Cover image for Anger : the seven deadly sins
Anger : the seven deadly sins
Thurman, Robert A. F.
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Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Oxford University Press, [2005]

Physical Description:
xii, 135 pages ; 19 cm
The momentous present -- Resigning to anger, a brief survey -- What is anger? -- Resigning from anger, the Western way -- Resigning from anger, the Buddhist way -- The yoga of anger transcendence -- Tolerant patience -- Insightful patience -- Forgiving patience -- Redeeming anger, the ultimate level.
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BQ4430.A53 T489 2005 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Heated words, cool malice, deadly feuds, the furious rush of adrenaline-anger is clearly the most destructive of the seven deadly sins. It can ruin families, wreck one's health, destroy peace of mind and, at its worst, lead to murder, genocide, and war. In Anger, Robert A. F. Thurman, best-selling author and one of America's leading authorities on Buddhism and Eastern philosophy, offers an illuminating look at this deadliest of sins. In the West, Thurman points out, anger is seen as an inevitable part of life, an evil to be borne, not overcome.There is the tradition of the wrathful God, of Jesus driving the money-changers from the temple. If God can be angry, how can men rid themselves of this destructive emotion? Thurman shows that Eastern philosophy sees anger differently. Certainly, it is a dreadful evil, one of the "three poisons"that underlie all human suffering. But Buddhism teaches that anger can be overcome. Indeed, the defeat of anger is not only possible, but also the only thing worth doing in a lifetime. Thurman shows how to recognize the destructiveness of anger and understand its workings, and how we can go frombeing a slave to anger to becoming "a knight of patience." We discover finally that when this deadliest emotion is transmuted by wisdom, it can become the most powerful force in freeing us from human suffering. Drawing on the time-tested wisdom of Buddhism, Robert A. F. Thurman ranges from the individual struggle with anger to global crises spurred by dogmatic ideologies, religious fanaticism, and racial prejudice. He offers a path of calm understanding in a time of terrorism and war.

Author Notes

Robert A. F. Thurman holds the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. He has studied Tibetan Buddhism for almost thirty yeas as a personal student of His Holiness the Dali Lama. President of Tibet House US, he has lectured all over the world and is a prolific translator and writer of both scholarly and popular works, including the national bestseller,Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Real Happiness.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Anger has lost status since the 1960s, when it was imperative to let it all hang out. Now Buddhist scholar-teacher Thurman sees nothing good about anger, not even--indeed, perhaps especially--when it is the motor that drives soldiers into combat. He allows, however, that anger's burning energy cannot be avoided altogether, but can we not purge anger yet retain its fire to burn away the suffering of others? In his contribution to a lecture series on the seven deadly sins, this book's source, he argues that we can, and he presents a Buddhist way of so doing. Drawing extensively on the didactic quatrains of the eighth-century Buddhist saint Shantideva, he is very persuasive, especially in the three chapters on the varieties of patience to cultivate to overcome anger. Many may wish, however, that he had refrained, in his early dismissal of Western religion, from caricaturing God in the Hebrew Bible and Jesus in the Gospels as figures of wrath, which seems to project more onto them than the texts, and Christian theology, justify. --Ray Olson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thurman, professor of Buddhist studies at Columbia University and author of Inner Revolution, contributes to Oxford's outstanding series on the seven deadly sins with this brief meditation on anger. Thurman identifies two extreme positions on the subject: on the one side are the people who believe that anger is a healthy, constructive force that can right wrongs and overturn social injustice. On the other side are those who would like to see anger be entirely eradicated, because playing with fire means we'll only get burned. Not surprisingly, Thurman draws upon Buddhist precepts to navigate a more nuanced "middle way" between those extremes. "Our goal surely is to conquer anger, but not destroy the fire it has misappropriated," he writes. "We will wield that fire with wisdom and turn it to creative ends." Thurman says at the outset that he, like many people, has a problem with anger, and that his temper (which he traces to a "paternal lineage of Southern rednecks") still flares despite decades of Buddhist practice. (Some of that character becomes apparent when Thurman rails against war, which he calls "politically organized anger.") At times, his generalizations about Western religions are unfair-such as when he says that the angriest character in the Hebrew Bible is God himself-but his Buddhist perspective makes a valuable counterpoint to the mostly Christian points of view we've seen so far in this series. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved