Getting mad fits sometimes

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • AlanLa
    Member
    • Mar 2008
    • 1405

    Getting mad fits sometimes

    This is in part an addition to my thread about what makes you whole http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3645 and also in part a response to shouting at the students thread http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3657

    First of all, I am not a shouter. I learned as a kid, somewhat wrongly, that anger is wrong and unproductive, and so I have held anger in for most of my life. Shouting out of anger never worked for me, so I shut it down. My anger exists, however, or at least it shows up from time to time, even as shouting, but I have found it to not be in any way productive, so my general pattern has been to deny it or bury it or in some way not express it. BUT, as I just said, my anger really does exist, and I think we all get angry at stuff, so my practice of denying it (in whatever form that took) for most of my life has not been good practice. And that brings me to my point...

    I am a secular teacher and I got really mad at my students yesterday, but I never shouted, and I think I totally drove home my anger at them anyway. I will leave out the distracting details on what got me so mad because I ended up being (I think, as the results are not all in yet) a very effective teacher. Context is everything, and the context of my anger was that over the whole semester I conveyed to them how much I cared, how passionate I was about the subject. In that context I believe my anger was acceptable, that it was ok. Maybe zen teachers do the same, though undoubtedly people will have exceptions, which is fine....

    Here's my point: Given the context, anger might be okay. But don't hold on to it. People really do fuck up sometimes, especially students. Think about it... we've all done it to one degree or another. I fully believe it's okay to expect a lot from students, and it's also fully okay to hold them accountable, and I also believe that teachers invest a whole lot in their students, and so when all that doesn't work out us human teachers get mad, sometimes.

    And That's Okay
    Getting mad fits in with that human part of the Path
    And eliminating that human part is not the Middle Way
    Living with it and then letting it go is...

    Go on, Piss me off... I dare you :twisted:
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39456

    #2
    Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

    Hi Al,

    This reminds me of a thread awhile back on "righteous anger" ...

    Originally posted by JohnsonCM
    Can there be Righteous Anger? Is there a time when anger is acceptable, and not simply justified? Or as Buddhists who cultivate peace and hold to the Bodhisattva Vows that say Do not hold on to anger, are we to always try and put aside the anger in favor of compassion and peacefulness?

    :evil: or 8)
    This is an interesting question. You have probably seen, in Tibetan Buddhism, images of "wrathful" deities who turn their "pure anger" toward such causes as the protection of the Dharma and the saving of all Sentient Beings ... their wrath is directed at fighting evil, fire with fire ...

    http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/d ... eities.htm



    Anger is also a natural part of being human ... like sadness and fear ... and we should not be angry about sometimes getting a little angry (or sad about sometimes being sad, etc.). That's just how our animal brains are wired.

    HOWEVER, unlike sadness (which is just part of the scenery of life, rainy days following sunny), or fear (which may even serve to keep us safe and out of harm's way if held in moderation) ... anger is truly fire & TNT, and has potential to do great harm. It is more likely to end up as a fight in a bar, a broken relationship or starting a war than it is to do any positive good. As well, there are other emotions and perspective which can accomplish the positive goods more effectively.

    So, for example, calm reflection, looking for a constructive solution and keeping one's head as much as possible while taking effective action is an approach more likely to solve a problem in this world or in one's life than tossing more fuel on the fires of hate. ... Perhaps, "righteous indignation" or "tough love" (if a parent ... even the Zen Master's "30 blows" are more of this kind) or "a firm hand with a calm mind" may be justified by a situation ...

    ... but I would say that anger is rarely, if ever, an appropriate response.

    You can read more in our threads on this subject for study of the Jukai Precepts ...

    viewtopic.php?p=33401#p33401
    Also this, on playing with fire ...

