There is a great book of quotes compiled from Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings called Taming the Tiger Within. I just want to note the marked pages in this book before I return it to the library, so here is a string of quotations from this book about anger, each worthy of its own contemplation.

Anger has roots in nonanger elements. It has roots in the way we live our daily life. If we take good care of everything in us, without discrimination, we prevent our negative energies from dominating. We reduce the strength of our negative seeds so that they won’t overwhelm us.

Before we can make deep changes in our lives, we have to look into our diet, our way of consuming. We have to live in such a way that we stop consuming the things that poison us and intoxicate us. Then, we will have the strength to allow the best in us to arise, and we will no longer be victims of anger, of frustration.

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.”

The Buddha never advised us to suppress our anger. He taught us to go back to ourselves and take good care of it.

Anger is like a howling baby, suffering and crying. Your anger is your baby. The baby needs his mother to embrace him. You are the mother. Embrace your baby.

Mindfulness means to be present, to be aware of what is going on. This energy is very crucial for the practice. The energy of mindfulness is like a big brother or big sister, holding a young one in her arms, taking good care of the suffering child, which is our anger, despair, or jealousy.

When we embrace anger and take good care of our anger, we obtain relief. We can look deeply into it and gain many 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 this 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.

People who use venting techniques like hitting a pillow or shouting are actually rehearsing anger. When someone is angry and vents their anger by hitting a pillow, they are learning a dangerous habit. They are training in aggression. Instead, a wise practitioner generates the energy of mindfulness and embraces her anger every time it manifests.

Inside every one of us is a garden, and every practitioner has to go back to their garden and take care of it. Maybe in the past, you left it untended for a long time. You should know exactly what is going on in your own garden, and try to put everything in order. Restore the beauty; restore the harmony in your garden. If it is well tended, many people will enjoy your garden.

The energy of mindfulness contains the energy of concentration as well as the energy of insight. Concentration helps you to focus on just one thing. With concentration, the energy of looking becomes more powerful. Because of that, it can make a breakthrough that is insight. Insight always has the power of liberating you. If mindfulness is there, and you know how to keep mindfulness alive, concentration will be there, too. And if you know how to keep concentration alive, insight will come also. So mindfulness recognizes, embraces, and relives. Mindfulness helps us look deeply in order to gain insight. Insight is the liberating factor. It is what frees us and allows transformation to happen. This is the practice of taking care of anger.

In taking good care of yourself, you take good care of your beloved one. Self-love is the foundation for your capacity to love the other person. If you don’t take good care of yourself, if you are not happy, if you are not peaceful, you cannot make the other person happy. You cannot help the other person; you cannot love. Your capacity for loving another person depends entirely on your capacity for loving yourself, for taking care of yourself.

When you get angry with someone, please don’t pretend that you are not angry. Don’t pretend that you don’t suffer. If the other person is dear to you, then you have to confess that you are angry, and that you suffer. Tell him or her in a calm, loving way.

When you get angry with the other person, you have the tendency to say, “Don’t touch me! I don’t need you. I can manage very well without you!” But you have made the commitment to take good care of each other.

When we hate someone, and are angry at her, it is because we do not understand her or the circumstances she comes from. By practicing deep looking, we realize that if we grew up like her, in her set of circumstances and in her environment, we would be just like her. That kind of understanding removes your anger, and suddenly that person is no longer your enemy. Then you can love her. As long as she remains an enemy, love is impossible.