Rage and Outrage

amidevabijaSome well-intentioned persons believe that rage and outrage are necessary for beneficial activism.

However, all variations of anger, while making us feel “sharp”, actually dull the mind and make us ineffective. Anger narrows our focus, and makes us blind to context. Anger exhausts and demoralizes. Anger destroys. Anger saps power.

Peace and radical compassion are the essential components of effective activism.

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Rage and Outrage

  1. Vox Populi says:

    Teacher, what is the meaning of the image in this post?

  2. So true. Thanks for the reminder. I too am bloging on this very subject. A way to help deal with my own anxiety over the recent election.

  3. Steve says:

    Very well said. How sadly we devolve when things don’t always go our way…
    Thank you Tashi,

  4. Simon says:

    I think when a situation occours where feeling moral anger is appropriate then we should allow ourselves to feel that anger to pursue justice. When the situation changes so we should let it go. Feeling anger can be a positive thing for our wellbeing.

    • Tashi Nyima says:

      Anger is not helpful. We can be more effective in improving situations by remaining peaceful and aware. Anger clouds our vision.

      • Simon says:

        I appreciate that for some types of anger that is the case. Anger that is just based on selfishness will reinforce that selfishness. But then the same can be said of compassion. Compassion based on a selfish desire for happiness for oneself reinforces that selfishness. Selfish compassion for ourselves and those we identify with could for instance mean that we do not challenge ourselves enough to do good.

        But both emotions when engaged with out of sense of ethical care for all others becomes very good indeed, and I would make the point that moral anger is actually a stronger motivator for one to change ones actions for the better than compassion in some instances. A case in point could be with regards to how few Buddhist are vegans. Maybe if people felt more angry at the way animals have their rights violated, rather than just a very ill defined sense of compassion for their plight, they would have been more willing not to support causing harm.

      • Tashi Nyima says:

        Perhaps you are using the term differently, but anger (in the Buddhist sense) is a reactive emotion, and all reactive emotions lead to suffering.

        The person possessed of anger; discoloured,
        Does not have sound sleep.
        Even when experiencing the beneficial
        He mistakes it as mischief.
        Then he harms another
        By thought, speech and deed
        As result, he will suffer.
        Loss of property (fines or punishment).
        Crazed by wrath he behaves thus
        That invites ill-repute.
        His relatives, friends and acquaintance
        Shun him, for his temper – hot.
        Anger fathers misfortune
        Anger maddens one’s mind
        It is a danger that rises from within
        But man realizes it not.
        The angered knows not what is right
        Nor does he see what really is
        Surrounded by darkness he dwells
        Who now does anger defeat?
        Captivated and maddened by anger
        He does what is unwholesome with ease
        But in time when anger is spent
        Regrets he, as one burnt by flames.”
        –Buddha Shakyamuni, Anguttara Nikaya

        There is nothing “ill-defined” about compassion. Compassion is the aspiration to reduce or eliminate the suffering o others. Peace and clarity, my Friend.

  5. Simon says:

    The Buddha also said “”Devadatta is headed for destitution, Devadatta is headed for hell, Devadatta will boil for an eon, Devadatta is incurable” — Abhaya Sutta

    “‘ I, Devadatta, would not hand over the Order of monks even to Sariputta and Moggalhina. How then could I to you,a wretched one to be vomited like spittle ? ” — Cullavagga VII

    Are these not words of anger, but also based on what the buddha felt was compassion for others? Compassion is a desire to help others and sometimes that compassion can be expressed through anger. Indeed by doing so we promote the cause of justice.

    • Tashi Nyima says:

      No anger whatsoever in the Buddha’s words. Anger is an emotion, and these are just statements of fact. Why be so attached to justifying anger? Please let it go. It is not beneficial to you or anyone else. Peace and clarity.

      • Simon says:

        It may well be true, but comparing someone to vomit is not a fact, its an analogy based on whatever emotion the Buddha felt. In my opinion, that quote is not of a Buddha using gentle language, but angry language, with an analogy deliberately contrived to make people feel angry.

        You are right though, I think we should not cling to anger, but that does not mean we should not allow ourselves to fully experience it when appropriate and when it it is in the form of moral anger. By doing so we enrich our lives by fully experiencing what it is be human, promoting a world where the rights of others are respected. I posted a link to scientific evidence showing this to approach does promote wellbeing, and I would post another link to a piece by Emily McRae called “Metabolizing Anger: A Tantric Buddhist Solution to the Problem of Moral Anger”

        In the piece she quotes Dharmarakshita
        “When peacocks roam through the jungle of virulent poison,
        Though the gardens of medicinal plants may be attractive,
        The peacock flocks will not take delight in them;
        For the peacocks thrive on the essence of virulent poison.”

        Its by using anger that we can fully express our concern for the wellbeing of others.

      • Tashi Nyima says:

        Time to let it go, Friend.

  6. Pingback: Tashi Nyima: Rage and Outrage | Vox Populi

  7. Pingback: Rage and Outrage – Great Middle Way | GoodnightNina.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s