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Highlights: Issue #4469, Sunday, January
So - what is the significance of the teaching on
how to work with anger? Well, it has tremendous
significance because again and again, whenever
we're challenged, there is opportunity to open
to the difficulty and let the difficulty make us
more compassionate, more wise. Or the opposite,
which is that when things are difficult, the
chances instead of it making us more afraid and
therefore more vulnerable or more subject to
being able to catch the anxiety in the
atmosphere and spin off into wanting to protect
ourselves and our loved ones, and the tendency
for aggression to escalate and violence to
escalate under challenge is much greater. I
wanted to begin by giving the Dharma talks on
the sixth chapter of Shanti Deva - chapter on
working with anger. So, for Shanti Deva teaching
as he did in the eighth century in India a long,
long time ago, to Yolanda University in India to
a entire packed audience of celibate monks, you
might wonder what the relevance of such a
teaching would be today, and all I can say is at
the level of human neurosis, nothing has changed
much. And so what he has to say and the way
he... you'll see, it actually has humor in it
where he keeps pointing out example after
example of our foibles of how we justify our
anger and all the many, many situations that
make us angry. But it's more than just like
losing our temper or something. We're talking
now about finding ourselves in a situation where
many, many people are feeling more vulnerable
and the situation is more volatile.
And so, it might be that in the years to come,
you might look back and think of it as something
like, that was teaching. That was really -
because I have started to use it every day of my
life in difficult situations - has made it
possible for me to be become more compassionate,
to become more tenderhearted and loving rather
than more afraid and full of aggression and
wanting to strike out and protect me and mine.
You might just look back and say, "This was
really important" because right now the key
thing is whether it was a difficult situation in
the world or not; it's to use the difficult
situations of everyday life to wake us up, to
awaken our compassion. To make us feel our
kinship with each other rather than to buy into
polarization. So Shanti Deva says a lot about
our mindset. The mindset of friend and foe. Like
and dislike. For me and against me. And how that
very mechanism of buying so tightly into this
notion of the good people and the bad people -
the ones that I like and the ones I don't like
and how we get so invested in this and how this
is "the kindling" or "the fuel" for anger and
aggression to escalate. So from this point of
view, the teachings are on non-violence and on
non-aggression. And you could think of that as a
synonym for the word patience.
- Pema Chodron, from Don't Bite the Hook
6. Showing Patience
(1) Whatever generosity,
Offerings to the Blissfully Gone (Buddhas) and
And positive deeds I've amassed over thousands
of eons -
One (moment of) hatred will devastate them all.
(2) As no negative force resembles anger,
And no trial resembles patience,
I shall therefore meditate on patience,
With effort and in various ways.
(3) When the thorn of anger lodges in my heart,
My mind doesn't feel any peace,
Doesn't gain any joy or pleasure,
Doesn't fall asleep, and becomes unstable.
(4) Even those on whom he lavishes wealth and
And those who've become dependent on him
Get provoked to the point of murdering
A lord who's possessed with anger.
(5) Friends and relations get disgusted with
And though he might gather (others) with gifts,
he isn't regarded with trust and respect.
In brief, there's no way at all in which
A raging person is in a happy situation.
(6) Hence the enemy, rage,
Creates sufferings such as those and the like,
While whoever clamps down and destroys his rage
Will be happy in this (life) and others.
(7) Finding its fuel in the foul state of mind
That arises from its bringing about things I
And its preventing what I wish,
Anger, once enflamed, destroys me.
(8) Therefore, I shall totally eradicate
The fuel of that enemy,
For this enemy hasn't a mission
Other than injuring me.
(9) No matter what happens,
I shall never let it disturb my good mood.
For if I've fallen into a foul mood, what I want
will not come about,
And my constructive behavior will fall apart.
(10) If it can be remedied,
Why get into a foul mood over something?
And if it can't be remedied,
What help is it to get into a foul mood over it?
