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Additional Antidotes to the Disturbing Attitudes

The Process that Transforms Disturbing Attitudes and Negative Emotions



Recognize the disturbing attitude when it arises and apply the antidote--a transformative attitude or practice!


Applying the antidote is a temporary turning away from the reactive pattern and is like medicine to help you gain perspective.

Completely turning away from disturbing attitudes requires understanding emptiness (that all experiences evolve due to causes and are not the way that they appear, and that WE give meaning to every experience that we have.).


What is the flavor in the mind when a disturbing attitude arises?

What is the happiness you predict by getting the object?

What are the things or objects that I am prone to be triggered by? 

How can I avoid or come to peace with those objects?

When a disturbing attitude arises separate from the feeling by stopping and acknowledging it, then apply the antidote.


Antidotes to Attachment


Think of the disadvantages of attachment:

an obstacle to concentration

causes emotional turmoil

the main cause of staying in sufferings of earth

attachment breeds dissatisfaction and is the thief of happiness

Think of the advantages of abandoning attachment:

 avoiding all the disadvantages.


Think of the disadvantages of cyclic existence:

 realize attachment is part of how we suffer in existence on earth--have compassion for yourself and others


Meditate on the death and impermanence of the object: Remembering death helps us reprioritize, with objects of attachment ending up much lower on the list. You can’t take the object of attachment with you, but it affects your karma (mental and emotional habits).

the emptiness of the object of attachment (it won't permanently bring us happiness).

the unsatisfactory quality of cyclic existence

if the object of attachment will make us happy:  Play an attachment feature movie in your mind to its conclusion.  Ask even if I get the object, what happiness will it bring?  Will the happiness be lasting?



that the object will not help us at the time of death.

the unpleasant or unsatisfactory aspects of the object. Take a realistic look at its qualities

how attachment to the object affects our ethical discipline: Think how we turn others into 2-dimensional objects, or how we treat them as chess pieces, moving them around to get what we want


Examine or dismantle the object to find its attractiveness.  Remember that the object does not contain the happiness you anticipate.

Offer the object of attachment to the Three Jewels (holy beings).

Contemplate the negative karma (mental and emotional habits that are formed) associated with getting the object.

Be mindful of how attachment makes us feel:  tight and controlling.

Ask, “If I don’t get it, what resources internally and externally do I have to cope?

Offer the object of attachment to Holy beings


Antidotes to Anger


Think of disadvantages of anger:

            destroys our positive habits of mind

            transgresses vows of right action

            stops realizations (insights and deep understandings about life, yourself, and others)

            creates negative karma (habits of mind)

            stay in old patterns that create suffering on earth (the inner and outer "wars" that are created)      

destroys relationships with self and others

causes birth or growing of emotional hells--depression, low self-esteem, rage, and violence toward self and others


Think of the advantages of abandoning anger:

              value of rejoicing,

              happy mind


Meditate on:

emptiness (wisdom that understands how all things really exist)


            kindness of others

            impermanence (everything constantly changes)

            you are not your anger

            compassion and loving-kindness          

thought transformation verses (see other meditations)



that all beings just want to be happy and avoid suffering

the teachings on self-cherishing and self-grasping

how anger disturbs concentration and our inner peace



it is only a mental factor and will pass

do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?

that it doesn’t benefit me or the other person

this is arising as a result of karma (cause and effect)

this is the nature of suffering that is created on earth

these are exaggerated negative views

my enemies could be enlightened and teaching me—gratitude for their presence in my life


Ask if there is something I can do about it, why be angry? And if there is nothing I can do about the situation, why be angry?”

See the anger as ripening karma (past actions now are bringing results) and rejoice! You have an opportunity to learn and grow.

See the suffering of the other person and develop compassion (be able to understand why they are acting the way they are)

Deconstruct anger, the situation, and the the object

Don’t get defensive—nothing to defend anyway

Generate patience and generosity

Be grateful to enemy (they are helping you learn patience and tolerance)


 Antidotes to Pride/Arrogance/Self-cherishing


Think of disadvantages of pride:

hindrance to practice

            we look pathetic

we can’t learn (we feel that we know it all)


Meditate on:

emptiness (wisdom that understands how all things really exist)

            kindness of others


            good qualities of holy beings

            everything comes from the kindness of others

            equanimity (seeing yourself and all others as complete equals, and feel close to everyone)

see the Buddha (Christ)-enlightened nature in everyone



our broken vows and areas of weakness



pride only harms me and doesn’t do anything for me

there is more I don’t know than I do know

pride interferes with learning spiritual teachings

all of our accomplishments come from teaching of others

of the things you don’t know (e.g. physics, rocket science, medicine, etc.)

of qualities of spiritual masters

when others are praising you, think that they are praising Buddha (Christ, Holy Spirit, or other holy beings)

about the perfections of the holy beings

what does it get us? 


