Author Topic: Did the Buddha ever get angry?  (Read 4204 times)

Offline Dharmakara

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Did the Buddha ever get angry?
« on: May 23, 2014, 12:58:05 pm »
We often get mad; is this also true of the Buddha? Of course, the Buddha certainly did get angry! It is just that the Buddha's "getting upset" is different from ours.

We are incensed when others pick on us or get in our way. When our interests are compromised, we get irritated. This is not the case with the Buddha. The Buddha would not mind if you were not nice to him; however, the Buddha would become angry if you were to mistreat others. Let me illustrate this point with the following episode from the sutra.

Once, the Buddha was traveling with his group of bhiksus to preach the Dharma at some neighboring cities. Among them, some bhiksus were impatient and quick-tempered, while others were of a calmer temperament. On the way, they stopped to rest for the night at a temple. As soon as they settled down, the impatient ones quickly took claim of the available beds. "This is mine!" "That is mine!" In this way, all the available beds were claimed in no time, and Sariputra, the Buddha's leading disciple, was left without a bed. So, he decided to practice walking meditation outdoors. When the Buddha saw Sariputra strolling outside, the Buddha went up to him and asked, "Sariputra, it is quite late now. Why are you not in bed and still wandering in the yard?" Sariputra then related to the Buddha what happened, "We have a lot of bhiksus and there are not enough beds to go around. Some of the new bhiksus wanted to find a bed to retire for the night, so I let them rest first." When the Buddha heard this, he was very angry. He immediately called everyone to a meeting in which the Buddha preached about what respect one should have for one's seniors and elders.

When we do not respect our seniors and elders, the relationship between the seniors and the young is turned upside down and society becomes disorderly. In the past, parents would guide and remind their children, "Why is it that you do not listen to Mom and Dad?" Now, children complain to their parents, "Mom and Dad, how come you do not listen to me?" Even the very young children know how to negotiate for what they want, "If you do not buy this for me, I will not study hard for you!" In the past, students would humbly accept what their teachers had to teach them. Now, it is quite fashionable for students to criticize their teachers, "Teacher so-and-so is not very nice. Every time I make a suggestion, he or she turns it down." In the past, employers would give instructions to employees on what to do. Now, employees make demands of their employers, "The food in the company cafeteria has to improve," or "You have to pay us this much before we can make a living." In the military of the past, officers would give commands for subordinates to follow. Now, subordinates can openly criticize the officers. When there is no standard for our behavior, the fabric of social structure is weakened and social morals cannot be maintained. It is no wonder that disorderliness rules.

The Buddha would get angry with those who were only concerned with their own welfare and had no regard for the hardships of others. The Buddha could also become displeased when a prank, even that of a youngster, ended up hurting others. Let me illustrate with the following example. Before the Buddha renounced his life of a prince, he had a son by the name of Rahula. When Rahula was still a young child, he followed the example of his father and renounced his household life to become a monk. As he was quite young, he was very mischievous and liked to tell little white lies. Once, someone asked Rahula, "Do you know where the Buddha is right now?" Although he knew full well that the Buddha was in the room to his left, he purposely pointed to the right and told the other person, "The Buddha is over there, over there." When the person came back empty-handed, Rahula was very pleased with himself. Later, the Buddha learned of this incident and called Rahula to come before him. When Rahula saw the stern look on the Buddha, he did not dare to say a word. Quietly, he went to fetch a basin of water for the Buddha to wash his feet, hoping that the Buddha would soon start to preach. After the Buddha washed his feet, the Buddha told Rahula, "Take this basin of water and drink it!" Rahula was shocked with what he just heard, and he replied, "Lord Buddha, the water used for washing the feet is very filthy and is not suitable for drinking!"

The Buddha instructed, "When you tell lies, your mouth is as filthy as the dirty water in this basin. Nobody would want you, either!"

Rahula then went to discard the water. Afterwards, the Buddha told him, "Use this basin to hold your food!"

Rahula appeared very troubled and said, "Lord Buddha, this basin that was used for washing the feet is very dirty; I cannot put my food into it!"

The Buddha reproached him, "When your mouth often tell lies, it is just as filthy as this basin. It cannot be used to store anything wholesome."

As soon as he finished, the Buddha gave the basin a kick. The basin rolled noisily for quite a distance and Rahula was frightened. The Buddha asked Rahula, "Are you worried that I may ruin the basin?"