(11) For myself and my friends,
Suffering, contempt, verbal abuse,
And disgrace aren't things that I'd wish for;
But for my enemies, it's the reverse.
(12) The causes for happiness rarely occur,
While the causes for sufferings are overly
But, without any suffering,
there wouldn't be the determination to be free;
Therefore, mind, you must think to be firm.
(13) If devotees of Durga and people of Karnata
Pointlessly endure the torments of burning
And cutting themselves, and the like,
Then why am I such a coward for the sake of
(14) There isn't anything that doesn't become
Once you've become accustomed to it;
And so, by growing accustomed to minor pains,
Greater pains will definitely become bearable.
(15) Don't you see (this) with problems, (borne)
without a (great) purpose,
From snakes and mosquitoes,
Discomforts such as hunger and thirst,
As well as rashes and the like?
(16) (So,) I shall not be soft
Regarding such things as heat and cold, rain and
Also sickness, captivity, beatings, and the
For if I've acted like that, the injury is
(17) There are some who, seeing their own blood,
Develop exceptional courage and resolve;
And there are some who, seeing the blood of
Collapse and faint.
(18) That comes from their states of mind being
Either of a resolute or a cowardly type.
Therefore, I must be dismissive of pains
And must not be thrown off by suffering.
(19) Even when he's in agony, someone skilled
Will never let the composure of his mind be
And in a war that's waged against disturbing
Bruises abound, when fighting the battle.
(20) Those who, having been dismissive of
Destroy the enemies, anger and so on,
They are the heroes who have gained the victory;
The rest (merely) slay corpses.
(21) Furthermore, there are advantages to
With agony, arrogance disappears;
Compassion grows for those in recurring samsara;
Negative conduct is shunned; and joy is taken in
(22) As I don't get enraged
With great sources of suffering, for instance
Then why get enraged with those having limited
All of them, as well, are provoked by
(23) For example, without being wished for,
Their sicknesses arise;
And likewise, without being wished for,
(Their) disturbing emotions also strongly arise.
(24) Without thinking, "I shall get enraged,"
People just become enraged;
And without thinking, "I shall arise,"
Likewise, rage arises.
(25) All mistakes that there are
And the various sorts of negative behavior -
All arise from the force of conditions:
There aren't any under their own power.
(26) A collection of conditions
Doesn't have the intention, "I shall create";
And what it's created didn't have the intention,
"I'm to be created."
(27) The darling (the Samkhyas) call "primal
And what they imagine to be "the self" -
They don't think with some purpose, "I shall
come into being
(to cause some harm),"
And then come about.
(28) (In fact,) as they haven't arisen, they do
So what would have then had the wish to arise?
And, since (a static sentient self) would be
something that was
permanently occupied with an object,
It would never come to cease (being so).
(29) But if the self were static (and
nonsentient, like Nyaya asserts),
It would obviously be without actions, like the
So even if it met with other conditions,
What activity could something unchangeable have?
(30) If even at the time of the action, it
(remains) as before,
What could have been done by it from the action?
And if there were something called "This is its
Which is the one that made them connected?
(31) Thus, everything's under the power of
And the powers they're under aren't under their
Having understood this, I shall not become angry
With any phenomenon - they're like magic
(32) And if I said, then, "Warding off (anger)
would indeed be unfitting,
For who (or what) can ward off what?"
I'd assert that it's not unfitting,
Since, by depending on that, the continuity of
can be cut.
(33) Thus, when seeing an enemy or even a friend
Acting improperly, I'll remain relaxed,
Having reflected that it's arising
From some such condition as this.
(34) If all embodied beings had things
Turn out as they liked,
Then, since no one wishes ever to suffer,
It would never come about that anyone suffered.
(35) People hurt even themselves
With such things as thorns, because of not
And, in a rage, because of desiring to obtain
and the like,
With such acts as refusing food.
(36) There are some who destroy themselves
By hanging themselves, jumping off cliffs,
Eating poison and unhealthy foods,
And through negative acts (bringing worse
(37) When people kill even their beloved selves
From coming under the power of disturbing
How can it be that they wouldn't cause injury
To the bodies of others?
