It is a strange time to be a Buddhist in the United States. So much hate.
Buddhist training/practice leads to the development of an accurate perception, an accurate assessment of “self.” Buddhist training/practice leads to the development of perceptual acuity, objectivity and critical thinking. At the same time, Buddhist training/practice leads to the development of compassion and lovingkindness. Buddhist training/practice leads to the development of a moral sense. For many, Buddhist training/practice leads to the active engagement with the world while renouncing hate.
So much hate.
There’s a lot of hate being spewed out there. Hate towards the police. Hate towards the government. Hate towards people of color; Blacks and Browns. Hate towards Whites. Hate towards Asians. Hate towards LGBQT.
There’s hate aimed towards Conservatives, Liberals, Reactionaries, Progressives. I see/read/hear hate towards Joe Biden; towards Donald Trump. Hate is being aimed at senators, representatives, state and local legislators, governors, mayors, council-people, and the like.
Hate is aimed at Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and a myriad of less-well known religious groups.
Hate is aimed at the poor, and at the rich. At the homeless and at the mentally ill. Hate is aimed at the well-educated, and the poorly educated, and at the uneducated.
So much hate. Reminds me of some of the lyrics from a 1970-something song by Kris Kristofferson:
“Eggheads cussing rednecks cussing
Hippies for their hair
Others laugh at straights who laugh at
Freaks who laugh at squares
Some folks hate the Whites
Who hate the Blacks who hate the Klan
Most of us hate anything that
We don’t understand.
Cause everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on.
Who they can feel better than at any time they please.
Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty decent folks can frown on.
If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me.”
-0- Jesus Was A Capricorn by Kris Kristofferson -0-
Hate is, as we know, the expression of a strong emotional attachment to a desire for things be a way other than the way they are. Hate is attachment to wanting things to be “my way,” and not the way we perceive them to be. Hate is a pattern of thoughts, words, and deeds. Hate is often a self-justifying mechanism for those thoughts, words and deeds. And when we dig into hate – the thoughts, words, and deeds – we find hate to be a lot more complex that what I’ve just described. Hate has sociological, anthropological, biological, psychological and historical aspects to it. But simplistically, we aren’t getting what we want, and we blame the object of our hate as the cause. We want things to change and they don’t. We want things to remain as they are, and they change. We blame the object/person/people for the reason(s) things aren’t the way we want them to be. We have some picture of a “better” world, or a “better” society, or a “better” life, and the object of our hate is keeping us from realizing that picture. We believe things would be “right” if the object of our hate didn’t exist.
As we know, most of the time our beliefs regarding the object(s) of our hate, our situation, our displeasure, are delusional. Our beliefs don’t accord with objective reality. But we cling to them anyway. We cling to our ignorance.
Hate and fear are often emotional siblings. We fear something, and we learn to hate it. Fear operates pretty much the same way as hate. We want, or expect, reality to be a certain way, and when it’s not we experience that emotionally as a “loss’ or a “threat” of loss. The hormones kick in, and we feel a strong need to act to rid our reality of the source of that threat or loss. Of the source of that discomfort.
Hatred is learned. We cling to our delusions, we cling to our ignorance because our beliefs are so emotionally charged. We REALLY want Reality to conform to our wishes, our desires.
Hatred can be unlearned. Buddhist training/practice can help.
Something to think about.