When is anger useful? Anger is a painful and destructive emotion. One who follows anger can experience disastrous consequences which in extreme cases cannot be undone. The Buddha warned us that giving into anger is pleasing to one’s enemy in seven ways:

  1. An angry person has an unpleasant appearance
  2. He sleeps badly
  3. Even when he suffers a loss, he thinks, ‘I’ve gained a profit’; and even when he gains a profit, he thinks, ‘I’ve suffered a loss.'”
  4. He loses wealth due to government fines for actions taken in anger
  5. He takes actions which damage his reputation
  6. His loved ones will want to avoid him
  7. Actions taken in anger lead to rebirth in the lower realms

The only useful aspect of anger is its value as a meditation object. If we contemplate all of the ill effects of our actions and the actions of others taken in anger we can learn a great deal about how to avoid suffering.

Even more useful would be if an experience of anger becomes a catalyst for us to learn how to overcome suffering and destroy it at its root. The Buddha explained that anger is the only thing that is good to kill.

He said, “Having killed anger you sleep in ease. Having killed anger you do not grieve. The noble ones praise the slaying of anger — with its honeyed crest & poison root — for having killed it you do not grieve.”

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