Angry—Bhikkhu Sujato

Numbered Discourses 7

6. The Undeclared Points

64. Angry

“Mendicants, these seven things that please and assist an enemy happen to an angry woman or man. What seven? Firstly, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they’d become ugly!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have a beautiful enemy. An angry person, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, is ugly, even though they’re nicely bathed and anointed, with hair and beard dressed, and wearing white clothes. This is the first thing that pleases and assists an enemy which happens to an angry woman or man.

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they’d sleep badly!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy who sleeps well. An angry person, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, sleeps badly, even though they sleep on a couch spread with woolen covers—shag-piled, pure white, or embroidered with flowers—and spread with a fine deer hide, with a canopy above and red pillows at both ends. This is the second thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they don’t get all they need!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy who gets all they need. When an angry person, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, gets what they don’t need they think ‘I’ve got what I need!’ When they get what they need they think ‘I’ve got what I don’t need.’ When an angry person get these things that are the exact opposite of what they need, it’s for their lasting harm and suffering This is the third thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they weren’t wealthy!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy who is wealthy. When a person is angry, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, the rulers seize the legitimate wealth they’ve earned by their efforts, built up with their own hands, gathered by the sweat of their brow. This is the fourth thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they weren’t famous!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have a famous enemy. When a person is angry, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, any fame they have acquired by diligence falls to dust. This is the fifth thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they had no friends!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy with friends. When a person is angry, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, their friends and colleagues, relatives and kin avoid them from afar. This is the sixth thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only, when their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy who goes to a good place. When a person is angry, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, they do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.” This is the seventh thing that pleases and assists an enemy which happens to an angry woman or man.

These are the seven things that please and assist an enemy which happen to an angry woman or man.”

“An angry person is ugly
and they sleep badly.
When they get what they need,
they take it to be what they don’t need.

An angry person
kills with body or speech;
overcome with anger,
they lose their wealth.

Mad with anger,
they fall into disgrace.
Relatives, friends, and loved ones
avoid an angry person.

Anger creates harm;
anger upsets the mind.
That person doesn’t recognize
the danger that arises within.

An angry person doesn’t know the good.
An angry person doesn’t see the truth.
When a person is beset by anger,
only blind darkness is left.

An angry person destroys with ease
what was hard to build.
Afterwards, when the anger is spent,
they’re tormented as if burnt by fire.

Their look betrays their sulkiness
like a fire’s smoky plume.
And when their anger flares up,
they make others angry.

They have no conscience or prudence,
nor any respectful speech.
One overcome by anger
has no island refuge anywhere.

The deeds that torment a man
are far from those that are good.
I’ll explain them now;
listen to this, for it is the truth.

An angry person slays their father;
their mother, too, they slay.
An angry person slays a saint;
a normal person, too, they slay.

A man is raised by his mother,
who shows him the world.
But an angry ordinary person slays
even that good woman who gave him life.

Like oneself, all sentient beings
hold themselves most dear.
But angry people kill themselves all kinds of ways,
distraught for many reasons.

Some kill themselves with swords,
some, distraught, take poison.
Some hang themselves with rope,
or fling themselves down a mountain gorge.

When they commit deeds of destroying life
and killing themselves,
they don’t realize what they do,
for anger leads them to ruin.

The snare of death in the form of anger
lies hidden in the heart.
You should cut it out by self-control,
by wisdom, energy, and right ideas.

An astute person should eradicate
this unskillful thing.
And they’d train in the teaching in just the same way,
not yielding to sulkiness.

Free of anger, with no more despair,
free of greed, with no more longing,
tamed, having given up anger,
they become extinguished without defilements.”