Anger Management Techniques
Anger is one of the most common and destructive delusions, and it afflicts our mind almost every day. To solve the problem of anger we first need to recognize the anger within our mind, acknowledge how it harms both ourself and others, and appreciate the benefits of being patient in the face of difficulties. We then need to apply practical methods in our daily life to reduce our anger and finally to prevent it from arising at all.
What is anger?
Anger is a deluded mind that focuses on an animate or inanimate object, feels it to be unattractive, exaggerates its bad qualities, and wishes to harm it. For example, when we are angry with our partner, at that moment he or she appears to us as unattractive or unpleasant. We then exaggerate his bad qualities by focusing only on those aspects that irritate us and ignoring all his good qualities and kindness, until we have built up a mental image of an intrinsically faulty person. We then wish to harm him in some way, probably by criticizing or disparaging him.
Because it is based on an exaggeration, anger is an unrealistic mind
Because it is based on an exaggeration, anger is an unrealistic mind; the intrinsically faulty person or thing that it focuses on does not in fact exist. Moreover, as we shall see, anger is also an extremely destructive mind that serves no useful purpose whatsoever. Having understood the nature and disadvantages of anger, we then need to watch our mind carefully at all times in order to recognize it whenever it begins to arise.
This explanation of how to overcome our anger through practising patience is based on Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, the famous poem by the great Buddhist Master Shantideva. Though composed over a thousand years ago, this is one of the clearest and most powerful explanations of the subject ever written, and is just as relevant today as it was then.