27 HOW VIPASSANĀ MEDITATION DEALS WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS  OF THE ANGER CHARACTER IN ORDER TO CREATE A PEACEFUL LIFE

Thứ năm - 09/05/2019 05:15
by Julia Surya
413



 
HOW VIPASSANĀ MEDITATION DEALS WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS  OF THE ANGER CHARACTER IN ORDER TO CREATE A PEACEFUL LIFE

 
by Julia Surya*


 
ABSTRACT

There are several writings which deal with the elimination of the psychological problems associated with the anger character by practicing loving kindness meditation (mettā bhāvanā) which is a part of samatha meditation. None of them seem to really focus on how vipassanā meditation eliminates the psychological problems associated with the anger character as depicted in primary and secondary sources of Theravāda tradition. The goal of this research is to enable those who possess the anger characterto manage their psychological problems and attain a fair degree of self-awareness based on the practice of vipassanā meditation in order to create a peaceful life.

The final investigations of this research found that as an emotion, intellectual analysis is needed to eliminate anger. Intellectual analysis will lead to understanding. An intellectual tool for understanding is wisdom (pñā). The development of wisdom is the chief task of vipassanā meditation. In attempting


*Doctor, Lecturer, Smaratungga Buddhist College
Member of research and development Division of Sangha Agung, Indonesia
 


to break mindfulness’ down through vipassanā meditation into a simple and comprehensible construct, there are three components of mindfulness through vipassanā meditation: i) in a particular way or attitude (A) (mindfulness qualities); ii) on purpose or intention (I); and iii) paying attention or attention (A).

Attitude is physical restraint (sīla). In order to obtain physical restraint, one can practice contemplation of body (kāyānupassana). The intention is self-exploration which is related to samādhi as samādhi is self-collected. In order to do self-exploration, one can check oneself through the practice of contemplation on feeling (vedanānupassana) and mind (cittānupassana) and attention is the internal factor for the arising of wisdom and awareness (pñā) and it can be done through the practice of contemplation on Dhamma (Dhammānupassana). This fourfold contemplation seems to stand independently, however in fact, they are interconnected and should be practiced simultaneously.

BACKGROUND

Anger is part of life no less than memory, happiness, and compassion. No one chooses to be angry. People of all ages, backgrounds and cultures experience anger because anger is a fundamental and universal human emotion common to everyones experience. It stems from the human instinct for self-preservation and is psychological and cognitive in nature. No one is exempt from experiencing the emotion of anger and it can sometimes be problematic. Millions of human beings needlessly suffer from anger each and every day of their lives.

Anger is a painful emotion essentially characterized by the tendency to destroy or to break down opposition (Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, Vol. I. 1991:47). Therefore, anger is considered as an unhealthy mainspring of human motivation and can be considered a psychological problem (vyāpatti) ( J. iii.238-46, v.209-27; M.i.36, 40; Dhs.84, 190; Vibh.362) in which determines the actual immoral quality of volitional state and a conscious thought with its mental factors. The one who is consumed by anger with a propensity to irritability and ill-will is considered as the one who possesses character of anger henceforth referred to as the
 


anger character(dosa-carita) (Baddevithana, 2009:92). The one who possesses the anger character simply expresses his/her anger through speech and deeds.

TheonewhopossessestheangercharacteraccordingtoBuddhism, is suffering from a psychological problem (vyāpatti) ( J.v.209-27; M.i.36; 42-4; Dhs.84, 190; Vibh.362). Western psychology also agrees with this understanding. Therefore, it is in keeping with the spirit of Buddhism to develop a system of psychotherapy to relieve the suffering of those who are psychologically unwell. The aim of the system of Buddhist psychotherapy is not to make those who are psychologically unwell free from defilements (kilesa) in order to make them “arahant, but its aim is rather to make them capable of managing their defilements (kilesa), being energetic, sensible and possess a fair degree of self-awareness to create a peaceful life.

The Buddha was once asked by a novice monk (sāmaṇera) what he could do to eliminate his anger. The Buddhas reply was:

Study within yourself the things that cause anger to arise and that cause anger to subside(Levine, 2000:167).

What this means is that, Buddhist psychotherapy  deals with human consciousness and that human consciousness is of prime concern in Buddhism. Buddhism is concerned with the perfectibility of man which it maintains is possible only through an upgrading of ones consciousness (Nissanka, 2009:6). Therefore, the elimination of anger is possible through the up-grading of ones own consciousness by means of mind culture (bhāvanā) (Dhs.183- 84), (for which the term meditation is often used) as advocated in the Dhammasāgani.