(38) When I can't even develop compassion, once
in a while,
For those like that, who, with disturbing
Would proceed to such things as killing
At least I won't get enraged (with them).
(39) (Even) if acting violently toward others
Were the functional nature of infantile people,
Still, it'd be as unfitting to get enraged with
As it would be for begrudging fire for its
(40) And even if this fault were fleeting
And limited beings were lovely by nature,
Well, still it would be as unfitting to get
As it would be for begrudging the sky for the
that was rising (in it).
(41) Having set aside the actual (cause of my
a staff or the like,
If I become enraged with the person who wielded
Well he, in fact, was incited by anger, so he's
It would be more fitting to get enraged with his
(42) Previously, I must have inflicted
Such pain on limited beings,
Therefore, it's fitting that harm comes to me,
Who've been a cause of violence toward limited
(43) Both his weapon and my body
Are the causes of my suffering.
Since he drew out a weapon and I a body,
Toward which should I get enraged?
(44) Blinded by craving, I've grabbed hold of a
That's shaped like a human and can't bear to be
And so when it's bruised,
Toward what should I get enraged?
(45) Childish me, I don't wish to suffer
And yet I'm obsessed with the cause of my
Since it's my own fault that I get hurt,
Why have a grudge toward anyone (else)?
(46) It's like, for example, the guards of the
And the forest of razor-sharp leaves:
This (suffering too) is produced by my impulsive
So toward what should I be enraged?
(47) Incited by my own karmic behavior,
Those who hurt me come my way,
And if, by their (actions), these limited beings
to the joyless realms,
Surely, wasn't it I who have ruined them?
(48) Based on them, my negative karmic force
Is greatly cleansed, because of my patience;
But, based on me, they fall
To the joyless realms, with long-lasting pain.
(49) Since I'm, in fact, causing harm to them,
And they're the ones who are benefiting me,
Why, unreasonable mind, do you make it the
And get into a rage?
(50) If I have the advantage of wishing (to be
I won't be going to a joyless realm;
But although I'm safeguarding myself (in this
What happens to them in this matter?
(51) And if I were to harm them back instead,
They wouldn't be safeguarded either,
While my (other bodhisattva) behavior would also
And, consequently, those having trials would be
(52) Because of its being immaterial,
No one can destroy my mind, by any means;
But because of its obsessive involvement with my
It's hurt by suffering (in connection) to the
(53) (Yet) Insults, cruel language,
And defaming words
Don't hurt my body,
So, why, O mind, do you become so enraged?
(54) Others' dislike for me -
That won't devour me,
Either in this life or in any other lifetime;
So why do I find it undesirable?
(55) If I don't wish for it
Because it would hinder my material gain;
Well, although my material gain in this life
will have to be discarded,
My negative karmic forces will remain secured.
(56) Death today would in fact be better for me
Than long life through an improper livelihood;
For even having lived a long time, there will
Be the suffering of death for someone like me.
(57) Someone who wakes up after having
A hundred years of happiness in a dream
And another who wakes up after having
Just a moment of happiness:
(58) Once they've awakened, that happiness
Doesn't return, after all, to either of the two.
(Similarly,) it comes down to exactly the same
For someone who's lived for long and someone
for a short while.
(59) Though I may have obtained great material
And even have enjoyed many pleasures for long,
I shall still go forth empty-handed and naked,
Like having been robbed by a thief.
(60) Suppose I said, "While living off my
I'd consume my negative karmic force and do
Well if, for the sake of material gain, I became
Won't my positive karmic force be consumed
and negative karmic force come about?
(61) If the very purpose for which I am living
Should fall apart,
What use is there with a life
Committing only negative deeds?
(62) Well, suppose I said, "Rage for someone who
Is because it makes limited beings lose (their
Well then, why don't you get similarly enraged
With someone defaming someone else?
