Don’t be Angry at the Imperfections of Others

The Bodhisattva learns that to be angry at the imperfections of others is, in the words of Shantideva, like resenting fire for its heat or resenting the sky for having clouds. S/he understands that the actions of other people are like forces of nature that arise from causes and conditions that are enormously complex.

Rebecca McClen Novick, Fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism

I don’t know about you, but for me, I’ve struggled with being angry at others throughout my life. For various reasons.

The simple fact of the matter is, it’s usually much easier to blame someone else.

“I couldn’t finish this project because he didn’t get me the information I needed!”

“Man, that guy came out of nowhere and now I’ve been in an accident!”

“You didn’t tell me I needed to do that!”

“Nobody explained this to me!”

The excuses are endless. And it’s a total cop-out. But I’m getting a little off-topic here.

What struck me most about the quote from this book is that it makes little sense to be angry or disappointed when someone doesn’t measure up to my “expectations.”

First off, they are just that — my expectations. It’s the thought I have in my head of how someone should be or perform. However, that doesn’t mean that the person has the same notion. In fact, they may have a very different idea of how they should be or perform.

Plainly put, it’s downright goofy for me to judge someone against the idea I have about how they should act. It is human nature to be imperfect, just like it is the nature of fire to give off heat, and it is the nature of the sky to hold the clouds.

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