In Buddhism, there are two types of meditation, samatha meditation and vipassanā meditation (D.iii.213, 273; M.i.494; S.iv.360; A.i.61, 95). Samatha meditation is the development of concentration and vipassanā meditation is the development of insight (A.i.61; Narada, 1989:46). According to Venerable Paravahera Vajirañāa Mahāthero, the achievement of high levels of concentration is the result attained by mental discipline through samatha meditation which acts upon the surface level of consciousness and cannot of itself cope with the residual defilements
 


(kilesa) of the mind, nor can it dispel ignorance and uproot the cause of the miseries of existence (Vajirañāa, 2008:341). Samatha meditation only gives rise to calm and not insight (Dhs. 16; Mahasi, 1991:36). Therefore, in order to eliminate anger by upgrading ones consciousness, vipassanā meditation is the form of meditation that could be practiced. The openness and awareness that unfolds through the practice of vipassanā meditation allows one to be more careful, intentional and precise about ones emotions and behavior (S.i.162, 221-23).

Moreover, the journals Anger and aggression, an Essay on Emotion, Springer Series in Social Psychology (Averill, 1982:30) and Anger-Related Disorder: a Practitioners Guide to Comparative Treatments, Springer Series on Comparative Treatments for Psychological Disorders (Feindler, 2006:1-28), based on Western psychology approaches, said that ones consciousness plays the most important role in creating feelings of anger. Therefore the cultivation of ones own consciousness must be considered as the first step to eliminate psychological problems of the anger character.

ANGER ACCORDING TO THE BUDDHIST POINT OF VIEW

Anger, in the gha Sutta of the Saṃyuttanikāya, is described as poisonous at the roots and sweet at the tips of taking revenge (S.i.88- 9). It crushes evil people like a mountain avalanche (S.i.426-27). It is one of the unhealthy characteristics (Vism.79, 81; A.ii.71) and can be considered a psychological problem ( J.v.209-227; M.i.36; 42-44) which determines the actual immoral quality of volitional states and is a conscious thought with its mental factors. In the Anangaṇa Sutta of the Majjhimanikāya, anger is also considered a blemish and it is a term used to describe the spheres of evil unwholesome wishes (M.i.27).

The English rendering of the Vibhaṅgas definition of anger is as follows:

Therein what is anger? He has done me harm, is doing me harm, will do me harm, thus vexation arises; he has done harm, is doing harm, will do harm to one I dear and pleasant to me, thus vexation arises; he has done good, is doing good, will do good to one not dear and not pleasant to me, thus vexation arises; he is doing good,
 


will do good, thus vexation arises or vexation arises unreasonably. That is which is similar, vexation (āghāta), resentment (paighāta), repugnance (paigha), hostility (paivirodha), irritation (kopa), exasperation (pakopa), indignation (sampakopa), anger (dosa), antipathy (padosa), abhorrence (sampadosa), mental disorder (cittassavyāpatti),detestation(manopadosa),anger(kodha),fuming (kujjhunā), warth (kujjhitatta), anger (dosa), hating (dussanā), hatred (dussitatta), getting upset (vyāpajjanā), derangement (vyāpajjhitatta), opposition (virodha), churlishness (caṇḍikka), abruptness (asuropo), absence of delight of consciousness (anattamanatā cittassa). This is called anger” (Vibh.362; Dhs.204).

On the other hand, anger is paraphrased in the Dhammasaṅgani, the first book of the Abhidhamma Piaka, terminology as a temper disorder (vyāpatti), getting upset (vyāpajjanā), a feeling of disgust (anattamanatā) (Dhs.84) and the switching from a normal state to an abrupt reaction of rage (DhsA.258). It is a vexation (āghāta) at the thought of harm done to oneself or to someone dear or good done to a person disliked. This would lead to resentment (paighāta) and repugnance (paigha), the latter being more a passive state of sense-reaction (Zeyst, 1979: 665).

Moreover, in the Ahasālinī, it is said that anger (dosa) means a desire to harm others (hate). It is just opposite to loving kindness (mettā). It may have a gentle appearance but is destructive towards others. Therefore, it is defined as paravināsacintā(DhsA.149, 314).

