Anger is one expression of extreme, unrestrained emotion that must
be brought under control if one is to make spiritual progress. Anger is
a natural feeling that arises upon seeing unrighteousness, yet
uncontrolled it can cause much damage. Of the great founders of religion,
we see that Moses had anger as a weakness. He displayed it, to his own
loss, at the incident of striking the rock at Meribah. For a related
theme, see Turn the Other Cheek, pp. 1003-07.
Conquer anger by love.
Buddhism. Dhammapada 223
Anger dissolves affection.... Therefore man should subvert anger by
Jainism. Samanasuttam 135-36
The fly cannot be driven away by getting angry at it.
African Traditional Religions. Idoma Proverb (Nigeria)
The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.
Christianity. James 1.20
Anger deprives a sage of his wisdom, a prophet of his vision.
Judaism. Talmud, Pesahim 66b
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Judaism and Christianity. Proverbs 16.32
Abu Huraira reported God's Messenger as saying, "The strong man is not the
good wrestler; the strong man is only he who controls himself when he is
Islam. Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim
Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and
give no opportunity for the devil.
Christianity. Ephesians 4.26-27
When a man goes to sacrifice he must remain peaceful, without a hot heart.
He must stay thus for at least a day. If he quarrels on that day or is
hot in his heart he becomes sick and destroys the words of the lineage and
of the sacrifice.
African Traditional Religions. Luhya Saying (Kenya)
If an evil man, on hearing of what is good, comes and creates a disturb-
ance, you should hold your peace. You must not angrily upbraid him; then
he who has come to curse you will merely harm himself.
Buddhism. Sutra of Forty-two Sections 7
Brethren, if outsiders should speak against me, or against the Doctrine,
or against the Order, you should not on that account either bear malice,
or suffer resentment, or feel ill will. If you, on that account, should
feel angry and hurt, that would stand in the way of your own self-
Buddhism. Digha Nikaya i.3, Brahmajala Sutta
You have heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall not kill;
and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment." But I say to you that
everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; who-
ever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says
"You fool!" shall be liable to the hell of fire.
Christianity. Matthew 5.21-22
Why, sir, do you get angry at someone
Who is angry with you?
What are you going to gain by it?
How is he going to lose by it?
Your physical anger brings dishonor on yourself;
Your mental anger disturbs your thinking.
How can the fire in your house burn the neighbor's house
Without engulfing your own?
Hinduism. Basavanna, Vachana 248
Now there was no water for the congregation; and the people con-
tended with Moses, and said... "Why have you made us come out of Egypt, to
bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines,
or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink." Then the Lord said to
Moses, "Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your
brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water; so you
shall bring water out of the rock for them; so you shall give drink to the
congregation and their cattle."
Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the
rock, and he said to them, "Hear now, you rebels; shall we bring forth
water for you out of this rock?" And Moses lifted up his hand and struck
the rock with his rod twice; and water came forth abundantly, and the con-
gregation drank, and their cattle. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,
"Because you did not believe in me, to sanctify me before the eyes of the
people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the
land which I have given them."
Judaism and Christianity. Numbers 20.2-13
Dhammapada 223: Cf. Dhammapada 3-5, p. 999. James 1.19-20: Cf. Analects
16.7, p. 928. Idoma Proverb: Anger solves nothing. Ephesians 4.26-27:
To practice this teaching, by resolving each day's quarrels and meditating
to digest each day's resentments before going to bed each night, is a
valuable spiritual exercise. For when anger is stored up day after day,
it becomes much harder to eradicate. Sutra of Forty-two Sections 7: Cf.
Romans 12.19-20, p. 1007. Digha Nikaya i.3: Cf. Chuang Tzu 2, p. 67;
Lotus Sutra 20, p. 1006; Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life 5.48, p.
920; Itivuttaka 110, p. 740; Anguttara Nikaya v.66, pp. 724f. Matthew
5.21-22: Cf. Matthew 5.27-28, p. 931. Basavanna, Vachana 248: Cf.
Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarin 9.4, p. 993. Numbers 20.2-13: As punishment for
this mistake at the waters of Meribah, Moses would die in the wilderness
and never set foot in the promised land (Deuteronomy 32.48-52). Instead
of sanctifying God and showing forth God's blessings, Moses angrily rebuk-
ed the congregation; in his anger he struck the rock twice, when one
strike, done with dignity, would have been appropriate (Exodus 17.6-7).
Another example of Moses' anger was his act of killing the Egyptian
(Exodus 2.11-14), for which he was forced to flee Egypt and live as an
exile in Midian.