    [T]o fully remove these emotions from the human mind ... including potentially harmful emotions such as anger ... would rob of us of an important part of being human. We would be reduced to living in a way as emotionally numb and dull as a piece of cold wood or a stone. Some schools of Buddhism (and some other Eastern and Western religions too) have sought to completely kill or squelch such emotions within us (sometimes many other human emotions too). This has traditionally been described as pouring water on the fire until coals become completely wet and cool, and the fire is completely out.

    When Buddhism came to China, Korea, Tibet and Japan ... the Buddhist teachings on the emotions subtly changed (I paint with a broad brush, but I speak as a general trend). The fires of emotions were not seen as necessarily negative things, but they must be handled carefully and with balance. A campfire, so useful for cooking our supper if skillfully made, will quickly burn down the woods if left untended. A single candle which offers light can burn us and others, and the whole house down, if handled wrong. So it is with our emotions.

    ...

    ... Thus I say that the Precepts guide us away from excess and uncontrolled anger, greed, jealousy ... Anger at injustices in the world, for example, may spur us on to fight for change ... yet that anger should be kept in balance, and tempered with an equal dose of acceptance of life, lest it burns us to ashes too. The desire for change should not be allowed to run rampant as greed for and attachment to change from 'how things are'. A healthy dose of competition need not become jealousy and violence. We should use strong words much as we would scold a 3 year old child found playing with matches ... that is, with love and concern and understanding, not simply to hurt the child. A harsh word can be an "intervention" to shake a friend up who needs to hear ... or it can simply be a cruel and destructive word meant to hurt someone (the most famous example of "Zen tough love" may be all those old tough talking Masters administering "40 blows" of Wisdom). Thus, do not extinguish life fires ... but handle them with care and use them in constructive ways!

    viewtopic.php?p=49816#p49816
    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • AlanLa
      Member
      • Mar 2008
      • 1405

      #3
      Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

      Jundo, I am so Pissed off at you now! How in the hell did you post that so fast? I took so long to craft my post and you do this amazingly detailed and linked post in response in the time it took me to finish and then walk the dog and come back and check on the possible responses of us less unenlightened.

      Damn You! :twisted: I hate you :evil:

      :mrgreen:
      AL (Jigen) in:
      Faith/Trust
      Courage/Love
      Awareness/Action!

      I sat today

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39456

        #4
        Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

        Originally posted by AlanLa
        Jundo, I am so Pissed off at you now! How in the hell did you post that so fast? I took so long to craft my post and you do this amazingly detailed and linked post in response in the time it took me to finish and then walk the dog and come back and check on the possible responses of us less unenlightened.

        Damn You! :twisted: I hate you :evil:

        :mrgreen:
        I hate you too. :evil: :wink:

        Gassho, Jundo
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • AlanLa
          Member
          • Mar 2008
          • 1405

          #5
          Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

          AL (Jigen) in:
          Faith/Trust
          Courage/Love
          Awareness/Action!

          I sat today

          Comment

          • Tb
            Member
            • Jan 2008
            • 3186

            #6
            Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

            Hi.

            [youtube] [/youtube]

            'Nuf said. 8)

            Mtfbwy
            Fugen
            Life is our temple and its all good practice
            Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

            Comment

            • anista
              Member
              • Dec 2009
              • 262

              #7
              Getting mad fits sometimes

              Anger is considered one of the mental afflictions, not just in the Pali canon but also in Mahayana tradition. Anger leads inevitably to suffering. It would thus be wise to seek to control anger, see what causes it, and what it will lead to.

              A buddhist teacher I have, said (probably quoting someone else, I don't remember) that "ordinary people fear the consequences of their actions. Bodhisattvas fear the cause".

              By allowing yourself to show that anger, the consequences may be grave. Is it not better to avoid that?

              By acting out on anger, or violence, or something like it, we transform our mind, we invite anger, we get used to it. Then we will use it more often. Then we will be defined by it.



              Edit: I changed the quote a bit to better represent what my teacher said.
              The mind does not know itself; the mind does not see itself
              The mind that fabricates perceptions is false; the mind without perceptions is nirv??a

              Comment

              • Taigu
                Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                • Aug 2008
                • 2710

                #8
                Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

                I Cannot agree more with you, Anista.

