Anger (Haradachi)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

The sixth of the eight dusts is "anger." In Japan, one occasionally hears the proverb, "A person prone to anger is devoid of deviousness." There are people who are bothered at the slightest thing because of their straightforwardness and honesty. Such people do not patiently suppress what they feel but instead let it out into the open. There are those who explain that people who lose their temper have purer intentions. We might be tempted to agree when it is explained in this manner. In the last analysis, however, anger is not welcomed. It hurts others, and the person who has lost their temper is later left with a rotten feeling. We are warned, "Losing our temper lessens our merit and can even have a harmful effect on our lives."

Generally, the dust of anger arises because of our own willfulness, because we are spoiled, or because our mind is not purified. We become angry, claiming that someone has done something wrong or because of something else they did. Although we may think we have a profound reason for becoming angry, in actuality, our assessment of the situation is limited by our thinking and point of view. In fact, anger arises because we look at the situation from only our own point of view. When we put ourselves in the shoes of the person we are angry at, we can realize that he or she must have his or her own point of view and a different assessment of the same situation. If we avoid clinging to our own point of view and personal assessment and, instead, purify our minds in order to understand others and savor what it is like to be in their shoes, we should see an increase in the joy we experience in our daily lives.

These days, people often speak of anger against the ills of society. There is no denying that such "anger" does not simply come from individual willfulness or a short temper, but is a response to society's ills that cause many people to suffer. Certainly, there are issues to take into serious consideration whose root causes must be sought out and uncovered. However, it is equally clear that such a search must not be based on any personal, emotional reaction. Rather, it is important to dig deeply to find the root causes of the problems, accurately grasp their true nature, and understand them from a broad and detached perspective so that we can make a genuine effort to bring about a fundamental solution.