Anger and stress management

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Paolo 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #3372

    Paolo
    Participant

    Hello everybody,

    I got a difficult question: as Buddhists, but above all as human beings, how do you cope with anger and stress? I guess that suppress them is totally wrong, but it isn’t also a great idea to lash out like crazy. I believe that the worst misinterpretation of buddhist teachings about anger is the stereotype of “a calm, zen-like individual which rises above worldy passions”: we all have to live in this world -at least, for this life 🙂 American zen master and author, Brad Warner, explains that the best thing to do is to stay with the anger as it arises: never suppress it, but don’t act under its influence. Tich Nath Han, on his side, suggests to treat rage with kindness as a crying baby. I found them both to be very good ways, altough I’m more on the Brad Warner’s side – but, in the end, I often act like Donald Duck 🙂

     

  • #3376

    Hi Paulo,

    Brad’s advice is good, as is Thich Nhat Hanh’s. I would add that anger and stress come from moments without faith – they are self-strategies for keeping us safe in the short-term. Of course anger has it’s own good intentions but it often doesn’t have all of the facts. For a Pureland Buddhist one of the most important facts is that we are assured of rebirth in the Pureland, so ultimately there is nothing to worry about – so practising nembutsu  – keeping the Buddha in mind – can be an antidote to stress and anger.

    I do like the idea of anger as a crying baby – because our faith is not perfect – we are bound to fall into these states sometimes – but Amida’s love is exactly for people like us – just like a good mothers love for her baby.

  • #3377

    Hope that makes sense – it reads back as a slightly confused answer – but I am at the end of a long week, and the puppy is keeping us up at night 🙂

  • #3380

    Paolo
    Participant

    Thank you Kaspalita for the answer. And yes, it totally makes sense, despite the puppy caused sleep deprivation 🙂 Anyway, I agree with the fact that anger is a short term strategy for self protection, altough we have to manage it someway. On the faith side, well, I’m new to this concept and I have to feel it much deeper. Actually, I recognized something of myself in your chapter about your experience in Pure Land Buddhism in the book “Just as you are”: I started as a materialist, then approached Buddhism in its more apparently “scientific” forms, and now I’m turning much more spiritual so…who knows, maybe one day I will develop enough faith to keep an emotional balance.

  • #3382

    Anonymous

    Hi Paolo . In a way similar to brad Warner’s method I was taught a while back to treat it like a spoilt child wanting attention. Just observe/view it and give it attention then it can calm down . Another method is distraction. These work sometimes in varying degrees .

    Namo Amida Bu

  • #3402

    Paolo
    Participant

    Hi Ken, thank you for the answer and excuse me for being in late. Well I agree with you, distraction can be a good way out of anger.

     

  • #3465

    Anonymous

    Paola, Kaspalita, and Ken I truly found this conversation to be very helpful. Often I am overwhelmed by anger and stress. In the past, I use to feel guilty for having those feelings, because I believed the misguided stereotype of the “calm zen student”, that rose above anger perfectly. Obviously I was confused about Buddha’s teaching on the matter. Thank you for clearing up my misunderstanding. This makes me hopeful for the future.

  • #3466

    Paolo
    Participant

    Hi Jeaunice,

    thank you very much, I’m glad that this discussion helps. I started it because I’m very weak in matter of anger and stress management – expecially if the two factors are combined. Also, to be honest, I find all of this “mindfulness calming exercises” to be a misinterpretation of Buddhism: it seems to be a placebo, just a pill against the stress caused by the often unsane and hurried society in which we all live. And there’s nothing to be ashemed about feeling disappointed and angry; it’s a part of our nature, also if it is unpleasant. Again, in my humble opinion, I believe that Buddhism isn’t about hiding the dirt under a carpet: quite the opposite, I find that the core of the teachings is about seeing things as they are. I am human, I am perfectly fallible, and I am 100% bombu. The result is that, as I write above, I often end up acting like Donald Duck – in fact, I laugh a lot when I watch him lashing out like crazy in his cartoons, because I’m like him 🙂 🙂

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