Why There Is Never Reason For Anger

Just as a doctor does not fight but helps patients who are possessed by spirits, though they get angry, so the Sage sees that the afflictions are at fault, not the person who have the afflictions.

– Aryadeva
(Four Hundred Stanzas)

Analyse, thinking, ‘What would be reasonable grounds for anger towards harm-doers?’ Whereupon, you might think, ‘They first had the thought of wanting to harm me, prepared the method, and then either prevented my happiness or inflicted unpleasant physical or mental suffering, so my anger is justified.’ Are you angry because they inflicted harm while they had self-control not to harm you, or are you angry because they were utterly without any self-control and hurt you while helplessly impelled by something else?

In the former case, your anger is unjustified because those who inflict harm do not have control over themselves, for when the conditions and causes – seeds left by afflictions to which they were previously habituated, a nearby object, and erroneous conceptions – come together, they give rise to the thought to harm, even though the harm-doers do not think, ‘I will feel malice’; whereas if those causes and conditions are not complete, they will never produce the thought to harm, even if the harm-doers think, ‘I will feel malice.’

These causes and conditions produce the desire to harm; this in turn produces the work of harming; and this produces suffering of someone else, so those harm-doers do not have even the slightest self-control. Moreover, they have become like servants of their afflictions, because they are under the control of others, i.e., their afflictions.

In the latter case – you are angry because the harm-doers are utterly without any self-control and, being helplessly impelled by something else, they hurt you – then your anger is totally unjustified. For instance, some people who have been possessed by demons and have come under their control may wish to hurt those who are helping them to get free of their demons and thereupon beat them, etc. However, their helpers think, ‘They do this because their demons have eliminated their ability to control themselves,’ and do not have even the slightest anger toward them. They then strive to the best of their ability to free them from their demons.

Likewise, when Bodhisattvas are hurt by others, they think, ‘They do this because the demons of the afflictions have eliminated their ability to control themselves.’ Without being even the slightest bit angry with those persons they then must generate the spirit of enlightenment, thinking, ‘I will strive at the Bodhisattva deeds in order to free them from these afflictions.’

The Great Treatise On The Stages Of The Path To Enlightenment Volume 2
(Lam Rim Chen Mo)
The Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee
Joshua W.C. Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, Guy Newland, Editor

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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