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Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?

Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 8:55 AM
Fundamental question: did buddha ever get angry after his enlightenment ?

The impression I get from reading about buddha is that here is someone who is, basically, perfectly free of emotion.
Looking at buddhist forums I see people who do and people who don't believe he was totally free of anger.

On the other hand, many buddhist teachers say they either get angry, have a different relationship to anger, or even that anger is healthy and necessary. But none of them are free of it.

So is there a big disjunct between what the founder and the followers say and do. Or is that an unrealistic view of the historical buddha leading to unrealistic expectations from practice and teachers ?

So did he get mad ?

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 9:07 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Or is that an unrealistic view of the historical buddha leading to unrealistic expectations from practice and teachers ?

This one is easy to answer. Yes. It is an unrealistic view.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 9:14 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi Chris thanks for your reply. I know this gets tricky because awakened people often say things like "I" don't get angry, but "there is anger", or "anger arises", so the goalposts shift from the emotion to the nature of the self.

Is that what Buddha said ?
Where do I find his words that say he experienced anger in any way post-enlightenment ?

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 9:19 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
I tend to think it more realistic that anger can arise, and is actually felt much more clearly (as a sensation), but then passes through the system incredibly quickly - without the person going home to stew about it all evening etc

But then I don't know how far this path can go.....

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 9:27 AM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Robin Woods:
I tend to think it more realistic that anger can arise, and is actually felt much more clearly (as a sensation), but then passes through the system incredibly quickly - without the person going home to stew about it all evening etc

But then I don't know how far this path can go.....


It's what folk say isn't it Robin ? But I've always seen buddha as being totally free. I'm poorly read in buddhist literature (bit of a hang up on a buddhist forum) and maybe have a mythical view of him. If I get down to the library and read the sutras am I going to find evidence of his pissedness in his own words ?

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 9:49 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
I doubt you can find any of the Buddha getting angry even if he actually did. Who could possibly prove someone like the below ever existed? I think it is possible to reach such a stage but it belongs in the training of Morality (many fetters/arhat-type arguments abound) and perhaps there is no perfection but close. Whether it is real or not, isn't going to stop people from trying (I am; somehow very far from it), failing or thinking they have perfected it. Aiming/striving high has its pros though, no? emoticon
The Parable of the Saw

"Monks, even if bandits were to savagely sever you, limb by limb, with a double-handled saw, even then, whoever of you harbors ill will at heart would not be upholding my Teaching. Monks, even in such a situation you should train yourselves thus: 'Neither shall our minds be affected by this, nor for this matter shall we give vent to evil words, but we shall remain full of concern and pity, with a mind of love, and we shall not give in to hatred. On the contrary, we shall live projecting thoughts of universal love to those very persons, making them as well as the whole world the object of our thoughts of universal love — thoughts that have grown great, exalted and measureless. We shall dwell radiating these thoughts which are void of hostility and ill will.' It is in this way, monks, that you should train yourselves."

Monks, if you should keep this instruction on the Parable of the Saw constantly in mind, do you see any mode of speech, subtle or gross, that you could not endure?"
"No, Lord.""Therefore, monks, you should keep this instruction on the Parable of the Saw constantly in mind. That will conduce to your well-being and happiness for long indeed."

That is what the Blessed One said. Delighted, those monks acclaimed the Teaching of the Blessed One.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 9:53 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
I've always thought that Daniel's view was MUCH more likely, i.e. that emotional perfection wasn't possible, and then all of the mythology accreted around the Buddha's legend to suggest that it was. 

But then this is what people who Jefferey Martin places at 'locations' 3 and 4 report....

Having it pass through your system in seconds though - literally like water off a duck's back - (at what I think is Jefferey Martin's location 2) is an amazing feeling though..

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 10:14 AM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Emotional perfection is possible.  You dont become perfect, you just stop taking your own emotions seriously, personally.   You see them for what they are.  

In my own case, I havent gotten angry in a sustained way for a long time.  I just see through it quickly.  I do still react with anger occasionally - usually only to my wife! If some guy punched me on the street - it would trigger an emotional response, but the mind would catch that response pretty rapidly.   If something really horrible happened, I imagine it would take longer to process, but not very long.  

If you take the view that people are just Dolphins with thumbs, then how can you stay sanely mad at a Dolphin. 

