How is Moral Pain Different from “Righteous Indignation”? Simple anger is a reflex when something or some person obstructs our plans, and we may even kick the ground through frustration. Anger proper is based on a belief that there is an offence committed to oneself and the desire to set the offence right or retaliate. Indignation is the anger over a moral principle we cherish, for example, a friend who spreads gossip about one’s weaknesses breaking the basic ingredients of a genuine friendship, which calls for good advice rather than damaging gossip. There can be complex social issues like the raping of young girls in India recently—what do we do with our anger ? It is not just a concern that benefits an individual far away from the scene but it touches deep human values in an objective way. I cite below a personal story which was a blend of moral pain and moral anger.

Abbreviations for the Sutta Literature


Anguttara Nikaya (Gradual Sayings)


Digha Nikaya (Further Dialogues)


Majjhima Nikaya (Middle Length Sayings)


Samyutta Nikaya (Kindred Sayings)


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Philosophical, Historical and International StudiesMonash UniversitySpringvaleAustralia

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