Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Stuart Miles


Many of our emotions are vestigial remnants of prehistoric biology, residue of survival-of-the-fittest responses in harsh environments. And though our external environments have radically changed, these genetic impulses remain. Anger is one such, a physical response that in ancient times helped the human species survive but now may more threaten its survival.

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Quotes (79)

“Hell has three gates: lust, anger and greed.”

Vyasa व्यास c. 3000 BCE
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

Themes: Greed Anger

68. Joining Heaven & Earth

“If only strife could die from the lives of gods and men and anger that drives the sanest man to flare in outrage—bitter gall, sweeter than dripping streams of honey, that swarms in people's chests and blinds like smoke.”

Homer 850 BCE - ? via Robert Fagles
Primogenitor of Western culture
from Iliad

Themes: Anger

“In anger we should refrain both from speech and action.”

Pythagorus 570 – 495 BCE
(of Samos)
"The most influential philosopher of all time"
from Golden Verses of Pythagoras Χρύσεα

Themes: Anger

“You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

68. Joining Heaven & Earth

“The ignorant and simple-minded burn with the fires of greed, anger and folly. Obsessed with ideas of birth, growth and destruction, they fall into the habit of grasping becoming fixated and attached.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE via Shan Dao
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth
from Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth
from Dhammapada धम्मपद

Themes: Anger Conflict

63. Easy as Hard

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”

Confucius 孔丘 551 – 479 BCE
(Kongzi, Kǒng Zǐ)
History's most influential "failure"

“If the general is not victorious over his anger and sets them swarming like ants, one third of the officers and soldiers are killed”

Sun Tzu 孙武 544 – 496 BCE via Denma Translation Group
(Sun Zi)
HIstory's supreme strategist
from Art of War 孙子兵法

Themes: Anger

“There is no old age for a man's anger, only death.”

Sophocles Σοφοκλῆς 497 – 405 BCE via Robert Fitzgerald
“The Wise and Honored One”
from Oedipus at Colonus (401 BCE)

Themes: Anger

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make angry.”

Euripides 480 – 406 BCE
Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today

Themes: Anger

63. Easy as Hard

“Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.”

Isocrates Ἰσοκράτης 436 – 338 BCE
from Advice to Nicocles

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”

Plato Πλάτων 428 – 348 BCE

Themes: Anger

16. Returning to the Root, Meditation

“Anybody can become angry—that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way—that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.”

Aristotle Ἀριστοτέλης 382 – 322 BCE
from Nicomachean Ethics

Themes: Anger

“Anger resides in the lap of fools.”

Koheleth c. 330–180 BCE
from Ecclesiastes קֹהֶלֶת‎

Themes: Anger

63. Easy as Hard

“Those who honor the Way and Virtue… are angered by nothing. They use kindness among neighbors and virtue among strangers. They conquer their enemies without fighting and command through humility.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 202 – 157 BCE
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)

68. Joining Heaven & Earth

“Hatred is settled anger.”

Cicero 106 – 43 BCE

Themes: Anger Hate

“If you kick a stone in anger, you will hurt your foot.”

Anonymous -800 to present
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from Korean Proverb

Themes: Anger

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

Anonymous -800 to present
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from Chinese proverb

Themes: Anger Patience

“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.”

Seneca ˈsɛnɪkə 4 BCE – 65 CE
(Lucius Annaeus)

Themes: Anger

“Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written: "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord."”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE

Themes: God Anger

74. The Great Executioner

“Let not the sun go down on your wrath.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE via Ephesians
from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Anger

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE via Corinthians (tr: Saint Paul)
from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Love Anger

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that conquers a city.”

Rabbinic Sages 20 – 200 CE
from Proverbs

Themes: Anger

“How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”

Marcus Aurelius 121 – 219 CE
from Meditations Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν

Themes: Anger Karma

68. Joining Heaven & Earth

“The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions, and evils, is rooted in the three poisons. Greed, anger, and delusion.”

Bodhidharma 菩提達磨 5th-6th C. CE

Themes: Anger Greed

68. Joining Heaven & Earth

“Avoid being angry at all times.”

Muhammad محمد‎; محمد‎; 570 – 632 CE
from Koran

Themes: Anger

“We hurt ourselves; our pain is self-inflicted! Why should others be the object of our anger?”

Shantideva ཞི་བ་ལྷ།།། 685 – 763 CE
(Bhusuku, Śāntideva)
from Bodhisattva Way of Life, Bodhicaryavatara

Themes: Anger Conflict

“All the good works gathered in a thousand ages such as deeds of generosity and offerings to the Blissful One, a single flash of anger shatters them.”

Shantideva ཞི་བ་ལྷ།།། 685 – 763 CE
(Bhusuku, Śāntideva)
from Bodhisattva Way of Life, Bodhicaryavatara

Themes: Anger

37. Nameless Simplicity

“When kings do not act out of happiness and anger, their punishments and rewards will not be excessive, nor will metal weapons and leather armor arise.”