Anger is undesirable, painful and profitless. The Visuddhimagga, states:

By being angry with other, you may or may not make him suffer, but you are indeed suffering now.And: “By getting angry, you are like a man who wants to hit another and picks up a burning ember or excrement and had so first burned yourself or made yourself stink” (Vism.300-302; Visuddhācāra, 2007:29).

Anger is a vindictive attitude where the angered one is unable to accept the three situations that may give way to anger and which inflicts suffering on the three situations which are; sentient beings, ones personal frustrations and the situation from which these
 


failures arise.

The EOB defines the term anger as the repulsion felt in opposition to all selfish tendencies. In the conflict between self and non-self which is always based on delusion (moha), as the self ” is unreal and unsubstantial, there are two tendencies at work; one of attraction which grasps at whatever may strengthen this self- delusion which is greed (lobha) and one of repulsion which rejects whatever may weaken or attack this self-delusion, which is anger (dosa) (Zeyst, 1976:625).

Buddhist teachings recognize anger as one of the three great destructive fires along with greed and delusion as the crucial sources of human suffering (S.i.71; Dhs.180). The book ‘Jatakamala: Stories from the Buddhas Previous Births’ mentions that the fire of anger heats up an individual mind. The one who cannot calm it, is held to be of little worth. This ones reputation fades like the moonlight at dawn (Bankart, 2003:175). These fires generate intense social and emotional isolation which is the ultimate source of an angry ones distress and plunges the person into a world of shadows and illusion. Ones emotional affliction is rooted in an alienating preoccupation with a selfish desire that derives from an unenlightened understanding of the self and the world. The challenge for the therapist is to help the angry one find the wisdom to awaken from the ignorant delusion and realize that selfish desires can never be finally satisfied, any obstacle entirely eradicated and suffering permanently eliminated — in particular by the application of force.

CAUSES OF THE ANGER CHARACTER

The anger character is related to emotion of anger. This research found that Buddhism recognizes anger in a human being since childhood. An infant who has no idea of persons’ also has anger towards persons arise in him because of an underlying tendency to repulsion is latent in him (M.ii.24). This latent tendency is an underlying dissatisfaction which has a function as a motivation to give rise to anger when an unpleasant object (can be living beings and inanimate things) is perceived. When anger arises because of perceiving an unpleasant object, it causes frustration and makes
 



 
one unable to realize the true nature of psychological and physical phenomena which binds one to  existence.  If  unable  to  manage this frustration and always getting frustrated whenever perceiving unpleasant objects, it will become habitual anger, when this habitual anger is developed, it becomes anger character.
 

Underlying Tendency






 
 

 
 
Frustation                                      Habitual

 
 
Anger
Anger Character
 


 
 
Unpleasent Object



How the underlying tendency to repulsion creates anger character



PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF THE ANGER CHARACTER

The primary cause of the anger character is not detachment but attachment which happens due to delusion. One who possess the anger character is unable to understand good and bad. Anger distorts and confuses ones mind so that one fails to fulfil ones duties, and what really should be done is neglected to ones own detriment and that of those one loves or works for. The mental distortion brought on by the anger character, causes  the further arising of various psychological problems. There are about thirty seven psychological problems caused by the anger character mentioned in the Pāi literature, i.e.:


 
1.  Asuropa
(abruptness)
14. Dussanā
(persecution)
27. Makkha
(disparaging)
2. Anattamanatā
(disgust)

15. Dussitatta (guilty)
28. Manopadosa
(detestation)

3. Āghāta (vexation)

16. Domanassa (distress)
29. Macchariya
(avarice)
 

 

4. Issā (envy)

17. Dosa (anger)
30. Virodha
(brutality)
5. Upaghāta
(annoyance)

18. Pakopa (exasperation)
31. Vyāpajjanā
(getting upset)

6. Upanāha (enmity)

19. Paṭigha (repugnance)
32. Vyāpajjitatta
(derangement)
7. Upāyāsa
(tribulation)
20. Paṭighāta
(resentment)
33. Vyāpatti (mental disorder)

