Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Story on the Danger of Anger

The Fence
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the boy had driven six nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say 'I'm sorry', the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one."
Anger is indeed a serious mental defilement that can bring grave consequences to oneself, to others and to our environment.
* Anger arises through an unskillful mental reaction to a happening outside or a thought within us. The mental reaction can lead to unskillful verbal or bodily actions with negative effects.
* Anger is best checked and eradicated through the following:
1. A true understanding of Dhamma, the way things are in Samsara. When Right View is established, the defilement of anger gradually weakens.
2. Mindfulness. Training of the mind to watch the mind ... the mental states that arise and fall. This noting on a neutral non-judgemental and 'non-thinking' basis will gradually uproot the defilement of anger ... born out of a habit and conditioning over lives. Mindful noting is essential to check the unskillful mental reaction.
3. Practice of Metta Bhavana or the Meditation on Loving-Kindness.
With Metta,
Bro. Oh Teik Bin

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