Have you ever wondered why hatred causes bad rebirth? While it is quite simple to understand how attachment causes rebirth, some of us may wonder why hatred causes conditions for a bad rebirth.
If we hold intense hatred or aversions for another being or person and are intended on revenge; Then that mental state usually causes rebirth in lower realms or rebirth into bad situations.
In one modern rebirth story, a Thai boy remembered his past life and recalled his murder by a robber. He was very angry that the robber had to kill him after robbing him of his wallet and he wanted revenge in his last breath. Consequently, he found himself loitering the site of his murder for years, waiting and hoping that his murderer would walk past one day. According to Buddhism, that means he was reborn as a ghost and was haunting the murder site. This is known as rebirth by manifestation.
During the Buddha’s time, a similar story also unfolded itself while Buddha was about to begin his sermon. A young woman was being chased by a vengeful spirit and she had run into the monastery for refuge. Subsequently, Buddha revealed that that young woman and that ogress had animosity in their previous birth when both were human. That woman had committed an unforgivable crime and her victim turned into a vengeful spirit to avenge herself.
In other Buddhist stories, we heard of how sworn enemies were reborn close to each other so that they can exact their revenge on each other. Sometimes, one is reborn as a sibling of their enemy or as the offspring of their enemies. Sometimes past-lives enemies become lovers and married, only to transform into enemies immediately after marriage.
From the above examples, we should understand how hatred can cause us to be reborn again. If revenge is our motive, then suffering will follow us into our next life. It isn’t hard to imagine how bad situations in life can be if we have to suffer from or exact revenge. For example, in the 1st story above. That Thai boy was obsessed with knives as a child. He was self-taught and practicing to slit the throat of an unseen enemy since young.
This is why repentance prayer that trains our minds to repent and forgive is very important. When we practice repentance, we are no longer fixated on who is right and who is wrong. We simply acknowledge that the cause of our sufferings, including our animosity toward others, had arisen from many past lives ago. We were at each other’s throats for countless rebirths. Isn’t that tiring. Thus a new emotion arises in our minds. There is a feeling of dread for the endless cycle of revenge. We fear the endless rounds of rebirth that are driven by revenge.
With that insight, we should have the wisdom to want a break from the cycle of revenge.
To break that vicious cycle, we have to take the first step in developing peace in our minds. We need to commit ourselves to non-violence and practice loving kindness. We commit ourselves to act benevolently in any situation in life and let go of all grievances in our hearts. Therefore, besides saying the repentance prayer, it is also important for us to practice forgiveness in life. That way, we train our minds to let go and ultimately we will also let go of vengeful thoughts that are hidden in our subconsciousness.
May all be well and happy.