'Thich Nhat Hanh is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity' Martin Luther King, Jr, in Nobel Peace Prize nomination
It was under the bodhi tree in India 2500 years ago that Buddha achieved the insight that three states of mind were the source of all our unhappiness: ignorance, obsessive desire and anger. All are equally difficult to control but, in one instant of anger, lives can be ruined, and our spiritual development can be destroyed. Twenty-five centuries after the Buddha's insight, medical science tells us that the Buddha was right: anger can also ruin our health. It is one of the most powerful emotions and one of the most difficult to change. Thich Nhat Hanh offers a fresh perspective on taking care of our anger as we would take care of a baby crying - picking it up, talking quietly to it, probing for what is making the baby cry. Laced with stories and techniques, Anger offers a wise and loving look at transforming this difficult emotion into peace and for bringing harmony and healing to all the areas and relationships in our lives that have been affected by anger.
In an age of road rage, Americans would do well to cool down with prolific Buddhist monk Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ). There is plenty in this small volume worth skipping, such as Hanh's tedious call for "Healing the Wounded Child Within." And some of his advice is banal (e.g., if a husband is angry at his wife, he should tell her). But some of Hanh's suggestions cut refreshingly against the grain. He dissents, for example, from the popular therapeutic wisdom to "express our anger": when we beat a pillow to get rid of our feelings, he insists we are merely "rehearsing" our anger, not "reducing" it. Hanh reminds us that anger begins and ends with ourselves we may feel that we are mad at our wife or son, but really we are the direct objects of our rage. Hanh doesn't limit his task to discussing anger between families and friends; he also deals with anger among countries and between citizens and governments. That expansive vision is not surprising (Hanh, after all, is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee) but it is refreshing, lifting this book out of the self-absorbed self-help pile. Like Hanh's other books, this is not weighed down with Buddhist terminology. The appendices, which contain meditations designed to help release anger, give it the specifically Buddhist spice that some readers will appreciate. The meat of the book, however, will be accessible to a broad, ecumenical audience.