A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Anger hurts those who possess it

Saw something in the news today that really struck me as just wrong. I realise this may get a heated response, but am posting it anyways. There was a discussion by a group of feminists, about the state of the women’s liberation movement. Listening to it, I noticed it was full of anger. That not only was this anger justified, but it was their right to be angry, and that all women should be angry, and anyone who thought otherwise was the enemy. Their speech was all about the injustices done to women, because of men and their anger issues. They portrayed us the root of all problems women face, and that we aren’t supposed to disagree with this view or we are further oppressing them. They want men to pay for what happened since the dawn of time, for all the injustices women have suffered. They don’t want equality; rather they are all about becoming the oppressors. Anyone who talks about love or true equality is considered as an oppressor of women. They talk about how this anger is liberating and will not only free women, but completely transform society. Something I heard at the Temple about anger recently came to mind. Leigh mentioned anger is like a hot coal we hold in our hand, waiting to throw it at someone. We grab this hot coal of anger, and hold it in our hand, waiting for our target to appear. All the time we are holding it, we are causing ourselves more pain, beyond what initially made us angry. The longer we hold it in our hands burning, the worse the pain gets. If we drop it soon the pain fades, and even the original cause of the pain fades over time. Buddha taught “Hatred doesn’t cease by hatred. Hatred can only cease by love or non-hatred”. He explained how no matter how right we feel in expressing our anger, how justified our cause, all we do is create more anger, which begets yet more anger. All anger is the same, from the same source and causes the same repercussions. Anger will never result in peace, love and reconciliation; it will result in more anger, mistrust and oppression. I wonder how these women would blame men for the situation in say India, where it is not her future husband a woman must fear, but rather her mother in-law and sister’s in-laws. Even men there fear their mothers even after marriage, so how is this man’s fault, for according to what these feminists espouse he is doing the right thing by listening and obeying a woman. Also punishing someone today for actions of others in the past, does not bring closure, or equality, rather it continues the practice of stabling barriers between us. As President Reagan said about the Berlin Wall, “Tear down this wall” so must we tear down anything that creates distinctions between sentient beings. Any artificial rule, saying or device that creates a differentiation needs to be eliminated, not created, developed or propagated. Most of the world including many of all faiths, try to find justification for our anger, a way to make it noble so we can be sanctimonious, self-righteous and condescending. Buddha settled many disputes while he walked among us, always by preaching love, compassion and equality for all.

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