The Nature of Anger
Throughout this book, starting with the presentation of the Four Noble Truths, the emphasis has been on changing oneself. It is summed up in Fig. 25.1, where the "passions" (ego needs, angers, fears, and desires) are substantially reduced, and where the mind is cleared. Such changes, of course, are a tall order, requiring that we overcome the influences of biology, culture, and upbringing. Several techniques-attaining right views, practicing immersion, and so forth -- were described, but in a rather general way. How do we make specific changes in specific cases? How do we apply the techniques to handling any one of the many states characterized as painful as Dukkha?
In this section, I illustrate the application of change to a particular subset of the passions -- namely, to anger. I have selected anger for two reasons. First, it is much written about in Buddhism where it is considered a "poison," destructive of progress toward liberation. Second, anger has been a kind of hobby of mine. I have studied the topic in western psychological literature and have observed it in myself. The Buddha was once asked by a novice monk what he could do to diminish his anger. The Buddha replied: "Study within yourself the things that make anger come and that make the anger go away." This I