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 12:03 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
I doubt you can find any of the Buddha getting angry even if he actually did. Who could possibly prove someone like the below ever existed? I think it is possible to reach such a stage but it belongs in the training of Morality (many fetters/arhat-type arguments abound) and perhaps there is no perfection but close. Whether it is real or not, isn't going to stop people from trying (I am; somehow very far from it), failing or thinking they have perfected it. Aiming/striving high has its pros though, no? emoticon
The Parable of the Saw

"Monks, even if bandits were to savagely sever you, limb by limb, with a double-handled saw, even then, whoever of you harbors ill will at heart would not be upholding my Teaching. Monks, even in such a situation you should train yourselves thus: 'Neither shall our minds be affected by this, nor for this matter shall we give vent to evil words, but we shall remain full of concern and pity, with a mind of love, and we shall not give in to hatred. On the contrary, we shall live projecting thoughts of universal love to those very persons, making them as well as the whole world the object of our thoughts of universal love — thoughts that have grown great, exalted and measureless. We shall dwell radiating these thoughts which are void of hostility and ill will.' It is in this way, monks, that you should train yourselves."

Monks, if you should keep this instruction on the Parable of the Saw constantly in mind, do you see any mode of speech, subtle or gross, that you could not endure?"
"No, Lord.""Therefore, monks, you should keep this instruction on the Parable of the Saw constantly in mind. That will conduce to your well-being and happiness for long indeed."

That is what the Blessed One said. Delighted, those monks acclaimed the Teaching of the Blessed One.

I did a bit of a google, and people come up with stories about the buddha that show anger, but the next question would be about authenticity. There are interpersonal and political reasons that would make someone promote pacivity in others, it's a way to maintain control over someone else - get them to turn the other cheek.
But I don't know anything about the reliability of buddhist scripture and hagiography, although I find it a credible story of the contemplative life and it's fruits.

The reason I got onto this today is that I just started watching a video by Tara Brach and she goes straight into saying that anger is "absolutely essential for our survival and our flourishing, that it's an intelligent emotion.." But in buddhism I thought anger is seen as a defilement or mental pollution.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 12:59 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Anger is just always irrational.  Who are you blaming for what? 

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 1:07 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
Anger is just always irrational.  Who are you blaming for what? 

Well, the model laid out for me by many buddhist teachers is that there is room for the irrationality of anger (if it's irrational). Moreover in buddhism rationality is often held to be an impediment to truth, wisdom and love. I don't need to get into a counselling sesh here, though I appreciate your concern.

Thing is, if buddha had transcended or completely overcome anger, as his story seems to say, then so many of the teachers that I see online have not matched the founder's level of wisdom or skill. In that case, where are the living teachers who are as free as the original ?

I think I'll have to have a preoper read of buddhist lit. cheers.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 1:11 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
I'm not, by any means , very well-read on buddhism(despite being born into it emoticon) but viewing anger as 'bad' or 'unnatural' is another form of attachment to view. Anger can be destructive, but used correctly I believe it is a useful tool to set boundaries and push back against injustice.

Take this story for instance:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn07/sn07.002.than.html
"In the same way, brahman, that with which you have insulted me, who
is not insulting; that with which you have taunted me, who is not
taunting; that with which you have berated me, who is not berating: that
I don't accept from you. It's all yours, brahman. It's all yours."Whoever returns insult to one who is insulting, returns taunts to
one who is taunting, returns a berating to one who is berating, is said
to be eating together, sharing company, with
neither eating together nor sharing your company, brahman. It's all yours. It's all yours."
Later on, the Buddha expounds on why his words aren't words of anger, but it's pretty clear that he is setting the Brahman straight. Anger is volatile and is quite destructive, but without it I doubt people would go out of their way to correct the ills in the world.

There's even wrathful deities in Tibetan Buddhism that are all about skillfull use of anger and other 'negative' qualities.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 1:43 PM as a reply to D..
D.:
I'm not, by any means , very well-read on buddhism(despite being born into it emoticon) but viewing anger as 'bad' or 'unnatural' is another form of attachment to view. Anger can be destructive, but used correctly I believe it is a useful tool to set boundaries and push back against injustice.

Take this story for instance:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn07/sn07.002.than.html
"In the same way, brahman, that with which you have insulted me, who
is not insulting; that with which you have taunted me, who is not
taunting; that with which you have berated me, who is not berating: that
I don't accept from you. It's all yours, brahman. It's all yours."Whoever returns insult to one who is insulting, returns taunts to
one who is taunting, returns a berating to one who is berating, is said
to be eating together, sharing company, with
neither eating together nor sharing your company, brahman. It's all yours. It's all yours."
Later on, the Buddha expounds on why his words aren't words of anger, but it's pretty clear that he is setting the Brahman straight. Anger is volatile and is quite destructive, but without it I doubt people would go out of their way to correct the ills in the world.