(63) If you can tolerate distrust (when it's for
Because that lack of trust hinges on another;
Then why not be patient with someone who maligns
Since that hinges on disturbing emotions
(64) Even toward those who revile and destroy
Images, stupas, and the sacred Dharma,
My anger's improper,
Since there can be no harm to Buddhas and the
(65) And toward those who injure my spiritual
My relatives and so on, and my friends as well,
My rage will be averted, by having seen that
This arises from conditions, as in the manner
(66) Since injury is inflicted on embodied
By both those with a mind and things having no
Why single out and begrudge (only) those with a
Therefore, be patient with harm!
(67) Some commit misdeeds because of naivety,
And, because of naivety, some get enraged:
Which of them can we say is without fault,
And which of them would be at fault?
(68) Why did you previously commit those
Because of which others now cause me harm?
Since everything hinges on karmic behavior,
Why do I bear a grudge against this one?
(69) Seeing it's like that, I'll put effort
Into positive things in whatever way
Whereby everyone will become
Loving-minded toward each other.
(70) For example, when fire in a burning house
Is advancing to another home,
It's fitting to remove and throw out
Whatever it's in that would cause it to spread,
such as straw and the like.
(71) Likewise, when the fire of anger is
Due to my mind being attached to something,
I shall throw it out at that instant,
For fear of my positive force being burned.
(72) Why would a man about to be put to death
Be unfortunate if, by having his hand chopped
off, he were spared?
So why would I be unfortunate if, through human
I were spared joyless realms?
(73) If I'm unable to bear
Even this minor suffering of the present,
Then why don't I ward off the rage
That would be the cause of hellish pain?
(74) On account of my impassioned (rage), I've
burning and the like
For thousands of times in the joyless realms;
But (through it), I haven't brought benefit to
Or benefit for others.
(75) But, since great benefits will be brought
In this, which is not even a fraction of that
Only delight is appropriate here
In the suffering dispelling (all) damage to
(76) If others obtain the pleasure of joy
From praising someone (I dislike) who possesses
Why, O mind, don't you make yourself joyous like
By praising him too?
(77) That pleasure of joy of yours would be
An arising of pleasure that was not disgraceful,
Something permitted by the Ones with Good
And superlative, as well, for gathering others.
(78) If you wouldn't like this pleasure of his,
"Such pleasure as that would be only his!"
Then, from stopping (as well) giving wages and
(Your) ruin will come, both seen and unseen.
(79) When your own good qualities are being
You wish others, as well, to take pleasure;
But when others' good qualities are being
You don't wish yourself to take pleasure too.
(80) Having developed a bodhichitta aim
Through wishing for happiness for all limited
Then why do you become angry instead
At the happiness that limited beings have found
(81) (Having given your word) that you wish
To have Buddhahood, honored throughout the three
Then why, when seeing them merely shown
Do you burn up inside at it?
(82) If there were someone needing care
Who's to be cared for by you and provided for by
And that family member were to get something to
Wouldn't you be delighted, or would you be
enraged in return?
(83) How could someone who doesn't want (even)
for wandering beings
Be anyone who wishes for them to be Buddhas?
Where is there bodhichitta in someone
Who becomes enraged at others' gain?
(84) If, whether he receives it from him
Or it remains in the benefactor's house,
It will in no way be yours,
So what does it matter whether or not it's given
(85) Throw away your positive force or (others')
faith (in you),
And even your own good qualities? For what?
Don't hold on to what could bring you gain?
Tell me, with whom don't you get enraged?
(86) Not only do you not feel sorry
About the negative things you've done yourself,
You wish to compete against others
Who've enacted positive deeds?
(87) Even if your enemy lacks any joy,
What's there in that for you to take delight?
The mere wish in your mind
Won't become the cause for (any) harm to him.
