To Forbear a Moment’s Anger

“To bear disgrace and insult” is the most important virtue a person can possibly cultivate, because the ability to forbear is enormously powerful, since a moment of anger can destroy an entire lifetime of merits.

By restraining our emotions, we have a better chance of avoiding confrontation and gaining control of the situation at hand. Otherwise, our minds will be clouded and our judgment impaired. We must understand that in forbearance, we have an opportunity for greater achievement, because if we cannot forbear in small matters, how can we be destined for great undertakings?

In today’s society, people often mistake forbearance for cowardice. Therefore, the inability or unwillingness to forbear anger has become a source of social and family violence. All too often we have seen a simple quarrel turn into a major gunfight, or a plain argument into a regrettable tragedy. Spousal abuse, child abuse, and drive-by shootings result from the inability of people to control their emotions. If people can withhold their anger for even a moment and let their emotions settle, they would reap unimaginable benefits. If people could see the merit in forbearance, tragedy and personal losses would be minimized. Therefore, if we want to have peace and order in our lives, reason must prevail over negative emotions.

What does it mean to forbear? It is not very difficult for most of us to endure a moment of hunger or thirst. It is not very hard for most of us to bear the heat of summer or the cold of winter. However, it is very difficult for most of us to forbear anger. Even great men and women of history have succumbed to such a fate. By losing control of their emotions, many lost their ability to perceive things clearly and made irreversible mistakes that changed the course of history and profoundly impacted the lives of many generations. Therefore, the decision to forbear or not to forbear is a determining factor in one’s ultimate success or failure. If we wish to be successful in our undertakings, we must learn to hold back our emotions and be as thoughtful as possible in our actions and reactions.

To forbear is indeed an act of courage and not a symbol of cowardice. It takes great effort and resolution to endure pain and hardship. It requires tremendous confidence to bear insult and disgrace without a hint of retaliation or self-doubt.

In today’s society, our willingness to tolerate and accept those who are different from us will not only promote social harmony, it will also help to prevent needless tragedy.

In order for us to practice the virtue of forbearance, we must have strength, wisdom, and compassion. We must be willing to settle differences or disputes by means of reason and kindness. We must believe in tolerance and restraint as signs of goodness and bravery. Therefore, if we want to succeed in life and bring about a more peaceful world, we must learn to control our emotions and not to be affected by a moment of anger.

This article was originally published in All in a Thought, written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun.

Image from Pixabay.

More Featured Articles

True stature is not created by form or ornament; words spoken out of jealousy and greed oppose it. Only when evil has been stopped at its roots, and when there is wisdom without anger is there true stature.— Dharmapadavadana Sutra The False Stature of This WorldEveryone wants to be well Read more
Trustworthy WordsIf you lie, you will not be trusted. If you cannot be trusted, you will be ineffective in your own life and useless to other people. Lies hurt others because they damage their trust and their sense of what is right and wrong. This is a very serious kind Read more
Though sitting meditation was given to us from the ancient past it is a way for modern people to lead happy lives. Sitting meditation allows us to dispel the pressures of daily life that come from the mind’s confusion and a mistaken understanding of phenomena. Practicing sitting meditation quiets the Read more
To "commit" is to give assurance to others and to make a conscientious effort to deliver a promise. To instill credibility and trustworthiness, we must honor our words. Confucius once said, "One without credibility is like a large vehicle without a brake pedal, or a small carriage without axles. How Read more
It is only through loving-kindness and compassion that we can find room in our hearts to forgive others. It is only through our willingness to let go of resentment that we can find a way to magnanimity.  Read more
I once copied out a sutra in blood by pricking myself, and once I also burned my arm as an offering. I once remained silent for a year without speaking, and once I also kept my eyes closed for three months without seeing. Later on, I would occasionally open my Read more
Birth and death are realities of life. Regardless of who we are, we cannot escape either one. While birth is celebrated, death is feared by most. In order to cope with our fear, we often seek comfort in religion. Although each of the world's major religious traditions has its own teaching Read more
We sometimes see signs on the highway warning: “Keep a safe distance.” Actually, it is not only in driving that we need to keep a distance. For safety reasons, any person and anything in the world needs to keep a distance.Take, for instance, the human body. Our eyes, nose, and Read more
Why should people create Buddha images? Did the Buddha really want everyone to make images of him and worship his body?In truth, the purpose of creating the Buddha images is not to create symbols for worship. Buddha images are reminders that “the mind is the Buddha,” and that everyone has Read more
It seemed that I had to do every­thing for Buddhism. For Buddhism, I have to only set the tone and not be­come the master, hand over my physi­cal body to the temple and give my life to the Dharma protectors, heav­enly beings and nagas, and making the aspiration to head Read more
Being patient is an art, and being persistent is a kind of hope. Influenced by today’s instant culture, modern people tend to expect instant results in anything they do. Practitioners want to have attainment in this life, scholars want to become instant laureates in their fields, and entrepreneurs want to Read more
Technological progress and advances in modern science have led to material improvements that have enhanced the quality of people’s lives on many levels. Yet, no matter how much we have progressed or how advanced our technology is, there still remain fundamental problems in life that science will never be able Read more