Robert A.F. Thurman
Oxford University Press
Reviewed by: Connell Depatie
The book Anger, written by Robert Thurman, belongs to a series of books individually written by different authors about the “Seven Deadly Sins” and the different ways to conquer them. This particular book tells the reader what anger really is, with a western definition followed by an eastern definition, and goes on to tell the reader several steps through which one could learn to conquer it. The first chapter consists of an initial definition of anger in two different ways- as a “Deadly Sin” (Christian and Islamic definition), and as an addiction or a poison in the Buddhist definition. It tells the reader that it is one of the three “root poisons”, along with greed and delusion, which cause the inability to achieve enlightenment and leave samsara, or the endless cycle of life that is the core belief of both the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism. The author then poses a philosophical question to the reader, asking whether anger is an inevitable part of life or if it can be confronted and overcome, leading to true happiness.
The Author continues the book educating the reader on why anger is considered a ‘deadly’ or ‘mortal’ sin. He says that it is “lethal to the soul’s life in God, fatal to our connection to the divine bliss”. Simply, this means that when we feel anger we are distancing ourselves from the virtues that God tells us to uphold, thus from God himself. Another reason that anger is seen as a sin is because it has the ability to cause even the most pious followers of religion to break religious code, such as killing, slander, and maliciousness. In this way, anger is seen not only as a sin, but also as a gateway to other sins. The author continues to say that without overcoming anger, achieving enlightenment is impossible, thus achieving true happiness is extremely difficult. We are then asked the question: what...