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Friday, January 8, 2010

Zen: Mastering your Temper

A Zen student came to Bankei and said, "Master, I have an ungovernable temper. How can I cure it?" "Show me this temper," said Bankei, "it sounds fascinating."

"I haven't got it right now," said the student, "so I can't show it to you." "Well then," said Bankei, "bring it to me when you have it."

"But I can't bring... it just when I happen to have it," protested the student. "It arises unexpectedly, and I would surely lose it before I got it to you."
"In that case," said Bankei, "it cannot be part of your true nature. If it were, you could show it to me at any time.

When you were born you did not have it--so it must have come to you from the outside. I suggest that whenever it gets into you, you beat yourself with a stick until the temper can't stand it and runs away."

Even while anger is happening, if you suddenly become conscious, it drops. Try it! Just in the middle, when you are very hot and would like to murder--suddenly become AWARE, and you will feel something has changed: a gear inside, you can feel the click, your inner being has relaxed.

It may take time for your outer layer to relax, but the inner being has already relaxed. The cooperation has broken...now you are not identified. The body will take a little time to cool down, but deep at the center everything is cool.
Awareness is needed, not condemnation--and through awareness transformation happens spontaneously.

If you become aware of your anger, understanding penetrates. Just watching, with no judgment, not saying good, not saying bad, just watching in your inner sky. There is lightning, anger, you feel hot, the whole nervous system shaking and quaking, and you feel a tremor all over the body--a beautiful moment, because when energy functions you can watch it easily; when it is not functioning you cannot watch.

Close your eyes and meditate on it. DON´T FIGHT, just look at what is happening--the whole sky filled with electricity, so much lightning, so much beauty--just lie down on the ground and look at the sky and watch. Then do the same inside. Somebody has insulted you, somebody has laughed at you, somebody has said this or that... many clouds, dark clouds in the inner sky and much lightning. WATCH!

It is a beautiful scene--terrible also, because you don't understand. It is mysterious, and if mystery is not understood it becomes terrible, you are afraid of it. And whenever a mystery is understood, it becomes a grace, a gift, because now you have the keys--and with keys you are the master.


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