Conquer the angry mind

– Extract of a Dhamma talk by Bro. Tan Siang Chye

Anger and aversion arise when someone does or says something we don’t like, or things are not done our way.  It is the result of unwise attention to the un-ending desires in our mind.  The Buddha taught that anger inflames the mind and only brings about loss, pain, loneliness and misery; an angry person does not see the true nature of things (Kodhana Sutta, AN 7.60).

To let go of the burden of anger, we train ourselves to accept that things do not always turn out as expected.  Everything is constantly changing, including ourselves, hence there is no sense in holding onto our opinions.   We can also assess the situation from an objective perspective, instead of taking it personally.  Hence, even when others intentionally want to infuriate us, we empathise with their situation and radiate loving-kindness so that they may be free from harm and suffering.

We can also let go of this feeling by reminding ourselves that holding onto it is like clenching burning charcoal in our fists; it only burns us, and unwholesome kamma is generated.  Train our mind instead to have restraint of conduct and speech through mindfulness, and nurture positive mental states such as patience and compassion.  It is through persistent investigation and abandonment of the craving and attachments which underlie this manifestation of the mind, that we can conquer the angry mind.