A reader writes:
I have been living in China for three years now. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and Non-denominational Religions and do not believe in the whole deity being god thing. Not that I do not believe in the concept of a divine creator but something is out there. So I am in China and visit the temples, take photos and stuff and have become interested in the philosophy. Am I correct that Buddha is not a God? Buddhism is a philosophy?
I have read a few web pages and see this may be a way to help me curb my anger issues; my anger manifests as frustration. Why frustration? Because I am trying to find out information and others do not understand or I do not understand. So why the anger? Because I did not step back to figure out with Understanding or Enlightenment. I did not know what the real issue was to start with, that it was me not understanding all the variables of communication, others not understanding, and so on. So am I on the right path of choices to understanding to go forward?
There are a couple of different questions here. First, Buddha is no god, just a very smart/wise man who lived around 2,500 years ago. He came up with a few very simple, yet profound ideas that some call a philosophy, and others do, in fact, treat as a very elaborate religion. You can go either way with it. Read more about Buddha and these ideas here on the site, or download the 60+ episodes of the podcast and start from the beginning. (There’s also a book, which I’m trying very hard not to mention in every single post, but it’s called “The Five-Minute Buddhist” written by me and is available at the link above).
It sounds like you’ve given the second part of your question a great deal of thought. Yes, anger does often come from frustration, and frustration can come from miscommunication, inability to express oneself, and simply not knowing things you are expected to know by their society. After living in Japan for a time, I know well how frustrating it can be.
Meditation can help with anger issues, regardless of the cause. Also, as you say, simply understanding the root causes of the frustration can help. You know now that the anger comes from not understanding, and the best way to resolve that anger is by learning. Realizing how much you don’t know, and making positive strides to learn can make all the difference. To answer your final question, yes, it sounds like you are indeed on the right path now.