The Dalai Lama’s Wisdom About Anger

In Buddhism, any thought, feeling or mental state that undermines our peace of mind from within–all negative thoughts and emotions such as anger, pride, lust, greed, envy and so on–are considered to be afflictions. Far from recognizing their destructive potential and challenging them, we often nurture and reinforce them. But. . . their nature is wholly destructive. They are the very source of unethical conduct.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama offers wisdom about anger:

1. Anger is the real destroyer of our good human qualities; an enemy with a weapon cannot destroy these qualities, but anger can. Anger is our real enemy.

2. If we live our lives continually motivated by anger and hatred, even our physical health deteriorates.

3. Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.

4. We have a saying in Tibet: “If you lose your temper and get angry, bite your knuckles.” This means that if you lose your temper, do not show it to others. Rather, say to yourself, “Leave it.”

5. According to Buddhist psychology, most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities. The pursuit of the objects of our desire and attachment involves the use of aggression and competitiveness. . . These mental processes easily translate into actions, breeding belligerence.

Such processes have been going on in the human mind since time immemorial, but their execution has become more effective under modern conditions. What can we do to control and regulate these “poisons”–delusion, greed and aggression? For it is these poisons that are behind almost every trouble in the world.

5. Hatred can be the greatest stumbling block to the development of compassion and happiness. If you learn to develop patience and tolerance towards your enemies, then everything becomes much easier–your compassion towards all others begins to flow naturally.

6. Happiness cannot come from hatred or anger. Nobody can say, “Today I am happy because this morning I was angry.” On the contrary, people feel uneasy and sad and say, “Today I am not very happy, because I lost my temper this morning.”

* Through kindness, whether at our own level or at the national and international level, through mutual understanding and through mutual respect, we will get peace, we will get happiness, and we will get genuine satisfaction.

Adapted from The Pocket Dalai Lama, arranged by Mary Craig (Shambhala, 2002). Copyright (c) 2002 by Mary Craig. Reprinted by permission of Shambhala.
Adapted from The Pocket Dalai Lama, arranged by Mary Craig (Shambhala, 2002).


Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Thank you!

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Mari Basque
Mari '7 years ago

Very true!