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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Anger and Mindfulness

Resuming my practice of featuring a quote on the 1st day of the month from my wall calendar of sayings of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace campaigner Thich Nhat Hanh, here is the quotation for September 2015:

"Our practice is based on the insight of nonduality -anger is not an enemy. Both mindfulness and anger are ourselves. The energy of anger is recognized and embraced tenderly by the energy of mindfulness." - Thich Nhat Hanh

What does this mean? Well, I think that part of what is being said here is that both anger and mindfulness are part of us and part of the world. The approach advocated by Thich Nhat Hanh is not to try to suppress or to get rid of 'negative' emotions such as anger but to observe and acknowledge them in a mindful way. A quote from another of his books perhaps sheds some light on this:

 "Beginning meditators usually think they must suppress all thoughts and feelings (often called 'false mind') ... True mind and false mind are one. Denying one is denying the other ... The only thing we can do is to let the sunlight of 'awareness' shine on our 'self' and en-lighten it, so we can look at it directly." [from The Sun My Heart, Chapter One]

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