Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2018/ The Poem of Peace is Misleading

The Poem of Peace is Misleading

I recently listened to a podcast about The Buddha's Poem of Peace, which goes like this:

Hatred never ends with hatred.
By love alone does it end.
This is an ancient truth.

The story Gil Frosdal tells about this poem seems compelling, but I have my doubts.

One way to end hatred is via genocide. If you kill all your enemies then your enemies will not be able to hate you, and since the threat to you has disappeared, your hatred for them may well diminish even though there is no love. I think this is why people think they can win at war.

Another situation that comes to mind is that of being abused. People who have had difficult childhoods or who have faced abuse sometimes move past the hatred that develops for their abusers, and it is not always because they grow to love the abusers. Sometimes they understand the mindset that caused the abuse. Sometimes the victims forgive the abusers -- not because they love the abusers but because the victims need to forgive in order to let the hatred go.

The other thing that bugs me about this poem is how compelling it seems in the abstract and how impossible it seems when faced with any concrete situation where one is hating another. Probably Buddhism has some concrete mechanisms for growing to love the subject of one's hate, but other than meditating a lot and hoping the insight will make the hatred go away, I do not know what those mechanisms are, and I do not know how well they work in practice. It is one thing to present a nice sentiment, and quite another to implement it.