Practice 7 Point Thought Transformation

See how silly you look

Identify with what you are condescending of                                

Do purification practices: prayers for others, take personal inventory, make amends, give money or time to worthy causes

Be generous and praise others

Rejoice in others good qualities                      

Generate some humility (everything we own or know ultimately is a result of the kindness of others)

Do confession, and offerings, and prayers

Go on retreat and give yourself time to contemplate spiritual teachings and apply them to your life


Antidotes to Jealousy


Think of disadvantages of jealousy:

            mind unsettled

            can’t sleep

destroys relationships

creates negative karma (deep emotional reactions that become habits of mind)

causes lower rebirth

it is painful


Meditate on:

emptiness (everything comes about due to causes and can change instantly, but appears to be SOLID)

            kindness of others


emptiness (wisdom that understands how all things really exist)

equanimity—they want happiness like me



we can’t take the thing with us

jealousy doesn’t get you what you’re jealous about

what you’re jealous about doesn’t bring ultimate happiness

jealousy does not benefit us in any way


Consider the karma others created to get what we’re jealous about and rejoice

Practice generosity

Rejoice in others’ good fortune and good qualities!

Praise others

Do purification practice


Antidotes to Laziness


Think of the disadvantages:

can create karmic obstacles to encountering the Dharma (spiritual teachings) in the next life

            no progress

            stay in our our old ineffective patterns that create suffering on earth 

            doesn’t bring lasting pleasure


Meditate on:

precious human life

death awareness

Buddha (Christ)-nature

advantages of practicing

joyous effort

karma-we may not meet the Dharma (spiritual teachings) in the future

qualities of the Three Jewels (holy beings)

the qualities of the Buddhas (Christ, God, Virgin Mary)

            lower realms


            kindness of others



your precious human life and the opportunity it brings

the faults of earthly life--that don't bring about lasting happiness or pleasures; ask yourself, "What does bring about lasting contentment?"



Look at the part of ego (old conditioning) that doesn’t want to change

Application of concepts is important and just do it!

Cultivate joyous effort

Do prayers for self and others

Schedule "spiritual) dates" or time for reflection and contemplation about your life and relationships - practice accountability for your actions

‘Practice spiritual teachings like your hair’s on fire’!


Antidotes to Discouragement (giving up and not keeping up practice)


Think of the disadvantages:

            no progress

            suffering of sufferings of earth 



Meditate on:

death and impermanence

qualities of Holy beings

Buddha (Christ)- enlightened nature

love and compassion

precious human life

Bodichitta (loving compassion)—not just for yourself, but for everyone: friend, enemy, and stranger

karma (cause and effect, and the creating of habits of body, speech, and mind )

emptiness (all things come about due to causes and conditions and change constantly)    




Bodichitta (kindness and compassion for others), that you’re not just doing it for yourself

the Buddha (Christ) --enlightened nature



what our teacher has accomplished


Take refuge in spiritual principles and values

Rejoice in progress so far and qualities of others

Request spiritual teachings

Recall the long-view—patience over many lifetimes

Focus in on things you have faith in

Evaluate your progress—10 years ago, 5 years ago, etc.

Talk to a spiritual support buddy (a church, Mosque, synagogue)

Go on retreat

Do purification practice

Generate faith by remembering the transformative power of the spiritual teachings


Antidotes to Ignorance


Think of the disadvantages:

            effect on karma (creating deep "filters" through which we interpret our reality)


Meditate on:

emptiness (wisdom that understands how all things really exist)

dependant arising


true nature of the mind


Request spiritual teachings

Attend teachings and spiritual classes

Listen, study, learn, contemplate, meditate, apply teachings

Work to release self-grasping

Go on retreat

Do Purification practices

Examine our life

Notice how far you’ve come



Compiled by Wendy Mickle from the notes of Barry Flaming, P.J. Shockley, Stephen Harris, Bob Wilson and Wendy Mickle from Discussion groups at Sept. 2003 Retreat on 7 Point Thought Transformation with Ven. Thubten Chodron.


By Thubten Chodron. also, :

  • Working With Anger (Useful to explain the above antidotes)
  • Taming The Mind (Useful to explain the above antidotes) (Snow Lion Publishers)
  • Buddhism for Beginners,
  • Open Heart, Clear Mind,
  • Transforming the Heart: The Buddhist Way to Joy and Courage,

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well-known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. Her books help us to understand our life’s journey. I have found them incredibly helpful.

Venerable Chodron's books and CD's can be purchased at Snow Lion Publishers: