Tara: Working with Anger Wisely



…if anger arises in the mind in response to an outside event, it’s helpful to look for either the saddening or frightening aspect of that event and then take whatever measures we can to address the sadness or the fear.  Knowing that negativity or aversion is a transitional energy never means to ignore it.  It means to see it clearly, always, and work with it wisely.                                             Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia’s words remind us to work with whatever arises in the mind with equanimity and clear seeing.  Equanimity is necessary for clear seeing.  We need to be able to calm ourselves enough to look at our agitation without judgment or attachment.  Then we can see beneath the anger to our fear or loss.  Compassion naturally arises for ourselves, the other and our situation when we see vulnerability beneath our tendency to defend and fight.

In the Tibetan tradition, Tara, the goddess of compassion, also helps us see that all states are ultimately pure, even our anger.  The wrathful image of her above*, shows her working skillfully with powerful emotion to cut through to truth.  Nothing in human experience is rejected or labeled “bad.”  In fact, this statue symbolically represents the value of the right use of wrath in certain circumstances.  Imagine a mother protecting her child from an assailant.  Or the feelings that arise that clue us into a terrible injustice.  How we work with anger defines our humanity and our effectiveness.  Think Nelson Mandala or Mother Teresa.

In Nonviolent Communication all feelings are valued as indicators to learning more about ourselves.  What we label as “difficult emotions” help us discover the basic need for happiness and our urgent desire to have it met.  Mindfulness practices help us slow down, learn to settle our mind and set the stage for insight. Nonviolent communication skills help us learn more about ourselves and others and work with difference mindfully and with words.

*This statue is one of 21 depictions of Tara in the temple at the Tara Mandala Retreat Center in Pagosa Springs.


Book image

Please see www.thefemalebuddha.com for more on Guanyin and Tara a goddesses of compassion.


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