2021-04-04-Overcoming Hate with Non-Hate
5:40PM Apr 4, 2021
So warm greetings to all of you. This I begin this talk. There is a renowned a verse from the dhammapada. An ancient anthology of Buddhist poetry verse. And it goes something like this. Hate is not overcome by hate. But by love alone is hate overcome. This is an ancient truth. So hate is not overcome by hate, by love alone, is it overcome. And it's possible that translating the ancient world word is love, doesn't really capture the full richness of this verse, and I'll talk about that a little later. But I want to evoke this very, you know, well known verse, that it's really a central idea in Buddhism, that we cannot pacify hate, by adding more hate to the fire. Hate is considered to be a fire that burns, the one who's hating that harms the one who's hating. So to respond to hate with hate, means that there's two people now, who are burning and suffering who are wounding each other, wounding themselves both. And this is such an important topic in the climate of the world, really, I don't know if there's more or less hatred in the world than there's ever been before. But we're certainly becoming acutely aware of it here in the United States. And perhaps, perhaps we're coming into an era of this country, where there is the possibility of beginning to recognize the tremendous harm that hate has. That maybe it was difficult to see before when the hate was expressed with, you know, so violently that people are mostly spending their time protecting themselves from lynching and riots and all kinds of things. And hate was certainly present back then. But maybe it was not what was being addressed directly. But now we've come to the time where there's a real heightened sensitivity to what hatred looks like, how hatred speaks, how it spreads as a kind of poison through our society. And I speak about this because of in the wake of the the rising hate crime against Asian Americans. here in California, just a month ago, there was a arson and vandalism of a Buddhist, Asian Buddhist temple and in Los Angeles, a Japanese Buddhist temple, the Pure Land tradition of Buddhism, a very peaceful, peace loving form of Buddhism. And, and the temple was partly destroyed, not dramatically, but enough to be quite disturbing. And and, you know, these are, this is a tradition of Buddhism, where that's been in this country for well over 100 years. It's possible that membership of their temple is or at least have that form of Buddhism. Their members have been here in the United States for six, seven, it's possible even eight generations by now. And, and to be the recipients of hate, as if they don't belong in this country is quite painful for all of us. In His family that we hope to be and in this country.
And so in some of these images we've seen of elderly Asian Americans being attacked on streets, right, right here in San Francisco is one of them. And it's not like over there that this kind of violence happens, but it's close in. And it didn't start then. But it certainly raised people's worry. A year ago, when there started to be hateful things said to people of Asian descent, especially Chinese descent here locally in the peninsula, because of the Coronavirus and somehow
spreading of animosity towards people of any kind of Asian descent because of a virus like this. So, there's the ease in which sometimes people hate this part of the issue here in this country. And, and certainly, there's a need to stand in solidarity with the people who are the recipients of hate, and certainly to sense our solidarity with the Asian Americans who are struggling with this and with fear and worry and about what it means to be out in public even or not in public at night, then we know what's coming. And, and to offer our protection and great places of sanctuary where it feels safe to come and not just welcome to come but feeling like it's home like they belong. And it's a little bit hard here at IMC to be maybe teaching here all alone these these last year, but you know, it's I want this place to be a home for all people and for everyone to come here to feel like they belong and even not just welcome not just belonging, but I feel like it's their place where they can really engage fully and bring themselves completely here. So, you know, certainly I'm concerned for the membership of IMC that are Asian American, the membership of IMC that are black. And all the people who are been the recipients of hate hate crimes here in the United States. The word hate crime is an interesting term. Because the definition of hate in this regard is different, very certainly very different than some of the other meanings of hate. And that we use, we use the word hate when people say that, you know, they hate spinach. It's it's a very different connotations, very different meaning of the word that when we say we hate an ethnic group, or we hate one of the you know, that thing, I think the highest number of hate crimes United States is against African Americans. And one of the other really high numbers is LGBTQ. And so the, the, to be a risk. So when there's a hate crime, it's not just you know, that an intent, you know, a dislike of someone. But one distinction some people make also between like anger and hate, hate hate is a hate crime is that anger is for a particular behavior, a particular event particular situation. Whereas racial hate or gender hate or ethnic hate or something, it's hate towards a whole category, that the whole person, not the behavior of the person what they say or do with the whole being of the person and their family and their community. And so it's not just a singular emotion, but it's an attitude, a disposition, a way of seeing, it's an interpretation that's overlaid on the totality of who a person is. And that's why hate crimes and expressions of this kind of ethnic and category. crimes. The so total why it's so difficult for people and so painful, is because it's a diminishment, diminishment or contempt of the who they are as a as a human being. And to have that repeatedly to be recipient that you as human being, are somehow worth of my hate is quite difficult. And then to know that that's a lingering disposition and lingering attitude, it stays means that, you know, it's not just a mistake of the moment or an incident of the moment, passion in the moment, but it's something that stays in ob here and continue and continue.
And to be the recipient of the victim of hate crimes, it's not just individual who suffers, but also the families in the community, because it's known that it's, it's in some ways, related to all those together. So it's a really a fabric, a tear in the fabric of society. It's a rupture in our ability to be together, cooperatively harmoniously, as, as fellow citizens, fellow companions, in our humanity. It's also kind of this diminishment of people's humanity. And, and this is one of the great tasks I think of our society and for ourselves in our times, is to learn how to see the humanity of other people, and how to share our humanity with other people. There was I saw an interview recently of between naked the mom, the religious leader of a mosque and the neighbor of the mosque, a man who had been high on drugs, heard about some violence, I think, was the Paris shooting massacre, where all these people died in Paris, by some ISIS kind of followers, and he came home high on cocaine and, and were just, you know, angry at Muslims. They're all his idea was that there? he had, he said, he had been listening to a lot of social media. And so he thought that all Muslims were somehow violent and terrorists and terrible people. And so he shot up the building next door, the mosque, and no one was hurt, but still, he shot at it. So he was arrested and went to jail. And for the Ford, he did, and he apologized for what he did. And, you know, he, I think when he was no longer high, he understood what he had done. And the mistake he huge mistake he had made. And when he apologized, the people in the mosque, the religious leaders of the mosque, forgave him and apparently brought him food and, or little gifts in the prison. And when he was released, because he lived next door, they invited him over to the mosque. And, and, and they were able to tell them a little bit about what their form of Islam was, and, and he was shocked, he found these people to be fantastic, wonderful people and peace loving people and, and who had forgiven him. And then he brought his friends over and to see them and they were all kind of discovering the humanity of each other, sharing each other's humanity getting to know each other, which is not so easy, not so possible when there's hate not possible when there's that categorical idea that someone is somehow contemptible. And so how do we respond to hate as individuals and society, and from a Buddhist point of view, we don't respond with more hate. And so to take a lot of care, it's, it's hard to avoid doing that it's hard not to be upset with them, those people who are doing it, of course, there should be of course, they shouldn't be of course, we should take a strong stand against the acts of violence against these acts of this level of hate. And, and hopefully stand up and help protect our fellow humans who are struggling with this kind of situation, and affects all of us. But we shouldn't hate and so in this dhammapada verse, it says, hate does not overcome by hate. And common translation is by love alone is hate overcome, but the actual language of the original language of the of the line, it literally says, By non hate is hate overcome. And so non hate is a larger category larger points to a wider range of responses than love. Love, maybe it's too hard, too difficult to draw up love and expect to always want to be loving and, and maybe it's not even appropriate, as their as their first response or as a response to situations of hate.
And so the question is what is non What does non hate mean? And most literally, it means not to hate. And so, the idea of loving, I think, is a great one. And, and, and the motivation to love. I can arise out of deep meditation practice, in meditation practice, where we let go and be quiet all the fevers or greed, hate and delusion, we said on his cover a deep level of peace and well being within a settled peaceful, contented, reassured heart, we discover that there, there is a way of living way of being, that becomes more important. Like one of the most precious things to live, there can be a feeling of kind, kindness, love, friendliness, compassion, that radiates from within. And this is, this feels like home. This is the this has integrity, this is the place of, of value of how to live this life. And then to feel a commitment that they are, this is how I want to be. And so what kind of what can exist rather than being loving, there can be the wish to be loving. We can't always love but maybe we can always have the aspiration to love. And sometimes that aspiration to love means that the best we can do today is not to give into our hate, our hostility. Maybe not giving into hate maybe the wish to love commits us to pausing sacred pause, to hold in check. Any movement we have to hate to hate, we, we we hold and check arm our tongue, we don't speak words of hostility, we hold our our hands and checked or not express any physical expressions of, of hostility. That is learning to, to hold ourselves back. Because we want to love is not a kind of repression. But rather, it's a kind of expression of something that's deeper, that wants to come out something deeper. That's that saying, wait, hold it, there's something more important here. Don't lose yourself don't give in to something which adds to fragmentation. alienation don't give into something that is going to burn yourself. There's some of the dramatic images of hate and metaphors for hate in Buddhism are is that of a poisonous snake which is biting itself. Or that have a fire that is burning itself when it burns. So hate the fire of hate burns, the person who's hating the poison that hate poisons the person who hates and one of the one of the dynamics of hate is that for sometimes hate is a person's response to their own pain, their own hurt. And it's often said that's that hate that hurt can evoke hate, a kind of blaming others and trying to avoid the pain we feel ourselves by attacking other people and blaming other people and, and turning the attention outward. So hurt can evoke or hate. But then hate and return evokes hurt. And then you see they're coming home said a vicious cycle. One leads to the other and round and round to get stronger and stronger. Hate evokes alienation and alienation is a condition that promotes more hate. That when we end up hating, we're separating ourselves from the humanity of other people. And then we're more alone. Unless we then find companionship and other people who hate and we think we're connected then the mutual cause of hate what we're hating, but it's not really a very deep connection. It's a shallow connection. And to get somehow supported or feel alive and by hate is a kind of self alienation and The more we're alienated from others and alienated from ourselves, then the more the more that drives further hate.
