The thing that I like about the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist teachers taking questions from everyday people is that you get such a wide variety of queries that most people can relate to. Sometimes you read an interview of the Dalai Lama or other teacher where deep, philosophical questions are put forth from some journalist or documentary director.
At times, they are so in-depth and esoteric that I don't even understand what's being asked!! I do like deep, philosophical questions and dialogues from time to time but sometimes it's like drinking to quench my thirst from a fire hose. So, it's with joy that I present one of ten questions for the Dalai Lama from average folks who don't feel the need to show off how profound they are with their question:
Do you ever feel angry or outraged? —Kantesh Guttal, PUNE, INDIAJames: I really like how direct yet disarming he is with his answers. He gets right to the point and doesn't feel the need to go into a dissertation all the time as some spiritual teachers can, which is why I think he is so popular with every day people. He knows how to speak to his audience, and to each question. So, one day he can be speaking very simply and the next very in-depth. This shows to me just how much he is in tune with the present moment and the energy and essence of each person. Again, I don't mind in-depth discussions but I also like a teacher who is well-rounded to be able to speak with average people too. That is a common trait I think with those who are awakened, as Buddha was known to be able to teach differently to whomever came before him. He understand that because of different karma, not everyone learned the same way. And so it is with the Dalai Lama as well. To read his other questions from the Time magazine article, click on this sentence.
Oh, yes, of course. I'm a human being. Generally speaking, if a human being never shows anger, then I think something's wrong. He's not right in the brain. [Laughs.]
UPDATE: My friend Markus wrote the following on Facebook in reply to my posting the above question regarding anger. I thought it would be a good addition to the post, "Marvellous, thank you! Sometimes certain Buddhists seem to think that feeling angry or outraged is non-Buddhist and it would be better to stay Holy and Pure all the time. "Look at me, I'm a Buddhist, I'm always smiling and singing Kumbayah!"
To which I replied:
@Markus. I agree. Yes, if we Buddhists were supposed to be "enlightened" just for being a "Buddhist" then why are we still living in samsara? Simply being Buddhist doesn't mean you don't get upset anymore about things. From my studies and contemplations I've found that It's about understanding your anger. Why are you angry? Contemplate and meditate upon it regularly. Embrace it in meditation with a compassionate mind of understanding. Don't heap on the guilt as that's just more anger--directed at you).
Doing this allows us to see what makes us angry. Thus, what to avoid in the future to reduce it in the future but pretending to not be angry isn't any healthier than spewing that anger about. So, rather than somehow being perfect and ignoring your anger, it's about how to LIVE with that anger. That living directly with anger is through the Buddhist teaching of mindfulness. When we are mindful of what set-off our anger we can better prepare for the next time, so that we over-time increase our abilities to react differently. However, to somehow expect to magically make your anger disappear for good is perhaps falling prey to another of the three poisons, delusion.
It's also not about ending pleasure from our lives as some Buddhists believe. I don't believe it's about living a sterile and sanitized life. It's fine to enjoy pleasure--otherwise we'd be nihilists, which we know Buddha advised against. No, the way I see it, pleasure is fine but the problem to guard against is becoming ATTACHED to that pleasure to where you suffer deeply without it. According to the teachers I've read and listen to--that's the essence of what Buddha meant when discussing "desire."
If we were to avoid ALL desire then don't we have to stop being Buddhist? Because at some level we Buddhists WANT to be Buddhists to end all the suffering in our lives. Isn't that very desire to end suffering, "non-Buddhist" if we are to follow the logic and admonitions of the Buddhists who say we shouldn't desire anything or enjoy pleasure?
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