A Zen student said to his teacher, ‘Master, I have an ungovernable temper. Help me get rid of it.’
‘You have something very strange,’ said the teacher.
‘Show it to me.’
‘Right now I cannot show it to you.’
‘It arises suddenly.’
‘Then it cannot be your own true nature,’ said the teacher, ‘if it were, you would be able to show it to me at any time. Why are you allowing something that is not yours to trouble your life?’
Thereafter whenever the student felt his temper rising he remembered his teacher’s words and checked his anger.
In time, he developed a calm and placid temperament.