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The Buddha compared anger to a hot coal grasped to throw at an opponent. Keep hold of it, you harm only yourself.

And that's true, but to keep with that metaphor, I hate feeling that I always have to drop the coal. I tend to think of this as "dropping it is what a good person would do," and that doesn't really fit Buddhist thinking. What sounds more "Buddhist" to me is "figure out something else to do with the coal such that I feel like I've accomplished something, when I can't throw the coal and I don't feel satisfied with dropping it."

Historically I've tended to dismiss the idea of art as "something to do with my anger" because when I'm drawing, I'm usually happy! And I tend to avoid using art as a way to process stuff that upsets me - like I really hate political cartoons for the most part, I hate the idea of making the complex way that people come to beliefs, even compassionate or hateful ones, into literal cartoon all-or-nothing thinking.

But, maybe there's a way I can see my significant anger and sadness as powering my artwork, even when it isn't a literal "I make art to express my rage."

Thoughts?

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brushwolf

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