Question: Since I started diligent Nianfo practice (of sincere mindfulness of the name of Amitabha Buddha – ‘Amituofo’) some time ago, I have no more hatred of those who harmed me in the past. However, there is still tendency to have anger towards some new people, who are presently unkind. After having negative reactions, I feel regretful and start to Nianfo to calm down, but it is ‘too late’.
Answer: It is never too late to do the right thing. In future, physically freeze (i.e. do not react by speaking or gesturing), or walk away first, to Nianfo till the anger dissolves, so as to not respond with anger; only with calm compassion and clear wisdom. The more you do this faster, the faster will the anger dissipate.
It might be easier to forgive those who did wrong in the past as the anger had more time to be reflected upon and let go off, while new incidents might catch you unaware, which is why there was response with latent habitual anger.
With even more sincere Nianfo practice in everyday life, which further aligns you to your Buddha-nature with Amituofo, which includes his joyful light of blessings, with this joy being the opposite of anger, it will be harder and harder to be angry – even in new situations.
Q: However, with some others, I can handle the issues effectively. Are the more ‘troublesome’ ones my karma creditors? I always dedicate merits to them, including all sentient beings (deceased and alive) after Nianfo practice.
A: Anyone who gets on your nerves in ways little or great functions like a karmic creditor. As you are the one who incurred the debt, you should be mindful not to add on to the debt by being angry.
Yes, it is good to dedicate merits to all, including those who get on your nerves – because it is a practice of compassion, that helps to counter and dissolve angry grudges. Not only will your attitude to them change, with more merits, those who condition you to be angry will do it less too, as those lacking merits tend to be unhappy, thus spilling their unhappiness to condition others’ suffering.