As a Buddhist, how come I find myself getting more impatient and angry easily during day to day life?

Venerable Ru Ju shares his experience on how practitioners in Buddhism can find themselves getting more impatient (or even more prone to getting angry) during day to day life.

I find myself in this situation too. And I found it frustrating because I knew the pitfall of getting angry and yet, there I was, unable to control myself. I blamed it on myself not getting the benefit of my studies.

After listening to Venerable’s discourse, I found relief that this phenomenon can be quite expected. It is also part of our practice to address it and overcome it eventually.

In this Lamrim Discussion, Master Ri-Chang and Master Zhen-Ru brings up a fault that I readily admit I have. The habit of using what I have learnt to judge other people rather than using it for self-reflection and countering my afflictions.

那麼說:好、好、好!那既然要修行啊要多了解、多聞,結果多聞的話呢,說「廣聞不善於修要」,聽了很多道理以後,他又在文字上面去摸索去了,不善巧這個修行,這是一種。還有一個毛病哪,他聽了很多以後啊,他自己不修還這專門管別人閒事。這個事情的的確確很容易,因為我們的眾生的常態。平常我們哪,這個任何一個人,因為無始以來我的習氣在,所以看自己不大容易,看別人很容易。那麼世間的人來說,他那個標準本來世間的標準,大家都馬馬虎虎。現在你修學佛法了以後,了解那個標準提高了,結果你提得很高那個標準,拿那個標準去照別人的話,那害了!像個照妖鏡一樣,這一看哪!世間所有的人都是妖魔鬼怪,沒有一個像樣的,只有一個人沒看見——自己!就是這樣,這個是非常嚴重的事情!

Listen to more of Master Zhen-Ru’s discussion here:

Master Zhen Ru gives more advice on how to turn the 照妖鏡 on ourselves without getting discouraged when we see our faults.
In fact, we should be happy to see our faults as it means that we are seeing opportunities to change and improve.

For your listening pleasure (in Chinese):

I want to take to heart this passage from Master Zhen Ru’s latest discourse:

師父說這個照妖鏡啊,這樣照下去,大家可以考慮一下結論會怎樣呢?因為用這樣一個標準去看所有的人,就會發現世界上所有的人都是不如法的,會怎樣呢?如果沒有調伏心續的能力就會生氣嘛!可能產生很多負面的情緒、負面的心態,可能還覺得自己身處在一個非常可怕的地方,因為沒有看到別人的善,沒有看到別人的功德。而這個時候會不會覺得自己非常了不起,好像是洞悉了很多事情根本的那個人,好像自己已經了達了,甚至已經悟到了很多東西、已經生起了證悟力的樣子,然後隨便地批評別人、評判別人。

A reminder that if we continue to use this 照妖鏡 mirror for judging everyone else but ourselves, the consequences are dreadful. We will be angry and filled with negative emotions. We will be prideful and conceited in the belief that we have have attained some enlightenment.

What should we do then to get rid of this habit of using this mirror to judge others?
Master Zhen Ru advises:

要怎麼樣把這個照妖鏡廢掉,拿這個鏡子來攬鏡自顧呢?這是一個非常重要的、自己要修練的獨門武功。這個是不能說我修的給你、你修的給他,必須自己練。每一拳、每一拳要自己練,每一腳、每一腳都要自己練,像練武功一樣。「冬練三九,夏練三伏」,就是熱天也要練、雨天也要練、雪天也要練,要練功夫的!練什麼呀?拿這個法的標準來衡量自己,來看自己。因為無始劫來就喜歡照別人,照別人照明白了,我們一直看別人,別人也沒有因為我們這樣看別人過失而得到解脫呀!而往往卻產生種種的是是非非,然後造惡業、糾纏在一起。所以拿這個法來照自己的話,就不會發生這樣的事情。拿戒律來律己,每個人都律己,大家就相安無事了,也不會湊在一起東家長、李家短,一直在說別人。自己有多少事情都沒有看、多少毛病沒有修改,哪有時間天天去講是是非非,講別人的過失啊?對不對?

Listen to the full text here:

Venerable Ru De answers a question:

夫妻學佛後卻容易挑對方毛病?如何相處比較好?
After a couple learns Buddhism, it is easy to pick each other’s faults? How to get along better?

I pick up pointers like:

  • understand the purpose of why one is learning Buddhism & Dharma
  • use Dharma to self reflect rather than as benchmark for criticising others
  • make clear the distinction between the Dharma and the behaviour of a person speaking the Dharma. They are two different matters.
  • follow Buddha’s example in obtaining Dharma to make progress in one’s practice

:pray:

Venerable Ru De has an interesting (and entertaining) dialogue on how to handle anger using multiple contemplation approaches:

I picked up a few points:

  • we can reject the “present” of anger that someone gives to us
  • mindfulness of death can let us see that the anger is trivial in comparison
  • the benefits of not getting angry (and accepting the suffering, 忍辱度). In this manner, the other party that I am getting angry at is giving me a chance to practise.
  • the other party that is angering me is not in control also; thus there is no reason to get angry
  • we should target the affliction of anger rather than getting angry at any person. The affliction is the real cause so we should target it.

I appreciate Venerable’s humor while providing his discourse. I am always looking forward to his next session :slight_smile: