If we do not make a special effort to practice patience when we find ourselves getting angry we incur a secondary downfall.
Anger will never go away on its own. If we don’t get rid of our anger, it will destroy us. Our anger ruins everything that is good in our life. We may love our children very much, but because we get angry at them and fail to apologize for it, they harbor resentment against us and eventually come to reject everything we have to say and rebel against everything we stand for. Later, when they have kids, they don’t want us to be part of their life and we are denied the opportunity to see our grandkids. They blame us for all that is wrong in their life and despite all we have done for them they want nothing to do with us. This is not uncommon at all, and it is incredibly painful. If we want to avoid this being our own story, we must bring our anger under control.
Everytime we get angry we not only hurt those we love, we also create the causes to go to hell. This is a karmic truth, no matter how much we wish it was otherwise. Is it worth it? Is it worth it to destroy our relationships with those we love only to wind up in hell later for it? This is no game, this is a fact. Sometimes when we are forced to confront this karmic truth it makes us feel guilty and we start to beat ourselves up over it. But guilt too is a form of anger – anger against ourselves. Or we start to freak out about how we are getting angry and can’t stop ourselves, and we get all tight and neurotic. This doesn’t help either. So then we think it is better for us to ignore this karmic fact and not think about it. But that is just burying our head in the sand, and when the end of this life comes there will be no sand left to hide in. We must work through these things and channel the emotions the karmic truth of this creates in us to productive purposes.
The first thing we need to do is apologize as soon as we can. The longer we wait to apologize, the more time the karma has to take root within our mind. In particular, we should never go to sleep before we have apologized. Venerable Tharchin explains that falling asleep functions to plant the negative karma deeper within our mind and so makes it harder to uproot. But if we apologize before we go to bed, then we can hopefully clean up the negative karma before it takes root.
Second, we need to stop anger in its early stages of development. The earliest stage of anger is inappropriate attention – we focus on the bad, and then we exaggerate it. Instead we need to choose to focus on the good and we need to become an expert at saying “it doesn’t matter” for the bad.
Third, we need to surrender our lives to Dorje Shugden. We get angry because we wish things were different than they are. When we rely on Dorje Shugden, he arranges all the outer and inner conditions so that they are perfect for our practice. Perfect here doesn’t mean perfect for our worldly concerns – in other words it doesn’t mean they will be what our delusions want – rather, perfect here means perfect for our spiritual training. If what we want is to grow spiritually, then the fact that things are so bad from a worldly perspective will be experienced as being a good thing from a spiritual perspective. We will be happy things are so bad because we see how beneficial that is for our spiritual growth. If things are “perfect” there is no basis for us wishing things were different than they are, and so therefore there will be no basis for ever getting angry. I literally overcome about 95% of my own anger in this way.
Fourth, we can channel these feelings into a wish to purify. If we made a big mess in our house, obviously we need to clean it up. We live there, after all. In the same way, if we made a big karmic mess in our mind, then we need to clean it up. We can never escape residing within our own mind. We can think, “if I don’t purify, disaster awaits me. If I want to avoid that, I need to purify now.” One of the most common obstacles to generating a strong wish to purify is we struggle to think of what negative actions we have committed that are so bad. But everytime we see somebody else commit some negative action, we can view that person as a mirror reflecting back to us what we have done to others in the past. We are, from a karmic perspective, actually looking at our own past deeds. This is true regardless of whether the other person is committing the negative action against us. If we dream of somebody harming somebody else, where did these appearances come from? Our own karma. It is the same with the waking world.
2 thoughts on “Vows, commitments and modern life: Making no effort to control our anger.”
“But if we apologize before we go to bed, then we can hopefully clean up the negative karma before it takes root.”……..
Are you saying that apologising purifies negative karma?
Any virtuous action motivated by regret functions to purify.