                The only thing that sounds a bit strange is the quote you give:

                ordinary people fear the consequences of their actions. Bodhisattvas fear the action itself"
                Bodhisatvas don t fear, their understand, plunge, dive, embrace...
                The way i see it is that a Bodhisatva is actually relating to the raw and awakened quality of the emotion, so no run away. no escape and no fear.
                As he-she communicates with the naked energy and works with it, anger dissolves (sometimes :? )

                gassho

                Taigu

                Comment

                • Shokai
                  Treeleaf Priest
                  • Mar 2009
                  • 6391

                  #9
                  Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

                  I have lived with a short fuse all my life. However, I have found over the past few years, with patience and practice (taking time to see where things come from) the triggers disappear. I do not think it is denial or suppression, it is more like getting closer to objectivity. And, somewhere, out of that spaciousness come the skillful means to a solution. It works if you allow it. I am so pleased that I can say this because i lived in a family where it's members seemed to grow a wrath with age. I felt so badly to see my sister develop the same rage that I saw grow with time in my father and his parents before him. I am so happy that I can be at peace with just being and to think it was my father that taught me over sixty years ago how to 'clear my mind.' What Irony ! On dit, "C'est dommage!"
                  合掌,生開
                  gassho, Shokai

                  仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                  "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                  https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                  Comment

                  • natezenmaster
                    Member
                    • Oct 2009
                    • 160

                    #10
                    Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

                    Originally posted by Taigu
                    I Cannot agree more with you, Anista.

                    The only thing that sounds a bit strange is the quote you give:

                    ordinary people fear the consequences of their actions. Bodhisattvas fear the action itself"
                    Bodhisatvas don t fear, their understand, plunge, dive, embrace...
                    I really liked Anista's quote.. though perhaps it can be said "ordinary people watch for the consequences of their actions. Bodhisattvas watch the cause"..

                    Many thanks to you both!

                    Nate

                    Comment

                    • JohnsonCM
                      Member
                      • Jan 2010
                      • 549

                      #11
                      Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

                      Originally posted by Jundo
                      Originally posted by AlanLa
                      Jundo, I am so Pissed off at you now! How in the hell did you post that so fast? I took so long to craft my post and you do this amazingly detailed and linked post in response in the time it took me to finish and then walk the dog and come back and check on the possible responses of us less unenlightened.

                      Damn You! :twisted: I hate you :evil:

                      :mrgreen:
                      I hate you too. :evil: :wink:

                      Gassho, Jundo
                      I read alot of what goes on in our sangha during lunch at work, so I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I hate you both for making me laugh like a crazy person when I read this; no doubt my co-workers are questioning my sanity as I type this...... :lol:

                      Originally posted by anista
                      Anger is considered one of the mental afflictions, not just in the Pali canon but also in Mahayana tradition. Anger leads inevitably to suffering. It would thus be wise to seek to control anger, see what causes it, and what it will lead to.

                      A buddhist teacher I have, said (probably quoting someone else, I don't remember) that "ordinary people fear the consequences of their actions. Bodhisattvas fear the cause".

                      By allowing yourself to show that anger, the consequences may be grave. Is it not better to avoid that?

                      By acting out on anger, or violence, or something like it, we transform our mind, we invite anger, we get used to it. Then we will use it more often. Then we will be defined by it.
                      I will agree with Anista here, acting out on anger and allowing it to transform our mind is dangerous. Anger is one of the three great poisons. But like all forces, it can be channeled. Anger, when examined from a place of clarity, can be re-directed from hatefullness to helpfullness if we view it with the eyes of Kannon. I found that when we were discussing the whole "Engaged Buddhism" thing that I got angry about some things. This is a good example, because it played out both ways. If you read my posts, you can see times when I deffinately allowed my anger to overcome my compassion and understanding, but the flip side of that coin is that I also became motivated to do something about it. When my anger was let to do what it wanted, I sounded like a jerk. When I was mindful of my anger, I found that I was angry with the situation underlying the whole thread, where people are in need. This realization allowed me to curb my anger and redirect it to be more beneficial.
                      Gassho,
                      "Heitetsu"
                      Christopher
                      Sat today

