Thursday, October 26, 2006

Buddhism for Mothers Ch 4

Dealing with Anger

  • Family life demands a volume of work & it can be a source of anger.
  • Skilfully managed anger can equip us with inner resources & provdes an opportunity for wisdom as we exlore & resolve it.
  • Anger includes many behaviors - sulking, withdrawing, behaving coldly, making snide comments
  • Anger does more damage to ourselves than to the object of our anger - it takes our energy, threatens our health & undermines our ability to make wise decisions.

Buddah said : Hatred can never cease by hatred. Hatred can only cease by love. This is an eternal love.

Angry actions tend to induce angry or defensive responses.

Anger has 3 components

  1. We perceive an object that we find unpleasant
  2. We exaggerate the perceived harm
  3. We develop a wish to harm

Anger leads to a harming mind which, if we want to make spiritual progress, we must abandon.

  • First recognize the negative force of the anger
  • Next look within to understand & eliminate the cause

Meditation can be used to generate a strong determination to abandon the mind of anger. Repeat a mantra such as "I will not give in to anger". It programs your mind to dealwith events that can trigger your anger & help develop a mind of patient acceptance. Life will always present irritations & suffering. Develop equanimity so that a calm wisdom rather than emotional extremes will inform our actions.

Make a point of apologizing when you lose your temper.

Remind yorself that it is not always your job to punish offensive behavior - karma will see to them. We can even challenge ourselves to feel compassion for those creating bad karma for themselves.


  • We can reach a point where the only way to get on with our life is to forgive & offer amnesty. To harbor resentment can make our mind too small for any joy in life. In some cases forgiveness is the ultimate act of love & compassion.
  • Don't force it, wait until you are ready & that can take a lot of time & work.
  • It may help to remember times when we have caused harm to others, acted selfishly & required forgiveness. Or maybe we need to face up to our responsibility in the conflict


We need to notice our thoughts, not go for a ride with them every time. When that happens we need to stop it.

5 options for dealing with disturbing thoughts

1. Dwell on the positive - remind ourselves of the positive qualities of a person, or their acts of kindness. Practice giving people the benefit of the doubt - maybe it isn't about us & we shouldn't be so quick to take offense
2. Consider the results of our thoughts - anger does more harm to you than to the object of your anger. Everytime you respond in anger, you condition yourself to respond in anger again. Ask yourself - what kind of mother did I want to grow nto? what kind of relationship did I want with my children? Do i want to add to their suffering?
3. Distract ourselves - be mindful of when we are paying inappropriate amounts of attention to negative emotions & stop yourself. Breathe deeply to ground yourself
4. Consider the alternatives - question your thinking. Thoughts come & go & often have very little to do with what actually is. Our mind creates our reality. Its up to us to decide how important we choose to make a disturbing event.
5. Use our willpower - be firm & tell yourself "enough" or "let go". Use meditation to to generate a strong determination to abandon the mind of anger.

What We Can Do

  • Remember angry words & thoughts are bad for your karma
  • Remember anger is a passing state, so don't empower it
  • Be present with your anger without indulging it - be aware of its effects on your body
  • Look inward for the causes of anger so you can eliminate them
  • Use meditation to generate a strong determination to abandon the mind of anger
  • Share some of your struggles with your children so they can learn from your mistakes
  • Apologize to your children when you're in the wrong
  • Inform your children when you are in a bad mood so they don't take it personally
  • Consider forgiving those you are angry with if only for your own sake
  • Remember the 5 options for dealign with unwholesome thoughts

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