We say, “Afflictions are Bodhi.” Some people ask, "Does this mean that without afflictions there is no Bodhi?" No. Affliction itself is Bodhi. How come? Well, if you don’t generate afflictions, then afflictions are Bodhi. If you breed afflictions all the time, then affliction is affliction and Bodhi is Bodhi. Don’t get this wrong.
Don’t lose your temper at anyone. If you reach the state of having no temper, not only externally but also internally, then you are truly without hostility. If you are angry inside but don’t dare to show it, this is also considered losing your temper. If you occasionally lose your temper in some small and harmless way, that’s alright. However, if you make excuses about having big fits of temper, that’s wrong.
If you reach a state where you truly have no afflictions, no ignorance, no idle thoughts, and no desires, it would be forgivable to have a little temper. Of course the best thing would be to have no temper at all, and get along harmoniously and amiably with people.
Cultivators should use virtue to teach and transform people, not oppress them with force. Cultivators should be reasonable with everyone. Let people be sincerely convinced, let them respect and admire your ability, virtue, knowledge, and compassion. Otherwise, if you fall for fame and fortune, you’ll be a million miles away from Buddhahood. You should be very careful with this.
What is the Way that those who renounce the householder’s life cultivate? The Way of patience. Whoever loses his temper is opposing the Way and will never have a response with the Way. Losing your temper is disgraceful. It’s an obstacle to the Way. I hope all of you will be cautious and never make this mistake.
Renouncing the householder’s life in order to cultivate without understanding the basic questions is like cooking sand in hopes of getting rice. No matter how long you cook it, sand will never become rice. If you didn’t have the fire of ignorance, your desires would cease. You have desires because you have this fiery energy. You feel this is wrong and that isn’t right, and as a result there are many more problems. So in order to be free of their troubles, cultivators must cut off afflictions.
A talk given on July 25, 1983 at
the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas