Anger, the Second of the Three Poisons

Last month, I discussed the first of the three poisons, greed. This month, I would like to discuss the second of the three poisons, anger.

Some people think that an enlightened being like the Buddha never gets mad, never gets angry. This is not true. Even the Buddha feels the strong emotion of anger. The difference between the Buddha, or an enlightened one, and ourselves, is that for a Buddha, their anger doesn’t last long. That doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but in actuality, it is a huge difference. An awakened person feels their anger rising up within themselves, but is able to let go of anger right away, just like letting go of a balloon to float up into the sky.

We unenlightened beings not only feel our anger arise, we hold on to our anger, for days, weeks, months, even years. If you really reflect upon yourself, isn’t there something in your past, something that someone said to you, or did to you, that you are still angry about to this day?

Calculate how long ago it was. Ten years? Twenty years? Maybe even 30 or more years ago. If you stop to bring that memory up in your mind, you feel the anger as if it was yesterday. That’s the difference between ourselves and an awakened person.

I always tell the story about my own episode of holding on to my anger. Once, many years ago, I had an argument with a member. I rarely have had such arguments, but it did occur.