8. Usūyā (jealousy)

21. Paṭivirodha (hostility)
34. Vyārosanā (anger (in bodily verbal action))

9. Kopa (irritation)

22. Padosa (antipathy)
35. Sampakopa
(indignation)
10. Kodha (getting
angry)

23. Parilāha (fret)
36. Sampadosa
(abhorrence)

11. Kujjhanā (fuming)

24. Palāsa (malice)

37. Soka (grief)

12. Kujjhitatta (wrath)
25. Parideva
(lamentation)
 
13. Caṇḍika
(churlishness)
26. Byāpāda/ vyāpāda
(ill-will)
 


HOW VIPASSANĀ MEDITATION DEALS WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF THE ANGER CHARACTER IN ORDER TO CREATE A PEACEFUL LIFE

The psychological problems of the anger character are mostly related to the emotion of anger. As an emotion, intellectual analysis is needed in order to eliminate anger. Intellectual analysis will lead to understanding. An intellectual tool for understanding is wisdom (pñā). Wisdom (pñā) is catharsis of perception and the mind by understanding the nature of the process. The development of wisdom is the chief task of vipassanā meditation.The openness and awareness that unfold through the practice of vipassanā meditation allows one to be more mindful, careful, intentional, and precise about ones emotions and behavior.
 


In attempt to break mindfulness down through vipassanā meditation into a simple and comprehensible construct, the researcher reflected on the core components of the practice and the essential building blocks of mindfulness after which literature on this topic was examined. An often cited definition of mindfulness is in the present moment and non-judgmentally, on purpose, paying attention in a particular way, embodies the three components of mindfulness through vipassanā meditation:
In a particular way” or attitude (A) (mindfulness qualities). On purpose” or intention (I); and
Paying attention” or attention (A);


 
 
These three components are fundamental building blocks out of which other things emerge. From an understanding of attitude, intention, and attention (AIA), one can deduce how mindfulness through vipassanā meditation might work. Attitude, intention, and attention are not separate processes or stages—they are interwoven aspects of a single cyclic process and occurs simultaneously (See Fig. 6.3). Mindfulness is this moment-to-moment process.












Fig. 6.3. A Model of Mindfulness.

The attitudinal foundations  of mindfulness determines the quality of intention. The intention is a necessary condition to the attainment of higher wisdom. With intentional training, one becomes increasingly able to take interest in each experience as it arises and also allows what is being experienced to pass away (i.e., not be held on to). Paying attention involves observing the operations of ones moment-to-moment experiences. These three components allows one to change and develop with deepening
 


practice, awareness, and insight. Once the awareness and insight are developed, there is no chance for anger to arise within oneself. These three components are related to threefold training (ti-sikkhā), namely: physical restraint (sīla), intent state of mind (samādhi), and wisdom and awareness (pñā). How vipassanā meditation eliminates psychological problems of the anger character is shown by the following figure.




Fig. Vipassanā meditation techniques for elimination of psychological problems of the anger character to create a peaceful life

Here, attitude is physical restraint (sīla). Physical restraint (Sīla) have to be perfected first and it can be done by practicing contemplation of body (kāyānupassanā). The sole intention of vipassanā meditation practice is that achieving an intent state of mind (samādhi). In order to achieve the intent state of mind, one should check oneself through the practice of contemplation on feeling (vedanānupassanā) and mind (cittānupassanā). Only after that, one could give attention to understand the nature of the process of the mind, ones character and mind will be capable of and relevant for reaching wisdom and awareness (pñā) by practicing contemplation on Dhamma (Dhammānupassanā). This fourfold contemplation seems to stand independently, however, in fact, they are interconnected and should be practiced simultaneously.

Kāyānupassanā, vedanānupassanā, cittānupassanā and Dhammānupassanā are the four in one because all parts whether kāya, vedanā, citta and Dhammas will be condition to concern one another every moment. It is just different focus of meditator but all are the factor of each other. For instance, when one is angry, one
 


practices mindful to focus the contemplating on breathing (which is one of the kāyānupasanā), one observes the process of in-and- out breathinggoes on at every moment, one can know how to the process of in-and-out breathingreally is, such as it is long and short. Because of that we can observe how to vedanā really is, how to anger feeling is, by seeing it as in the present. At the same time one can focus how to mind really is, as it is a hating mind as hating (sadosa). And then  one  can  contemplate  how  to  the  condition of anger, its arising, existing and passing away. This practice is Dhammānupassanā. At the end of the investigation, one can be sure that one has lost the momentum of that anger and therefore, has regained control over his or her otherwise unruly emotions. By practicing this fourfold contemplation simultaneously, anger will lose its power. Once the anger fades away, psychological problems of the anger character will also fade away. This is one of the great methods by which one escapes being overcome by anger and live a peaceful life.

