Non-hatred (mental element 29, NHa)
Non-hatred is like a fragrance (gentleness, loving-kindness) that removes a disgusting odor (hatred, irritation, anger, and so on). It is like a fresh breeze that cools hot air.
Non-hatred should not be understood as the mere absence of hatred, but also as the opposite of hatred and as the means by which we can get rid of hatred. Mere absence of hatred does not make us loving, kind, gentle, and agreeable. It is non-hatred that makes us so. Similarly, a mere absence of hatred does not eliminate irritation, frustration, anger, and so on. Non-hatred is actually the means to shake off these defilements.
Non-hatred cools the temper. That is its characteristic. The element of non-hatred is the reason that the wholesome consciousness in which it is present arises. In this sense, it is a root wholesome element that has its own intrinsic nature.
How can we develop non-hatred? The easiest way is to develop loving-kindness and compassion towards others. If you hate someone who has been unfair to you, for example, you can arouse non-hatred by considering the other person as worthy of loving-kindness. You can also arouse compassion for that individual by contemplating the laws of karma and realizing that the unfair person is bound to suffer from bad karma results.
If you cannot easily develop loving-kindness or compassion due to your temperament, then non-hatred, as in the case of non-greed, can be aroused through deliberate abstinence. Non-hatred is always present in an ascetic state of mind. So, aim to develop strong will and resolution along with non-hatred so you can undertake the ascetic practice. But do not mistake self-sacrifice for asceticism.
The interesting thing about the element of non-hatred is that it plays a significant role in generating pleasant looks. Of course this does not mean that every good-looking person is non-hateful. It means that if we are not hateful we develop an appearance that people find pleasant due to our agreeableness and coolness of consciousness. Angry, hateful people generally don’t look good, at least when they are under the spell of anger. It is the very nature of hatred to make things ugly, unattractive, and ill flavored. Even the most adorable children look ugly when they get upset. People who consistently avoid conflict and practice loving-kindness and compassion generally develop a pleasing appearance. We feel at ease in the presence of such people. Their company is enjoyable. These are the people who are actually reaping the fruits of non-hatred.