H is for Hatred

Hatred, not a word I generally associate with either Buddhists or Quakers. Surely they are all nice, gentle folks who don’t hate anyone.

Not true of course. We are all just normal people doing the best we can. We are trying to increase our compassion, our loving-kindness, and to let go of hatred. Hopefully we succeed at least a little bit.

Hatred, like greed, is one of the three poisons. The sanskrit word dvesa can also be translated aversion, anger, aggression. This gives us a wider sense of the meaning.

So when do I feel hatred? Well, when my next door neighbour, in his over-enthusiastic garden ‘tidying’ has reached under the fence and damaged my plants. I am angry on behalf of my plants, I feel threatened by the intrusion into ‘my’ space. I want to react aggressively. I remember not to act in the heat of the moment. I try to see things from his point of view. I become a little more sad, a bit less angry. I work on developing compassion for him. I try to develop non-attachment – did you notice all those mys I was using? I did. Takes me back to greed too, doesn’t it? These poisons are inter-connected, even in this small example.

When we speak of anger, people will often say ‘but aren’t there things we should feel angry about?’ Well yes there are. Real injustices. Anger can give us the energy to fight against them and perhaps that can be justified. But how much better to act from love, from compassion, than from anger.

Let us cultivate metta and begin to change the world in a truly positive way.

1 thought on “H is for Hatred

  1. Thankyou Stephanie for coming at this subject more gently than I usually do. At http://livingwithconflict.net/recycling-rage I am beginning to explore similar themes about anger, and there is a lot more material to add when I get round to it. But hatred is something a little different, and I shall think about the differences for a while, and see where that leads.

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