Psychological Self-Help

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pain, not the person who may seem to us to have caused us to be unhappy. In some
situations the person involved in our feeling pain may actually be helping us by
giving us an important chance to practice patience, to understand how we send out
negative karma, to gain virtue by controlling our anger, and so on. Instead of feeling
jealousy and envy, we should feel joy when others are successful or feel happy. We
can praise them, “offer them the victory,” and genuinely try to help them. Buddha
said that becoming elated when praised and angry when criticized was the behavior
of “the childish.” 
Buddha devoted himself to loving all sentient (feeling) beings and gave his life for
many ordinary people; we too should respect and be a servant for all living beings.
Avoiding retaliating when someone hurts us is a commendable form of patience. By
being understanding and patient with others we become more enlightened--less self-
centered, more self-controlled, more compassionate with others, and better prepared
for whatever the future holds. If you would like to learn more about Geshe Kelsang
anger, go to (http://www.kadampa.org).
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s book reads a lot like a modern Cognitive Psychology self-
help book. Yet, Gyatso takes his wisdom from a long line of Buddhist Masters and
wise men, especially Shantideva. You might wonder what great Buddhist Teachers
had to say about frustration and anger a thousand or more years ago? Actually, we
have a wonderful opportunity to compare ancient thoughts with modern
psychological notions because the highly respected Indian pandit Shantideva (called
the God of Peace) wrote a lot about anger and patience in his Guide to the
Bodhisattvas Way of Life. This guide has been preserved and is considered by many
Buddhists to be the best set of instructions ever written to become a fully
enlightened human. There are several Websites that describe Shantideva’s history
and thinking about anger in simple, clear words:
(
).
I think you will also be impressed and well served by Geshe Tashi Tsering’s edition of
coping with anger (http://www.jamyang.co.uk/DealingwithAnger.html). Their
examples (provided by both Gyatso and Tsering) are very good and will increase
your understanding of the profound insights that were in large measure provided by
Shantideva, the Indian yoga, and other Buddhist teachers well over a thousand years
ago. These ancient wise men could converse easily with leading psychologists today
and not feel behind at all. I hope humankind does a lot better controlling our temper
and accepting frustrating experiences in the next 1000 years. But hope isn’t enough.
We need hard-nosed, no non-sense, practical outcome research.
More cognitive methods described in this book
Quietly and calmly reading this book as adults, it may be hard to imagine
how some teenagers get into fights, sometimes lots of fights. Susan Opotow
of Columbia University says that almost all of the 40 seventh graders she
studied in a New York City minority school had no idea how to handle their
anger except to emotionally "retreat inward" or "explode outward," i.e. fight.
Only 2 out of 40 said they would "verbally express their feelings of anger."
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