Wang Zhen 809 – 859 CE via Ralph D. Sawyer
from Daodejing Lunbing Yaoyishu, The Tao of War

“Although there is no intention to hurt each other's feelings with evil words that's the likely outcome if the mind is stirred to anger.”

Gesar of Ling གེ་སར་རྒྱལ་པོ། 11th century CE via Robin Kornman
from Gesar of Ling Epic

Themes: Anger

“Joy casts down yang, anger damages yin… Tame the tiger by the tail.”

Sun Bu'er 1119 – 1182 CE via Thomas Cleary
from Secret Book on the Inner Elixir

Themes: Anger

“Conquering our own anger simultaneously conquers all enemies.”

Sakya Pandita ས་སྐྱ་པཎྜ་ཏ་ཀུན་དགའ་རྒྱལ་མཚན། 1182 – 1251 CE via John T. Davenport, Shan Dao #424
(Kunga Gyeltsen)
from Ordinary Wisdom, Sakya Legshe (Jewel Treasury of Good Advice)

Themes: Anger Enemy

“Many winds full of anger, lust and greed move rubbish around. The solid mountain of true nature however, stays where it's always been.”

Rumi مولانا جلال‌الدین محمد بلخی 1207 – 1283 CE via Shan Dao
(Rumi Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī)
from Masnavi مثنوي معنوي‎‎) "Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning”

68. Joining Heaven & Earth

“By making ourselves lower than others we can use their wisdom and power as our own. Thus we can win without taking up arms, without getting angry, and without making enemies.”

Wu Cheng 吴澄 1249 – 1333 CE via Red Pine
"Mr. Grass Hut"
from Tao-te-chen-ching-chu

“We should put our trust in nothing at all. It is because foolish people are deeply trustful that they know hatred and anger... If you put trust in neither yourself or others, you will rejoice when good comes, and when evil comes you will not grieve.”

Yoshida Kenkō 兼好 1284 – 1350 CE via Sir George Bailey Sansom
Inspiration of self-reinvention
from Essays in Idleness

“There is no passion so much transports the sincerity of judgement as does anger.”

Montaigne 1533 – 1592 CE
Grandfather of the Enlightenment

Themes: Anger

“Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.”

Elizabeth I 1533 – 1603 CE
(Gloriana, The Virgin Queen)

Themes: Anger

“No one is angry who doesn't feel themselves hurt.”

Francis Bacon 1561 – 1626 CE
from Essays (1625)

Themes: Anger

“Be angry but sin not. Don't let the sun go down upon your anger.”

Francis Bacon 1561 – 1626 CE via James Spedding
from Essays, Civil and Moral 1625

Themes: Anger

“The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree.”

William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616 CE
from Merchant of Venice

Themes: Anger

“To be angry is to revenge the faults of others on ourselves.”

Alexander Pope 1688 – 1744 CE
Second most quoted English writer

Themes: Anger

“Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Poor Richard's Almanack

“I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow

William Blake 1757 – 1827 CE via "A Poison Tree"
from Songs of Experience, 1794

Themes: Anger

“The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.”

William Blake 1757 – 1827 CE
from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Themes: Anger

“One with compassion is kind even when angry; one without compassion kills even as he smiles.”

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol ཞབས་དཀར་ཚོགས་དྲུག་རང་གྲོལ། 1781 – 1851 CE
from Flight of the Garuda

37. Nameless Simplicity

“Anger may be foolish and absurd, and one may be irritated when in the wrong; but a man never feels outraged unless in some respect he is at bottom right.”

Victor Hugo 1802 – 1885 CE
Literary pioneer, poet, and social justice provocateur
from Les Misérables (1862)

Themes: Anger

“Her anger said, as anger is apt to say, that God was with her, that all heaven, though it were crowded with spirits watching them, must be on her side.”

George Eliot 1819 – 1880 CE
(Mary Anne Evans)
Pioneering literary outsider

from Middlemarch

Themes: Anger

“Anger as soon as fed is dead
'Tis starving makes it fat.”

Emily Dickinson 1830 – 1886 CE

Themes: Anger

“When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
America’s most famous author

Themes: Anger

“When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
America’s most famous author
from Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)

Themes: Anger

“Brer Rabbit keep on axin' 'im, en de Tar-Baby, she keep on sayin' nothin', twel present'y Brer Rabbit draw back wid his fis', he did, en blip he tuck 'er side er de head. Right dar's whar he broke his merlasses jug. His fis' stuck, en he can't pull loose. De tar hilt 'im.”

Joel Chandler Harris 1848 – 1908 CE
from Legends of the old Plantation

Themes: Anger

“One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.”

Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900 CE

Themes: Anger Reason

“Civilization began the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock.”

Sigmund Freud 1856 – 1939 CE

“We should forget our anger before we lie down to sleep.”

Mahatma Gandhi 1869 – 1948 CE

Themes: Anger

“We are most likely to get angry and excited in our opposition to some idea when we ourselves are not quite certain of our own position, and are inwardly tempted to take the other side.”