(88) And even if his suffering came about
through your wish,
Still, what's there in that for you to take
If you said that you'd become gratified,
Is there anything else more degenerate than
(89) This hook cast by the fishermen, the
Is horrendously sharp. Procuring (you) from
them, O mind,
The joyless realm guards will cook me, for sure,
In the cauldrons of hell.
(90) Praise and fame, (these) shows of respect,
Won't bring positive force, won't bring a long
Won't bring bodily strength, nor freedom from
They won't bring physical pleasure either.
(91) If I were aware of what's in my
What in my self-interest would there be in them?
If just mental happiness were what I wanted,
I should devote myself to gambling and so on,
and to alcohol too.
(92) For the sake of fame, (people) would give
Or would get themselves killed;
But what use is there with words (of fame)?
Once they've died, to whom will they bring
(93) At the collapse of his sand castle,
A child wails in despair;
Similarly, at the loss of praise and fame,
My mind shows the face of a child.
(94) Because an impromptu word is something
lacking a mind,
It's impossible that it has the intention to
But, proclaiming, "The other one (offering me
is delighted with me,"
If I consider that a cause (also) to be
(95) Well, whether it's toward someone else or
What use to me is another person's joy?
That pleasure of joy is his alone;
I won't get (even) a share of it.
(96) If I take pleasure in his pleasure (with
I must do like that in all cases, in fact.
How is it that I don't take pleasure
When he has the pleasure of joy with another?
(97) So joy is arising in me
(Simply due to), "Me, I'm being praised!"
But there, in fact, because (thinking) like that
is just nonsense,
It comes down to nothing but the behavior of a
(98) Being praised and such things cause me
They cause my disgust (with samsara) to
disintegrate as well.
I become jealous of those with good qualities,
And that makes me demolish success.
(99) Therefore, aren't those who are hovering
For striking down praise and the like for me
Actually involved in protecting me from falling
Into a worse rebirth state?
(100) For me, whose primary interest is in
Bondage to material gain and shows of respect
are things I mustn't have.
So how can I get enraged with those who are
To be freed from my having been bound?
(101) For me, who would enter into (a house) of
How can I get enraged with those who've come,
As if from Buddha's inspiration,
In the nature of a door panel not letting me
(102) "But this one is impeding my positive
Still, it's unfitting to be enraged with him.
There isn't any trial that's equal to patience,
So shouldn't I be staying just close to that?
(103) If, in fact, it's through my own fault
That I'm not acting patiently here,
Then while a cause for positive practice is
It's actually me who's causing the impediment
(104) If there were something that wouldn't come
if something were absent,
But if something were present, would also be
That very thing would be the cause of that,
So how can it be said that it's an impediment to
(105) There's no impediment to giving caused by
a mendicant (monk)
Gone out (for alms) at the proper time;
And it can't be said that the coming of someone
Is an impediment for becoming a monastic.
(106) Alms-seekers are plentiful in this life,
But scarce are those who cause (me) harm,
Because no one will cause me harm
If I haven't harmed them like this (in past
(107) Therefore, I shall be delighted with an
Who's popped up like a treasure in my house,
Without having had to be acquired with fatigue,
Since he becomes my aide for bodhisattva
(108) It's because of its having been actualized
through this one and me (having met)
That a fruit of patience (comes about);
(So,) let me award it first to him,
For he was, like this, the (earlier) cause of my
(109) Suppose I said, "But he had no intention
to actualize patience,
So this enemy isn't someone to be honored."
Well, how is it that the hallowed Dharma is
As suited to be a cause for actualizing (it)?
(110) Suppose I said, "But this enemy's
intention was to cause me harm,
So he can't be honored."
Well, how could patience be actualized by me
If, like a doctor, he were intent on my benefit?
(111) Therefore, since patience arises
From his vicious intention,
This one himself is fit to be honored like the
Because he's a cause of my patience.
(112) Thus, the Sage has spoken of the field of
As well as the field of the Triumphant,
(For,) having made them happy, many have gone,
To the far-shore of excellence.
