This article is featured in Tricycle Teachings: Anger. Sustaining and supporting members can download the e-book for free here.
“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.
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. Spousal abuse, child abuse, and drive-by shootings result from the inability of people to control their emotions. 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 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.
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