Anger is an acquired taste, like the taste for blue cheese or witchetty grubs. When you first drink at the Well of Anger, you’re not sure you like it. In fact, you don't like it at all. But you soon learn. And the deeper you drink, the quicker you learn.Many times have I been drunk on Anger. Many times have I chased that oh-so-delectable feeling of being out of control, of being authorised -- even empowered -- to transgress boundaries I wouldn't even dream of transgressing under calm and gentle circumstances. Rage is an even headier brew -- the bitter toxicity of it burns your throat as you gulp it down. Rage makes you feel... fine and hot! Then there are the bittersweet flavours of Resentment, Disappointment and Humiliation. Not to mention the more exotic delights of Despair, Jealousy, and Unrequited Lust. As for the sweeter, more wholesome dishes, I’ve tasted Joy on the odd occasion, Peace every now and then, Fulfilment once or twice. Some people are hooked on Loneliness, others addicted to Self-abasement. Speaking personally, over the years I’ve slaked my thirst at the Spring of Selfishness. And worshipped at the Shrine of Pain. Acquired tastes, all of them. And how we love ‘em. But remember this: there are things that hurt a lot more than pain -- the belief that one is alone, for instance, separate from others and from God.
The image is a detail from one of the Thangkas painted by Shawu Tsering and photographed by Jill Morley Smith, in The Tibetan Book of The Dead, Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, first published in Britain 2005, with introductory comments from the Dalai Lama. The painting depicts one of the 54 so-called "wrathful deities", in this case Karma Heruka, in union with his consort, Karma Krodeshvari.
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