After recently re-reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, I enjoyed reading the brief section about anger in Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World by Lama Surya Das.
I think it’s important to remember that there is nothing in the Dharma that tells us never to be angry. Anger is a human emotion; it doesn’t automatically disappear. Also it has its own logic, its own intelligence and function. If you bottle up and swallow your anger too often, you are going to make yourself ill. Meeting the challenge of ill will is not about denying, repressing, or suppressing anger. It’s about staying up to date with anger and other emotions by experiencing and releasing their energy moment by moment rather than storing them up. It’s about not carrying grudges or blaming yourself, or turning your anger inward and becoming depressed and despondent. Ideally we should be able to be sensitive and aware enough not only to feel life fully but also to let it go.
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that someone had treated you very badly, and you couldn’t let it go? You continued to want some kind of resolution or vindication. Perhaps this went on for so long that you felt out of control, and instead of briefly befriending your anger and disappointment, you allowed these feelings to become uncomfortably close companions? The Dharma doesn’t tell you to turn your anger inward. Buddhist wisdom encourages you to look at these situations realistically, experience freely and feelingly, stop grasping, and transform your attitude.
I also liked the Metta Prayer:
May all beings be happy, content, and fulfilled.
May all beings be healed and whole.
May all have whatever they want and need.
May all be protected from harm, and free from fear.
May all beings enjoy inner peace and ease.
May all be awakened, liberated, and free.
May there be peace in this world, and throughout the universe.