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anger: how to observe - Dhamma Wheel

anger: how to observe

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
delora
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anger: how to observe

Postby delora » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:05 am

Hi there,

The other evening I was lying in bed. Some memories came up which brought a huge amount of anger in me.

I wasn't sure what to do. To focus on the breath calmed it down, and almost made it vanish. But I have also heard to see things "as they are". I interpret this as observing the anger and being with it...seeing it through. This was... difficult... and by mid morning the next day, I can say it was gone. However, I do wonder if doing the latter is damaging?

I am not exactly new to meditation, but I would not call myself experienced. It can be quite confusing going through all the threads and different opinions, so please forgive me if this is a basic question or has been addressed elsewhere.

Am I right in thinking that this sort of question: regarding what to observe, is similar to the samatha vs vipasanna debate?

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Ben
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:49 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Phra Chuntawongso
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:37 am

And crawling on the planets face,some insects called the human race.
Lost in time
Lost in space
And meaning

5heaps
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby 5heaps » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:15 am

anger agitates so if concentration (samadhi) is your goal completely avoiding anger is key, and if it arises, antidotes need to be quickly applied or else samadhi will be damaged for some time. one such antidote could very well be quickly entering concentration on the mind, or it could just be completely disengaging the thoughts and changing the environment (ie. going for a walk).

however when these kinds of coarse mental afflictions arise they can be very helpful for vipassana since these things bring about distortions about oneself (strong grasping of a self to persons, but such a self to you doesnt exist).
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

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Goofaholix
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:21 am

The important thing when observing is the observing, not that which is being observed.

When one realises that then it doesn't really matter what's going on, and what's going on doesn't overwhelm you any more. What does matter is the quality of observation, and the attitude with which you observe, give importance to that.

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:28 am


Individual
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Individual » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:37 pm

I don't think it matters too much "how" one observes anger, merely that one actually observe it as it happens, or at least after it happens -- most don't.

I could say some stuff, but it might not be relevant, because knowing what anger looks like without having observed it, it's kinda like explaining color to a blind man, you know?

But here: Anger arises only because we were angry in the past, and do not yet know how to deal with it. We get into a stressful situation (craving and aversion, where we can't get what we want or can't avoid what we want to avoid) which typically involves other humans. And instead of taking responsibility for our unskillful behavior or recognizing that others are ignorant (and that's OK because we're ignorant too), we become angry. It feels easier to blame others than to take responsibility, or to hate others instead of expressing compassion for their ignorance. This is why we feel, "I have a right to be angry, I deserve to be angry". And overcoming the anger, seeing through it, feels like an embarrassment, like you suddenly realize you've just been saying, "I have a RIGHT to walk around with no pants, I DESERVE to have no pants"; it's shameful. But we don't see this in the moment it happens because anger reduces the clarity of our perception. Breathing meditation also helps (anxiety and anger tend to go together).

In one sutta, the Buddha says that the solution when anger arises is to also recognize, "What more can I expect?" (Everything arises because of cause & effect, anything which happens is either my own kamma, or the kamma of another -- so long as I am within Samsara, how can I not expect to suffer?)
The best things in life aren't things.


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Phra Chuntawongso
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:59 pm

And crawling on the planets face,some insects called the human race.
Lost in time
Lost in space
And meaning

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Goofaholix
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:37 pm


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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:22 am

Last edited by Spiny O'Norman on Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:26 am


Freawaru
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Freawaru » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:55 am


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Phra Chuntawongso
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:46 pm

And crawling on the planets face,some insects called the human race.
Lost in time
Lost in space
And meaning

Hoo
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Hoo » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:53 pm


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Vepacitta
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:26 am

There's a great nuts and bolts 'how to' on observing anger during meditation written by Aj. Thanissaro on access to insight. I don't know how to link but you could type in anger in the search engine there and probably find it. It's in one of his essays on meditation.

V.
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mikenz66
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:58 am


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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:27 am


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Vepacitta
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Re: anger: how to observe

Postby Vepacitta » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:22 am

Thanks Mike! It was the second essay you posted that I was thinking about - I personally found it helpful.

Cheers from Mt. Meru,

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura


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