Many of you have probably seen a quote by Buddha about anger, that goes something like “When you are angry, it’s like drinking poison and hoping the other person will get sick.” So true, yet so hard to follow.
Last week, during my weekly meditation and dharma teaching session, Sunim mentioned the three poisons that exist in Buddhism and are the cause of all suffering. They are anger, greed and ignorance.
As the website Buddhism Teacher puts it, many of us are apt to be dominated by one of the poisons. Even when one dominates the other two are always lying dormant, like dry seeds that can sprout whenever nourished.
Anger – one tends to be depressed or obsessed over political views, real or imagined enemies, or any of life’s negative realities.
Greed is manifested by stinginess, lack of compassion, hoarding or self-indulgence. One tends to be attached to material things, thinking that more is better and that getting things will bring happiness.
Ignorance is present when we are not realizing our potential for true happiness, which is our true nature, our Buddha nature. Ignorance causes insecurity and a feeling of weakness, powerlessness and apathy.
Greed’s companions are desire and lust, and these passions and attachments cause us to want to “get hold of” things, and to have more and more of them. Anger’s friends are hatred, animosity and aversion, which cause us to reject what displeases us or infringes upon our ego. Ignorance, which is “not knowing,” especially not knowing our true nature, paves the way for delusion or in our believing something that is false.
Although the Buddhist path has been extremely hard to follow, it has greatly nourished my spirit and has changed my outlook on life.
Yet, when I evaluate how I measure up when it comes to anger, greed and ignorance, I am terrified… Continue reading