"No, the basin is a cheap basin. If it is broken, I can buy a new one. It does not matter!"

The Buddha again reprimanded Rahula, "Children who tell lies are just like this cheap basin; no one would feel sorry even if it is ruined."

From this incidence, we learn that the Buddha does not put up with those who lie and deceive others. The manner the Buddha used to teach Rahula stems from the high hopes parents have for their children, which is why we say, "When the love is deep, the reprimand is severe." The Buddha's anger is out of compassion, not out of hatred. The love of parents for their children is very much like the love of the Buddha!


Source: The Great Buddha
http://www.blpusa.com/download/bies04.pdf


 

Offline dennis

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Re: Did the Buddha ever get angry?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 08:07:09 am »
Hello good Dharmakara.

If I should be driving and someone "cuts me off" dangerously, my fear
quickly turns into anger (I'm working on it) and it takes a while to control.

But if I'm in good balance and mindful when "ordinary" negative thoughts
arise these thoughts are often dismissed as soon as they arise.

It is hard for me to visualize the Buddha allowing himself to become angry,
in what appears to be my own mundane manner, unless it was to teach
something to others.  If this "use of anger" is the case then the Buddha's
"anger" was not the same as what we normally think of as anger.

Does equanimity allow anger?

Thank you.  :namaste:

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Did the Buddha ever get angry?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2014, 01:29:41 am »
Hi Dennis.

Does equanimity allow anger?

That's an interesting question... it might be more appropriate to say that equanimity wouldn't allow us to indulge in anger or any other emotion for that matter:

Equanimity describes a complete openness to experience, without being lost in reactions of love and hate, like and dislike, ect.

Equanimity has a balance that empowers loving-kindness (metta) with patience, so that we care, even in times when the people that we love do self-destructive things.

Equanimity endows compassion with courage, so that we have the courage to face the pain in life and to face the cruelty in the world.



Offline dennis

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Re: Did the Buddha ever get angry?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2014, 11:01:49 am »
Hi Dennis.

Does equanimity allow anger?

That's an interesting question... it might be more appropriate to say that equanimity wouldn't allow us to indulge in anger or any other emotion for that matter:

Equanimity describes a complete openness to experience, without being lost in reactions of love and hate, like and dislike, ect.

Equanimity has a balance that empowers loving-kindness (metta) with patience, so that we care, even in times when the people that we love do self-destructive things.

Equanimity endows compassion with courage, so that we have the courage to face the pain in life and to face the cruelty in the world.


Did the Buddha abide in equanimity and/or Metta?  Or were these only states the Buddha encountered during Jhana?

If someone does "something" that requires a display/action of (Motherly) anger on our part, is it possible for normal beings to remain abiding in Metta?

My experience with raising children has taught me "loving-kindness (metta) with patience" is the best teacher, but I don't remember any feelings of equanimity; I'll have to think on this.

Thank you. :namaste: 

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Did the Buddha ever get angry?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2014, 12:29:56 pm »
Did the Buddha abide in equanimity and/or Metta?  Or were these only states the Buddha encountered during Jhana?

The Buddha identified seven factors in regard to enlightenment and awakening, where these factors are assumed to have been perfected by the Buddha and realized as a perpetual state of being:

Mindfulness (sati)
Keen investigation of the dhamma (dhammavicaya)
Energy (viriya)
Rapture or happiness (piti)
Calm (passaddhi)
Concentration (samadhi)
Equanimity (upekkha)


If someone does "something" that requires a display/action of (Motherly) anger on our part, is it possible for normal beings to remain abiding in Metta?

Yes, it's possible, but allowing anger requires a high degree of awareness --- a good example of this can be seen in how the Buddha dealt with the schism started by Devadatta, where he sent Sariputta and Moggallana to bring the monks back. The Buddha wasn't pleased and it's easy enough for us to ignore the anger he must have felt at the time, but the anger was tempered by awareness and the spirit of equanimity that one would expect.


My experience with raising children has taught me "loving-kindness (metta) with patience" is the best teacher, but I don't remember any feelings of equanimity; I'll have to think on this.

It goes without saying that "loving-kindness (metta) with patience" is important in all things we do --- although you don't recall any feelings of equanimity, the fact that that you were aware of the importance of loving-kindness and patience speaks for itself, that equanimity is being applied.


 


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