Thomas Mann 1875 – 1955 CE
Deep, psychologically insightful author
from An Appeal to Reason (1930)

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow”

Rainer Maria Rilke 1875 – 1926 CE
Profound singer of universal music

Themes: Anger

“Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper.”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE

Themes: Anger

“One of man’s greatest obligations is anger.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE

Themes: Anger
“Anger is one letter short of danger.”

Eleanor Roosevelt 1884 – 1962 CE

Themes: Anger

“History sees the newborn child as the product of millions of years, during most of which he was a hunter fighting for his food and his life against beasts stronger than himself except for his use of weapons and tools. Those years formed the basic nature of our species: acquisitiveness, greed, competition, and pugnacity tending to violence.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Fallen Leaves

“Over time you learn that words spoken in moments of anger continue hurting throughout a lifetime.”

Jorge Luis Borges 1899 – 1986 CE
Literary Explorer of Labyrinthian Dreams, Mirrors, and Mythologies

Themes: Anger

“Anger, like any other thought or feeling, has no true existence—not even a definite location in your body, speech, or mind. It is just like wind roaring in empty space.”

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche དིལ་མགོ་མཁྱེན་བརྩེ། 1910 – 1991 CE via Matthieu Ricard
"Mind" incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

Themes: Anger

“Ignorance, hatred and greed are killing nature.”

Masanobu Fukuoka 福岡 正信 1913 – 2008 CE via Larry Korn
from One Straw Revolution

68. Joining Heaven & Earth

“A complaint is one form of anger, and anger—especially hidden anger—keeps the world in a mess... There's a big difference between experiencing your anger and thinking you have to put it out there and fix somebody with it.”

Charlotte Joko Beck 1917 – 2011 CE
Authentic, pioneering Western Zen master

from Ordinary Wonder

Themes: Complaint Anger

“If you have no personal history, no explanations are needed; nobody is angry or disillusioned with your acts. And above all no one pins you down with their thoughts.”

Carlos Castaneda 1925 – 1998 CE
from Journey to Ixtlan

10. The Power of Goodness

“Usually, when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”

Malcolm X الحاجّ مالك الشباز‎‎ 1925 – 1965 CE
from Malcolm X Speaks (1965)

Themes: Anger

“Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ 1926 CE –

Themes: Anger

“It is far easier to write an angry letter than to go and say angry things to another person - because as soon as we look in one another's faces we can see the other point of view.”

Colin Wilson 1931 – 2013 CE
from A Criminal History of Mankind

Themes: Anger

“Anger... it's a paralyzing emotion... you can't get anything done... — it's helpless, it's absence of control — it's not useful”

Toni Morrison 1931 – 2019 CE
(Chloe Ardelia Wofford)
Story-telling voice of American wisdom

Themes: Anger

“Desire creates love through attachment to pleasurable circumstances: love creates anger by controlling through grasping. The basis of both is ignorance which creates only darkness by confusing love with anger through grasping.”

Thinley Norbu གདུང་སྲས་ཕྲིན་ལས་ནོར་བུ 1931 – 2011 CE
(Kyabjé Dungse)
from Magic Dance (1981)

“Anger, resentment, envy, and self-pity are wasteful reactions. They greatly drain one's time. They sap energy better devoted to productive endeavors.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933 CE –
Fierce and influential voice for justice, equality, and women's rights

Themes: Anger Complaint

“I realized that if my thoughts immediately affect my body, I should be careful about what I think. Now if I get angry, I ask myself why I feel that way. If I can find the source of my anger, I can turn that negative energy into something positive.”

Yoko Ono 小野 洋子 1933 CE –
(“Ocean Child”)

Themes: Anger

“How can you stop yourself from yelling and shouting and accusing everyone of cruelty? The easy answer is that the aggressive approach simply doesn't work.”

Jane Goodall 1934 CE –

Themes: Anger

“Anger and hatred are signs of weakness, while compassion is a sure sign of strength.”

Dalai Lama XIV Tenzin Gyatso 1935 CE –

Themes: Anger Hate
“When the focus of your practice becomes like the light of the sun penetrating a magnifying glass so sharply that it makes a fire, it dissolves greed, anger, and ignorance, the three great obstacles to our original heart/mind.”

Jakusho Kwong 1935 CE –
from No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen

68. Joining Heaven & Earth

“When one realizes that our many thoughts of anger and desire… are devoid of any self-nature, everything becomes a land of gold.
Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path.”

Pema Chödrön 1936 CE –
(Deirdre Blomfield-Brown)
First American Vajrayana nun

Themes: Anger Patience

32. Uncontrived Awareness

“Dean wonders where his own anger and contempt have gone. Time's a fire extinguisher, he thinks.”

David Mitchell 1969 CE –
from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Patience Anger

“the self-imposed punishment that anger inflicts — When we act out of anger, we punish others and ourselves. Our equanimity evaporates. Our hearts shut down. The capacity to give and receive love freezes on the spot.”

Mingyur Rinpoche 1975 CE –
Modern-day Mahasiddha

from In Love with the World

“Don't let your sadness turn into anger, or your loneliness into hate. Channel what you feel into something good. Find ways to help people.”

Deepak Malhotra 1978
"Professor of the Year"

from Peacemaker's Code

Themes: Anger

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