                      Comment

                      • Dosho
                        Member
                        • Jun 2008
                        • 5784

                        #12
                        Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

                        Al,

                        The only caution I would have in your post concerns whether or not you have created an environment in your classroom where students can disagree with you and not fear unfair retribution in the form of grades or evaluations. I don't mean that a student can get up and start shouting whatever they like whenever they like, but I have seen way too many teachers who seem to enjoy the power they have over their students' lives. So, if you have from day one allowed students to speak up I don't see a problem with showing such emotion, but if not then frankly I don't think it is ok to show anger in the classroom.

                        Yes, students do fuck up sometimes, but I don't think that's exclusive to them. Teachers do it too. We all do! But if a teacher screws up it can be a lot more damaging and we are not usually the best ones to evaluate our own screw ups.

                        Just my $0.02.

                        Gassho,
                        Dosho

                        Comment

                        • Kaishin
                          Member
                          • Dec 2010
                          • 2322

                          #13
                          Re: Getting mad fits sometimes

                          Originally posted by Jundo
                          Originally posted by AlanLa
                          Jundo, I am so Pissed off at you now! How in the hell did you post that so fast? I took so long to craft my post and you do this amazingly detailed and linked post in response in the time it took me to finish and then walk the dog and come back and check on the possible responses of us less unenlightened.

                          Damn You! :twisted: I hate you :evil:

                          :mrgreen:
                          I hate you too. :evil: :wink:

                          Gassho, Jundo
                          You guys are cracking me up!
                          Thanks,
                          Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
                          Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

                          Comment

                          • anista
                            Member
                            • Dec 2009
                            • 262

                            #14
                            Getting mad fits sometimes

                            Originally posted by Taigu
                            I Cannot agree more with you, Anista.

                            The only thing that sounds a bit strange is the quote you give:

                            ordinary people fear the consequences of their actions. Bodhisattvas fear the action itself"
                            Bodhisatvas don t fear, their understand, plunge, dive, embrace...
                            The way i see it is that a Bodhisatva is actually relating to the raw and awakened quality of the emotion, so no run away. no escape and no fear.
                            As he-she communicates with the naked energy and works with it, anger dissolves (sometimes :? )

                            gassho

                            Taigu
                            Yes, by fear, I'm sure she didn't mean that bodhisattvas go around being afraid of different actions. I'm sure she meant that as a figure of speech. Something like, bodhisattvas are more mindful of what they are actually doing, because they know what consequences an action can lead to. We ordinary beings sometimes get more preoccupied with the consequences of our actions, without realizing what caused them.
                            The mind does not know itself; the mind does not see itself
                            The mind that fabricates perceptions is false; the mind without perceptions is nirv??a

                            Comment

                            • anista
                              Member
                              • Dec 2009
                              • 262

                              #15
                              Getting mad fits sometimes

                              Originally posted by natezenmaster
                              Originally posted by Taigu
                              I Cannot agree more with you, Anista.

                              The only thing that sounds a bit strange is the quote you give:

                              ordinary people fear the consequences of their actions. Bodhisattvas fear the action itself"
                              Bodhisatvas don t fear, their understand, plunge, dive, embrace...
                              I really liked Anista's quote.. though perhaps it can be said "ordinary people watch for the consequences of their actions. Bodhisattvas watch the cause"..

                              Many thanks to you both!

                              Nate
                              Yes, perhaps it should be phrased that way instead, to avoid confusion!

                              Thank you!
                              The mind does not know itself; the mind does not see itself
                              The mind that fabricates perceptions is false; the mind without perceptions is nirv??a

                              Comment

                              Working...