Habituated reaction: Anger, rage, hatred – Part 2
Updated: Apr 24
Or: Healing anger – the power of patience from a Buddhist perspective
You´ve missed Part 1?
In a situation that would usually cause us to respond with anger, how do we manage, to keep our cool? When our self-image is attacked, when our deep-rooted believes are threatened – then our capacity for patience and tolerance is being tested.
In Buddhism, patience is named as the antidote for anger. The Tibetan word ‘soe-pa’ translates to patience, but also to tolerance and forbearance. More precisely: It describes a resolute reaction to adversities based on a calm temper unhindered by outer and inner disturbances.
To react with great ‘soe-pa’, doesn’t mean to put up with anything and everything passively, but it is an active way to respond to adversities. This includes the conscious recognition and acceptance of pain/suffering, as well as coming up with tolerance for those whose behaviours would usually conjure up our anger. A step further: Instead of reacting with anger, rage and hatred, one makes the conscious decision to have compassion for their counterpart – even when we feel that in those situations our counterpart is causing us harm.
Anger, rage and hatred appear as friends in situations where we feel that we are being wronged, disregarded – but, in the end, they only give us the illusion of protection. Taking revenge can not diminish the harm and suffering that was inflicted upon us by others or undo it. In the end, we inflict harm and suffering upon ourselves when responding in anger, rage and hatred – we are destroying our inner state of peacefulness and equanimity.
Why be unhappy about something, If it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy about something, If it cannot be remedied?
Shantideva (From: A Guide to the Bodhisattva´s Way of Life; Chapter on “Patience”, Verse 10)
Buddhism doesn’t view tolerance and patience as a sign of weakness, but as a sign of strength – based upon the ability to remain calm and steadfast. Underlying is the ability for unlimited compassion – a state of mind free from violence.
Next time, you find yourself in a situation where you would usually respond with anger, rage or hatred, let yourself be guided by love and compassion for your counterpart, let your reaction be characterised by patience and tolerance, and thereby beware your inner calm and equanimity.