Turning hate into compassion

Hate is a vice. It is a very nasty emotion that causes people to do horrible things. I met someone recently who considered hate to be a virtue and quoted biblical texts to me to support his claim. Look, I realize that in the moment, it may seem expedient to channel hate to fight evil. But that never works out well. Even if you are fighting a war against an evil dictator and your fight is just, hate will not help you win that fight. Soldiers across the world will tell you that the best fighters are those who keep their emotions out of their fighting and keep their head’s level. Musashi Miyamoto says exactly that in the Book of the Five Rings. And heck, Sgt York didn’t want to kill anyone and still managed capture; almost single handedly 132 German soldiers. Not because he hated them, but because he just wanted the killing to stop.

Now, modern soldiers will tell you that they are trained to disassociate their emotions from their fighting. This is because hot headedness makes you a danger to yourself and to others. Angry, hate filled people are unpredictable and easily manipulated and in the heat of battle are worse then useless. Long story short, there is no situation in which hate helps.

So, what to do if you find yourself getting angry and feeling that most awful of emotions hate. Well, practice turning that hate into compassion. And don’t think that means becoming complacent and not doing what you need to do to protect yourself and others without becoming that which you hate in the process. To learn more, read this excellent article by Thupten Phelgye on moving from Hatred to Compassion.

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