go into parasympathetic mode. Hope it works. If too intense, walk away.

Another situation is lingering pent-up anger. The event has passed. But we’re still very much affected by it. We need to get rid of it so that it never rises again. That’s the question i ask earlier. Perhaps we can ‘burn’ these negative emotions with the Third Eye chakra. I dont know. Another method is a Qigong method where one visualise green energy rises as we inhale with our hands rises from bottom of chakra to the top of the head and push it out with ‘shh’ sound and body slanting to the left. Some people watch a waterfall and imagine all the unhappy memorise flushed away

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