Hate, brings alienation and alienation promotes even more hate. In Buddhist, language, Buddhist ideas, and hate is a form of bondage. And to be, to be free to, to freely, you know, do the wishes of our jail keepers or jailers is not real freedom, sort of freely, to have the freedom to express the hate and feel to be free and wonderful to express it freely, is really doing the work of our jailers, it just enslaving us or jailing as more and more in bondage, that people who are hating are in fact, caught and diminishing themselves and jailing themselves in these very strong feelings. To find freedom, is to find freedom from hate, to find the ability to allow something that's deeper than hate, to come forth and move through us. And so, for those of us who are practitioners, one of the great possibilities for us is not to diminish ourselves, because we might feel hate, or we might feel animosity or we might feel you have prejudice and bias. But rather, to turn the light of awareness on that, to really be honest about that, learn to see it and recognize it. in whatever form it takes our anger or hostility, even to anything, to keep turning back 180 degrees away from the object of our hostility, our presence, prejudice, or bias, to what it's like for us to have the bias to prejudice, that hostility or even that intense hatred of that occasionally can exist. And really, be honest about it and see it. And if we want to love ourselves, then we want to have the sacred pause. And don't give into it by looking at it deeper and deeper and deeper, what's going on here? And, and then to see find, buy, and to bring with that the awareness that's calming the awareness, that is peace, peacemaking, the awareness is not hating on conflict, non contentious awareness. So we can start relaxing and settling the fires, relaxing the hurt, the alienation, relaxing the way in which we recoil from pain, feel our own pain, deeper and deeper. until we find where the healing is. Where the where there is peace, where there's wholeness, maybe where there is love. And we discover that when we respond to hate in the world, with non hate. That may be it takes the form of generosity. Sending presents, meals to someone in prison who hated us, maybe takes a form of forgiveness. The mom who was talking about forgiving the man who shot that their mosque, said it makes sense, it made sense to forgive them because he had apologized. And so to discover the ability to forgive, to forgive, discover the ability to be friendly. We don't have to be to love someone to be friendly. And in these all these expressions, maybe we do discover how to bring more love into the world. How would you bring more of a peaceful settling pacifying presence into this world to benefit this world that's so challenging here. So I think one of the great tasks these days in the United States and perhaps many countries in the world, one of the great noble tasks that important tasks is for us to stand in solidarity with everyone who is the recipient of hate and hate crimes. The black people united states, the indigenous people on the Hispanics, the LGBTQ, the Asian Americans, and the list goes on and on.
And also, but really more than just stand in solidarity and support, to be actively involved in making this world a better place in a safer place for all. And understand as deeply as we can the roots of faith in ourselves how this works, and to learn to develop the strength and the courage and the confidence. To always wish always want to be loving. It doesn't mean you have to be loving. It's a difficult task. But we can always want to do it. And in wanting to do it, maybe we pause sacred pause to avoid causing more harm and we at least, don't express actively our hostility to anyone. And maybe then slowly we can begin learning how really to meet the challenges of this world with expressions, ways of being and loving and caring and, and standing up and speaking up in ways that are going to heal the great divides of our society. Let's discover the common humanity of all of us so that we don't live fractured, but who live together as a community, fellow a family a society that cares for each other. They all of us care for everyone we encounter. Thank you.