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Excerpted from Sit Down and Shut Up by Brad Warner. Copyright © 2007 by Brad Warner. Excerpted by permission of New World Library, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"What is the need we so often feel to prove to everyone around us that we are right and they are wrong?"

  Brad Warner,
Sit Down and Shut Up, Part 4

If you're serious about transcending anger, you have to be prepared to give up everything. I'm afraid most people, including those who say they're Buddhists, are not at all serious about doing this. We've invented a million clever methods of building up our egos while pretending to tear them down.

When you get angry, you need to ask yourself where anger comes from. Not just your anger right now, about whatever it is that might be pissing you off, but anger itself. What is it? Can you really say it's caused by whatever it was that set you off? Did that idiot who cut you off on the freeway -- or whatever -- really produce your anger? Or is the real cause of anger something deeper? What is the need we so often feel to prove to everyone around us that we are right and they are wrong? Why is it important to us that others agree with what we believe? Where does that desire come from? Why do we do that? Does that help? Or does that just begin a chain reaction that will inevitably lead to more anger?

Watching the recent debates surrounding the war in Iraq -- war being the ultimate expression of human anger -- I began to notice that neither the warmongers nor the peaceniks had the slightest clue about what the real situation was. None of them has the courage to look deeply into themselves, to find the source of war itself -- which is ultimately the same as the source of anger -- and to rip it right out of their guts. Because that is more difficult than marching with picket signs or firing guns and dropping bombs. 

It's far more repulsive to us to really face up to who and what we actually are than it is to face the prospect of fires and bombs and blood and misery. We would gladly choose war any day of the week over that. Quite literally. You can get all self-righteous and pretend that there's a big difference between the anger you feel at some warmongering politician or general and the anger those guys feel toward whomever they've labeled as "the Enemy" this week. But is there? You need to find out. You really, really do.

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