Tagged with: anger

Heaven or Hell: Your Choice

A big, burly samurai comes to a Zen master and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.”

The Zen master looks him in the face and says, “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you? A worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?”

Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword and raises it to cut off the master’s head.

The Zen master says, “That’s hell.”

Instantly, the samurai understands that he has created his own hell—black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment. He sees that he was so deep in hell that he was ready to kill someone. Tears fill his eyes as he puts his palms together to bow in gratitude for this insight.

The Zen master says, “That’s heaven.”

Heaven or Hell: Your Choice

A big, burly samurai comes to a Zen master and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.”

The Zen master looks him in the face and says, “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you? A worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?”

Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword and raises it to cut off the master’s head.

The Zen master says, “That’s hell.”

Instantly, the samurai understands that he has created his own hell—black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment. He sees that he was so deep in hell that he was ready to kill someone. Tears fill his eyes as he puts his palms together to bow in gratitude for this insight.

The Zen master says, “That’s heaven.”

We need to master our own anger before we can help others do the same. When the flames of anger flare up, we tend to lash out at those who have watered our seeds of anger. It is like finding our house on fire, and instead of putting out the flames, chasing those we think started it. Arguing with others only waters the seeds of anger in us. When anger rises, return to yourself and use the energy of mindfulness to embrace, soothe, and illuminate it. Do not think you will feel better if you can make the other person suffer, too.

We need to master our own anger before we can help others do the same. When the flames of anger flare up, we tend to lash out at those who have watered our seeds of anger. It is like finding our house on fire, and instead of putting out the flames, chasing those we think started it. Arguing with others only waters the seeds of anger in us. When anger rises, return to yourself and use the energy of mindfulness to embrace, soothe, and illuminate it. Do not think you will feel better if you can make the other person suffer, too.

We don’t need a psychic to tell us what our future experience will be—we need only look at our own minds. If we have a good heart and helpful intentions toward others, we will continually find happiness. If instead, the mind is filled with ordinary self-centered thoughts, with anger and harmful intentions toward others, we will find only difficult experiences.

We don’t need a psychic to tell us what our future experience will be—we need only look at our own minds. If we have a good heart and helpful intentions toward others, we will continually find happiness. If instead, the mind is filled with ordinary self-centered thoughts, with anger and harmful intentions toward others, we will find only difficult experiences.

Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance. It’s not that anger is repressed; anger never arises in the first place.

Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance. It’s not that anger is repressed; anger never arises in the first place.

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Big Shadow

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.

- Swedish Proverb

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