There's even wrathful deities in Tibetan Buddhism that are all about skillfull use of anger and other 'negative' qualities.


Yeah I was reading that, there's a bit of stuff about anger on the access to insight webite isn't there ?
You seem to be saying that's anger and not anger at the same time. Or that you don't think the buddha's attitude in the above segment is really useful. I don't think setting someone straight is anger. In a way the buddha story is a lucky one compared to the christian one, in that his passivity and declarations of wisdom and divinity don't lead to persecution or crucifixion. Is he ever threatened in the story of his life ? Maybe that's a perk of coming from a respected family, or having a local tradition of supported philosophers.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 2:00 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
I think his attitude in that sutta is very useful, he calmly explains what he dislikes about the Brahman's attitude to him. It's a useful manifestiation of his anger and achieves results. Obviously, if he started smacking the Brahman around then that would be an unskillfull use of anger that gets him nowhere. I don't think there's anything wrong with anger, as long it isn't manifested in an non-useful way.

However, the translator of the passage most likely disagrees with me(considering this footnote at the end):
Akkosaka thinks that the Buddha is cursing him — and thus angry — when actually the Buddha is simply stating a fact in line with the law of kamma
In my opinion, the Buddha definitely felt anger but decided to just establish boundaries and clearly signal that he does not like being treated this way.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 2:17 PM as a reply to D..
In my view, anger isnt a supernatural being that invades the mind.  It is just a biochemical reaction in response to stimuli.  Take steriods and it happens easier, take ecstasy and it is hard to get mad.  When anger arises in the nervous system, a delusional person says - "I am ANGRY!" then feels shame or something about that.  An awake person says "Anger has arisen! The sky is Blue!" . It isnt about being a good person because you dont get angry or a bad person because you do.  It is about being centered and rational and seeing that it is nonsense just like everything else. 

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 2:32 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
I know this gets tricky because awakened people often say things like "I" don't get angry, but "there is anger", or "anger arises", so the goalposts shift from the emotion to the nature of the self.

I prefer to pay attention to what people do - how they behave - as opposed to what they describe their internal narrative to be. It's cleaner and there's no guesswork involved. When anger is exhibited anger is present and affects people within the relevant sphere of influence. Emotions are an integral part of human existence and are thus, IMHO, inescapable. We can talk about how practice changes one's internal narrative, of course, but those changes should ultimately to show up as behavioral changes.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 3:06 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Who are we to judge?  I try to just see everyone as trying the best they can given the conditions and their history/biology. 

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 3:09 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I know this gets tricky because awakened people often say things like "I" don't get angry, but "there is anger", or "anger arises", so the goalposts shift from the emotion to the nature of the self.

I prefer to pay attention to what people do - how they behave - as opposed to what they describe their internal narrative to be. It's cleaner and there's no guesswork involved. When anger is exhibited anger is present and affects people within the relevant sphere of influence. Emotions are an integral part of human existence and are thus, IMHO, inescapable. We can talk about how practice changes one's internal narrative, of course, but those changes should ultimately to show up as behavioral changes.


Good points, but my concern is with expectations of following the path, the parameters of human possibility, and for buddhists those are fundamentally based around the Buddha's experience.

If he overcame anger in a profound and permanent way, and his followers can't, then there's something wrong somewhere - either with the historical story or with the followers.

Or, if he couldn't overcome anger but always held it to be a poison, and his followers think anger can be beneficial, then the followers have to explain why he is wrong.

But yeah I need to do a little scholarship I guess.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 3:38 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
... my concern is with expectations of following the path, the parameters of human possibility, and for buddhists those are fundamentally based around the Buddha's experience. 

I know that's your concern but there's simply no way to know. The Buddha lived 2,500 years ago and everything we know about that person comes from an oral tradition. I think it's better, just in terms of what's actually possible to accomplish, to measure your expectations against the people in this time that you can actually interact with, ask opinions of, or get suggestions from.

There have been some people who have, in the recent past, claimed to have eliminated their emotions (anger, for exmple) only to walk that back after some period of time. I think the goal of elminating anger is just not worth the time because it's not possible. What is possible is what multiple people on this thread have suggested - you can change the way you experience anger internally and thus chnage the way it gets expressed externally.

RE: Did Gautama Buddha get angry ?
Answer
11/29/17 3:40 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Who are we to judge?  I try to just see everyone as trying the best they can given the conditions and their history/biology. 


Who said anything about judging?