angry asian buddhist

Several years ago I did a poetry reading in SF, and one of the readers noted with some disgust that Buddhists are all peaceniks who can’t let themselves be angry. This pissed me off. It’s a stereotype, OK? It conflates Buddhists with new-agey types, and some so-called Buddhists who think they have to be nice-nice all the time. In regards to emotions: a healthy Buddhist practice is NOT about repressing anger, sadness, lust, or any emotion or feeling. It is about not getting hooked into your emotions and thoughts to the point that your reactions harm others; it is about being aware of and experiencing your emotions and thoughts — but it’s NOT about repressing them.* There’s nothing wrong with expressing anger when necessary and appropriate. Being Buddhist does not condemn you to a life of passive navel-gazing. Being Buddhist does not prevent you from engaging in political action.

Arun also has some interesting things to say about being angry, asian, and buddhist.

I’m mentioning this now because I’m thinking of writing more about Buddhist poetry.

*Note: Arun (Angry Asian Buddhist) mentions that anger has been considered a “defilement” in Buddhism. To some extent this is true, but it is largely because of the reactions it engenders; in actual practice one does not repress the feeling.

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