Dalai Lama: Here
is the principle: it is better not to avoid events or persons who annoy you, who
give rise to anger, if your anger is not too strong. But if the encounter is not
possible, work on yourself by yourself. In the context of Buddhism, with regards
to mind distortions, especially hostility and anger, it is standard practice to
reflect again and again on their disadvantages and destructive nature, and by
doing so, the mental affliction will gradually diminish. . . .
In psychotherapy the person may be encouraged to use fantasy to imagine all of
the possible ways of expressing his anger and all of the consequences of expressing
it. In that way, the person is not directing the anger in a destructive way toward
the therapist or toward someone else. He or she is using fantasy as a way of imagining
and shaping possibilities of expression.
Often, when people allow themselves
to express their anger in fantasy and to verbalize those fantasies in therapy,
some insight occurs. They may, for example, understand that the anger really isn't
about the therapist or this other person, but is conditioned by some event in
their past. They may discover that the anger is not the real feeling, but that
they are feeling hurt or betrayed or rejected.
At that point, there's a space
that one finds, where the anger can be there in awareness, without the need to
do anything with it. and that awareness without the need to act is a kind of middle
path between the extremes of having it hidden from awareness (suppressing it)
or the compulsion to act upon it in a destructive way.
Dalai Lama: That's excellent.
Another thing you can do is to try to find what is good or useful about the anger.
If you try to find it, you'll see that you can't. Anger is really something awful.
On the other had, you can find many good things in patience, compassion, and love.
Once you have that kind of genuine conviction, when anger begins to develop;,
you will remember its negativity and try to reduce it.
But when the anger is
too forceful, you can try to direct your mind elsewhere, on some other thing.
Just close your eyes and concentrate fully on your breathing. Count your breaths
up to about twenty or twenty-five. The anger will be slightly reduced, slightly
But if the anger is very, very strong, then fight! I am just making
a joke. But really, it is better to express it that to hide it inside. A very
negative, hateful feeling may remain there for years. That is the worst. Compared
to that, it is better to say a few nasty words.