The root afflictions: Anger

18 Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature

Part of an ongoing series of teachings (retreat and Friday) based on the book Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature, the third volume in The Library of Wisdom and Compassion series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

  • Four types of clinging
  • Attachment to this life, happiness in samsara
  • Personal liberation, grasping to inherent existence
  • Objects of anger based on self, friends and enemies
  • Examining how anger functions and how we express anger
  • Different forms of anger
  • Anger is the mental state, not the behavior
  • Discussion of righteous anger
  • Anger due to attachment or fear

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature 18: Anger (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Look at your own life in terms of the “four clingings” and how you fill your time: is it centered around activities that are meaningful in the long run or that only make you more anxious?
  2. Fear can be due to attachment (we may get angry to protect what we’re attached to). Bring some examples to mind from your own experience.
  3. Under the influence of anger, we think, “I am right! You are wrong! You have to change!” Take some time to think back on some times when you were angry. Do these thoughts sound familiar to you?
  4. Recall a situation when you vented out of anger, screamed, stormed out of a room, and so on. Did your actions meet the need you had in that moment? Why not? What was your need and how did anger lead to you act in ways contrary to meeting it?
  5. Anxiety also can be due to attachment. Look at your own mind, tracing your anxiety back to the root. Do you find an attachment to something there? What are some antidotes to attachment that you can apply?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.