Have we ever paused to think about why all the statues and figures of Sakhya Muni Gautama Buddha are so calm, serene and forever smiling? Let us juxtapose this compassionate picture with an individual whose mind is cannonaded with antipathetic thoughts and angry. The Enlightened One would be compassionate towards such a person, while any other person would find such an individual repulsive.
What is anger?
Anger is a strong emotion of being extremely upset or vexed because of an event, a failure in life or some mental upheaval. It is a feeling which triggers an impulse in an individual which makes a person lose control and react violently either verbally, physically or both.
Invariably three kinds of anger are exhibited when a person loses control over his emotions. These are expressed in the form of passive aggression, open aggression and assertive anger. We have learnt from history that Siddhartha, the prince, first went on to become Gautama, the monk, through rigorous penance. Upon grasping the quintessential truth, he became Buddha, the Enlightened One.
Buddha discovered the secrets of life by annihilating and sublimating his ego and understood the truth to live in the present. The present moment is inevitable. It is like the breath we inhaled... it is the past and the one we are inhaling is the present.
Masters of the past and present have all deliberated on this simple yet profound concept. Similarly, the Masters of the future would expatiate on this ultimate reality. A seeker can have a glimpse of truth and eventually experience bliss once he expends anger from his being.
Several people do not like to admit they are angry, because they avoid confrontation — this is called passive aggression and outbursts are in the form of becoming silent when you are angry, sulking, procrastinating and pretending that 'everything is fine'. Passive aggression emanates from a need to be in control.
On the other hand, people tend to lash out in anger and rage, becoming physically or verbally aggressive and often do so while being in control.
The healthy way to deal with anger is by being in control and confident, talking and listening, and being open to receiving help in dealing with the situation. This assertive anger can help relationships to grow.
Anger is a lethal weapon. Besides slaying the enemy, it also destroys the individual. An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. Therefore, it is prudent to observe and not utter anything when something is bothering us. We should never resort to knee-jerk reactions. It is advisable to mull and contemplate before responding to any situation. Humans should respond calmly rather than react angrily to any situation.
Learned and exalted souls too are impacted due to bouts of anger.
Moral of the story
Once upon a time, a Zen Master served at a monastery and imparted training to several tutees. He contemplated retiring from the prelate chair, which he had occupied for a considerable period of time and thereafter spend quality time observing his breath and meditating. The Master looked around and zeroed upon a disciple who he thought would be the most qualified to take up the onerous responsibility of running the monastery and impart training to the streams of seekers. “You are now adept to administer the monastery in every possible manner and impart training to the teeming disciples,” said the Master to the one he considered his brightest jewel.
The young tutee, having graduated magna cum laude under the tutelage of this venerable Master, was now burnished to be a thoroughbred teacher. However, the disciple was quite contented to continue with this for he did not wish to be burdened by any bondage and responsibility. The Master shouted and exclaimed, “Why are you not accepting this challenge? Such a wonderful opportunity would be lost!” The young tutee maintained his calm and mused in all reverence and humility, “Sire, why are you caterwauling?”
The piquant situation captures a couple of facets of the human mind. One, the Zen monk despite years of practice of meditation and breathing exercises was unable to control his anger. Likewise, the stripling tutee who was singled out to head the institution still possessed a febrile mind and was not mentally robust and brawny to accept the challenge. Sadhana is a continuous practice, which concretises in efficacious results only if the seekers “let go” and surrender their ego to overcome anger.
Buddha had stated, “You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.”