CONCLUSION

Vipassanā meditation is the practice of becoming more introspective. Vipassanā meditation is a technique of self- observation, truth observation and self-exploration. It is a process of awakening ones mind and thereby achieving automatic self-control. The practice of vipassanā meditation is to become more aware of physical changes, feelings and thoughts. It is directed at all aspects of ones inner experiences. Therefore, by practicing self-control, it is very helpful for one to eliminate psychological problems that arise due to the presence of the anger character within oneself.

Therefore, vipassanā meditation is very helpful to eliminate psychological problems that arise due to anger. An uncontrollable anger character is in fact a disease of the mind that leads to psychological problems and problematic behavior. Awareness through practicing vipassanā meditation is the remedy. If anger is confronted with awareness, then anger disappears. The openness and awareness that unfolds through the practice of vipassanā meditation allows one to be more careful, intentional and precise about ones emotions and behavior. As a result, one will be able to
 


live a peaceful life.
Bibliography

Aguttara Nikāya Vol. I. (1961). Richard Morris (ed.). London: PTS.

………………….Vol.    II.   (1976).   Richard   Morris   (ed.). London: PTS.
Dhammasagai. (1978). Edward Muller (ed.). London: PTS.

Dhammasagai  Ahakathā.  (1976).  Edward  Muller  (ed.). London: PTS.
Dīgha Nikāya Vol. III. (1976). J. Estlin Carpenter (ed.). London: PTS.
Jātaka Vol. III. (1963). V. Fausboll (ed.). London: PTS.
…………………Vol. V. (1963). V. Fausboll (ed.). London: PTS.
Majjhima Nikāya Vol. I. (1977). V. Trenckner (ed.). London: PTS.
…………………Vol. III. (1979). V. Trenckner (ed.). London: PTS.
Sayutta Nikāya Vol. I. (1973). Leon Feer (ed.). London: PTS.
…………………. Vol. IV. (1990). Leon Feer (ed.). Oxford: PTS. Vibhaga. (1978). Mrs. T.W. Rhis Davids (ed.). London: PTS. Visudhimagga. (1975). T.W. Rhis Davids (ed.). London: PTS. Baddevithana,   A.   D.   (2009).   Path   to   Perfect   Happiness:
Buddhist Psychology of Personality Development. Colombo: Sadeepa
Publishing House.

Levine, M. (2000). The Positive Psychology of Buddhism and Yoga: Path to a Mature Happiness with a Special Application to Handling Anger. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publisher.

Mahasi. (1991). Fundamental of Vipassanā Meditation. Myanmar: Buddhasāsanāhuggaha   Organization.

Narada. (1989). A Manual of Abhidhamma. Singapore: Singapore Buddhist Meditation Centre.
Nissanka, H.S.S. (2009). Buddhist Psychotherapy. Sri Lanka: BCC. Vajirāa, P. (2008). Buddhist Meditation in Theory and Practice.
 


Sri Lanka: Godage International Publishers.

Visuddhācāra, Bhikkhu. (2007). Curbing Anger Spreading Love. Sri Lanka: BPS.

Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, Vol. I. (1991). James Mark Baldwin (ed.). London: Macmillan and Co., Limited.

Zeyst, H.G.A. Van. (1979). Dosa. In Jotika Dhrasekera & W.G. Weeraratne (ed.), the EOB Vol IV, Sri Lanka: the Government of Sri Lanka.
………………… Anger. (1961). In G.P. Malalasekera (ed.),
the EOB, Vol. I. Sri Lanka: The Government of Sri Lanka.

Averill, R, James. (1982). Anger and aggression, an essay on emotion, Springer Series in Social Psychology. New York: Springer- Verlag New York Inc.

Bankart, C. P. (2006). Treating Anger with Wisdom and Compassion: A Buddhist Approach. (E. L. Feindler, Ed.) Anger- Related Disorders, A Practitioners Guide to Comparative Treatments, 231-255.

Feindler, Eva, L (2006). Anger-related disorder: a practitioners guide to comparative treatments. Springer Series on Comparative Treatments for Psychological Disorders. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

 

Tổng số điểm của bài viết là: 0 trong 0 đánh giá

Click để đánh giá bài viết

Những tin mới hơn

Những tin cũ hơn

Bạn đã không sử dụng Site, Bấm vào đây để duy trì trạng thái đăng nhập. Thời gian chờ: 60 giây