Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part I, by Ven, Mahasi Sayadaw

(7) The Fault of Anger

Avuso – O, my friend Channa, duttho – a vicious person who is bearing ill-will or becoming angry, dosena abhibuto – being overwhelmed with anger, nay, overpowered by anger or resentment, pariyadanam citto – which has used up or wiped off all noble-mindedness or virtuous thoughts, nay, without goodwill because of anger, attavyapadayapi ceteti – plot to cruelly cause himself to suffer misery; paravyapadayapi . . . ubhayavyapadayapi ceteti – carry out plans to ill-treat himself as well as others, and bring about miserable conditions. Kayena – physically, duccaritam – bad deeds, such as killing, etc., carati – are committed; vacara – verbally (and) manasa – mentally, duccaritam — utter abusive words, wishing others’ ruin or destruction in life and property and so on. In essence, it is to reflect and exercise restraint based upon this Dhamma so preached. The manner of reflection and exercising restraint or keeping one’s mind under control is:

When giving rise to aggressive anger, it is obvious that one becomes miserable. Feeling of joy or happiness which previously pervades him immediately disappears. Mental distress takes place which then changes his looks to become grim and distorted caused by unhappiness. He would become fidgety, and the more he becomes furious, the more he is distressed and embarrassed both physically and mentally. Anger may incite him to commit murder or utter obscene words. If he makes a retrospection of his past evil deeds, he will, in the least, feel sorry and humiliated by being conscious of his own guilt; or that, if he has committed a crime, he will definitely suffer all at once in receiving due punishment for his crimes. Furthermore, in his next existence he can descend to the apaya realm where he will invariably have to undergo immense suffering and misery. This is just a brief description of how anger will bring about dire consequences. Such incidents can be personally experienced and known by mere retrospection.

Misery caused to others by anger is more obvious. In the least, making others feel unhappy by word of mouth is fairly common. A person who is railed at may feel awfully distressed and suffer mental pain. Angry mood may relegate to the level of killing others or causing severe suffering mentally. Even if no terrible consequence may not take place in the present lifetime, an angry person will land in the nether world esin his future existences. If at all he is reborn in the world of human beings by virtue of his wholesome kusala kamma, he will be greatly handicapped with a short span of life, exuberant diseases and ugliness in his personal appearance. Anger cut both ways endangering both the person who is angry and the aggrieved. I would not propose to illustrate further citing relevant stories relating to the manner of reflection on the faults of anger since there is hardly any time at my disposal to tender my teachings on how metta can be developed.