Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part II, by Ven, Mahasi Sayadaw

(24) How to subdue anger by reflecting on Kamma as one’s own property in possession

If by reflection as indicated in the ten verses, anger cannot as yet be subdued or extinguished, it should be reflected upon kamma, the resultant effects of all good and bad actions done by you, as your own property in possession on which reliance is to be made to eradicate the anger. The manner of reflection may be stated thus: “Oh Yogi you are developing the practice of metta bhavana. While being angry what is your intention to do against the other? Is it not true that, whatever action, you have done based upon anger will in consequence, bring about evil or bad effects to your detriment? Yes, indeed. Your kamma (the resultant effects of good and bad actions you have done) is nothing but the ’cause’ of your own doing. Kamma is the only one which you really own or possess. You are sure to inherit this kamma which constitutes all kinds of wilful actions, whether mental, verbal or physical; thoughts, words and deeds, either good or bad, done by you on your own volition. Kamma is your own relative and refuge. The kammic effect which occurs or takes place depending upon anger will not con tribute to your achieving magga-phala. Neither will it do good to you to be reborn in the world of humans and Devas where happy condition’s prevail. It will not render help but will only cause you to suffer misery. in hell, etc. If you commit the evil kamma of anger, it will be like “a person who first suffers the burns and gets awfully dirty by holding and carrying in his hands the burning hot coal, and disgusting filth or excrements, with which he is going to cause injury and misery to the other.”

Just imagine a person whom you recognise as an enemy. What harm could possibly be done by him with his anger? Will not this anger that is generated in him be to his own disadvantage? He too has his own kamma (action – moral and immoral volition) as his real estate. He is the inheritor of his own kamma done by himself on his own volition, etc. The enemy who has done evil kamma by being angry, will suffer its harmful effects ‘Just as a person on whom the dust will fall back by the force of wind if he sprinkles or throws the dust to shower upon another man, standing against the wind on the leeward side from an adverse position.” The Buddha has therefore exhorted.

“If a certain fool commits wrong against a noble person of purified conduct, this wrong doing will react upon him as a retribution, etc.