Taming the Tiger Within


Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions

Thich Nhat Hanh

ISBN 1-59448-134-2

Amazon link

Taming the Tiger Within is a book of statements or thoughts mainly based on dealing with the big two of difficult emotions: fear and anger.

It is divided into these two sections:

Part 1 From Anger to Compassion

  1. Recognition
  2. Care of Anger
  3. Mindfulness of Others

Part 2 No Birth, No Death: From Fear to Love

  1. Fear and Time
  2. Finding Refuge, Knowing Freedom
  3. The Love That Springs From Insight

This book is a collection of single page thoughts designed to help someone in choosing to use the energy of anger in a more positive way.

1) Recognition “If you get angry easily, it may be because the seed of anger in you has been watered frequently over many years, and unfortunately you have allowed it or even encouraged it to be watered.”

2) Care of Anger “When the mother embraces her baby, her energy penetrates him and soothes him. This is exactly what you have to learn to do when anger begins to surface. You have to abandon everything that you are doing, because your most important task is to go back to yourself and take care of your baby, your anger. Nothing is more urgent than taking good care of your baby.” “Every time you feel lost, alienated, or cut off from life, or from the world, every time you feel despair, anger, or instability, practice going home. Mindful breathing is the vehicle that you use to go back to your true home.”

3) Mindfulness of Others “If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist. If you run after the person you suspect has burned your house, your house will burn down while you are chasing him or her. That is not the action of a wise person. You must go back and put out the fire. When you are angry, if you continue to interact with or argue with the other person, if you try to punish him or her, you are acting exactly like someone who runs after the arsonist while their home goes up in flames.” “Compassion is a beautiful flower born of understanding. When you get angry with someone, practice breathing in and out mindfully. Look deeply into the situation to see the true nature of your own and the other person’s suffering, and you will be liberated.”

4) Fear and Time “We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow. We worry about tomorrow because we are afraid. If we are afraid all the time, we cannot appreciate that we are alive and can be happy now.”

5) Finding Refuge, Knowing Freedom “To meditate means to be invited on a journey of looking deeply in order to touch our true nature and to recognize that nothing is lost.”

6) The Love That Springs from Insight “Allow yourself to be a torch, and allow the flame of your touch to be transmitted to other torches. Practicing like that, you can help peace and joy grow in the entire world.”

Some excerpts from the book:

“If you get angry easily, it may be because the seed of anger in you has been watered frequently over many years, and unfortunately you have allowed it or even encouraged it to be watered.”

“If you see elements of garbage in you, such as fear, despair, and hatred, don’t panic. As a good organic gardener, a good practitioner, you can face this: I recognize that there is garbage in me. I am going to transform this garbage into nourishing compost that can make love reappear.” ”

“When we embrace anger and take good care of our anger, we obtain relief. We can look deeply into it and gain new insights. One of the first insights may be that the seed of anger in us has grown too big, and is the main cause of our misery. As we begin to see the reality, we realize that the other person, whom our anger is directed at, is only a secondary cause. The other person is not the real cause of our anger.”

“If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist. If you run after the person you suspect has burned your house, your house will burn down while you are chasing him or her. That is no the action of a wise person. You must go back and put out the fire. When you are angry, if you continue to interact with or argue with the other person, if you try to punish him or her, you are acting exactly like someone who runs after the arsonist while their home goes up in flames.”

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