(113) When the acquisition of a Buddha's Dharma
Is equally due to (both) limited beings and the
What kind of order is it that the respect shown
to limited beings
Is not like that to the Triumphant?
(114) The preeminence of an intention is not
But due to its result, and by that, the
Of that which is had by limited beings is, in
fact, the same;
And because of that, they are equal.
(115) Whatever is honored in having a loving
intention (toward them),
That, in fact, is the greatness (coming) from
And whatever positive force there is in
confident belief in the Buddhas,
That, in fact, is the greatness from the
(116) It's the share they have
in actualizing a Buddha's Dharma (attainments),
And because of that, they're asserted as their
But, of course, no one can be the equal of the
In endless oceans of excellent qualities.
(117) If even a speck of the excellent qualities
Of the unique syntheses of the best excellent
Were to be seen somewhere, an offering of the
three planes of existence
Would be inadequate for honoring it.
(118) Since a share giving rise to a Buddha's
Foremost Dharma (attainments) exists in limited
It's fitting that limited beings be honored,
In accordance with this very share.
(119) Further, besides making limited beings
What other repayment is there
For those who befriend them without pretension
And help them beyond any measure?
(120) Since it would repay them to benefit those
for whose sake
They sacrifice their bodies and plunge into
of unrelenting pain,
Then even if these (limited beings) should cause
Everything wholesome is to be done (for them).
(121) For the sake of even, in this case, my
They disregard even their own bodies.
So how can I, bewildered about this, act with
And not act in the nature of a servant?
(122) The Sages delight in their happiness
And enter into distress at their injury;
And so, in (my) bringing them joy,
the Sages will all have become delighted,
And in bringing them harm, the Sages will have
(123) Just as there could be no mental pleasure
from desirable objects
For someone whose body were completely on fire,
Likewise, there's no way to delight the Greatly
When limited beings have, in fact, been harmed.
(124) Therefore, whatever displeasure I've
to all the Greatly Compassionate Ones,
By my having caused harm to limited beings,
I openly admit, today, that negative deed,
And request the Sages, please bear with that
displeasure you have.
(125) From now on, for the sake of delighting
the Thusly Gone (Buddhas),
I shall act, with definite restraint, as a
servant to the world.
Let mobs of people kick me in the head with
their feet or
even beat me to death, I shall not venture
Let the Guardians of the World take delight!
(126) There's no doubt that Those with a
Have taken all wandering beings (to be the same)
The very nature they've seen as the essential
nature of limited beings
Is those Guardians' self-nature,
so why don't I show (them the same) respect?
(127) Just this, is what brings pleasure to the
Thusly Gone (Buddhas);
Just this, is what perfectly accomplishes my own
aims as well;
Just this, is what dispels the world's suffering
Therefore, let it be just this, that I always
(128) For example, even when some member
of the royal court
Is harming the public,
Farsighted people do not hurt him back
Even if they're able,
(129) For that one, (acting) like this, is not
On the contrary, the king's power and might are
his military forces.
Likewise, some lowly person creating harm
Is not to be belittled,
(130) For his armed forces are the guards of the
And all the Compassionate Ones.
So, like a commoner toward a violent king,
I shall make all limited beings be pleased.
(131) Should even such a king be enraged (with
Could he inflict the pain of a joyless realm,
Which is what I'd be brought to experience
By having made limited beings displeased?
(132) Should even such a king be pleased (with
It's impossible that he could bestow Buddhahood,
Which is what I'd be brought to attain
By having made limited beings be pleased.
(133) (Leave aside) seeing that the future
attainment of Buddhahood
Arises from making limited beings be pleased,
Don't you see that, at least in this life, great
Fame, and happiness come?
(134) (Moreover), with beauty and so on,
freedom from sickness, and fame,
Someone with patience, while still in samsara,
Gains extremely long life and the abundant
Of a universal chakra king.
- Shantideva from Engaging in Bodhisattva
Behavior, translated from the Tibetan, as
clarified by the Sanskrit by Alexander Berzin