When we are overwhelmed by anger and hatred, our minds and bodies are totally drenched with enormous stress and instability. We lose our cool and control. At that moment we cannot think properly and our minds do not function normally anymore. Moments of madness! Anger fuels more hatred and the only thing we can think of at that moment is how to hurt others with our body, speech and mind. Very powerful indeed!
On the other hand, how powerful the anger may be, it is interesting to know that anger is a natural process, conditioned by corresponding multiple causes and conditions. It is very impersonal. If someone praises us and says something nice, we would naturally be very happy to hear that. When someone says something nasty and rude to us, we suddenly get angry and hate that person. This applies to everyone and it is a natural reaction of everyone's mind. The mind reacts automatically to sense stimulations that have arisen from causes and conditionings. If there is no one to praise us or blames us, then there would be no causes or conditions for us to be happy or angry. The mind will not move. The mind moves only when there is someone or something that makes it move (causes and conditions).
Whenever someone or something makes us happy or angry, and if we do not realise that this is a natural process of the mind, then it is like jumping whenever someone comes along and push those little "angry buttons" and "happy buttons". The mind is not stable. In fact, what we are doing all the time is jumping as high as we possibly can whenever someone comes along and pushes those buttons. This is living according to other people's praises and blames. This in fact, is not living happily. This is like being imprisoned by praises and blames. Our well-being and emotions being controlled by others through our own ignorance.
If we realise that the mind reacts naturally to the sensual stimulations, then we can avoid those causes and conditions that create anger and hatred. And train the mind to be able to endure those moments with wisdom. To let those heated moments pass by without any participation from us. We don't participate in that natural process at all. We see it as a natural process and we let it pass by on its own. As it is a natural process, arising due to causes and conditions, it has to pass away. It cannot sustain itself. If we are angry, like our teacher Ajahn Brahm said, we can look at ourselves in a mirror and timed it with a watch to see how long we can stay angry. An hour, a day, a month, a year? As we all know, anger always subsides. Everything has to pass away. Whatever is subject to formation is also subject to cessation. Things that arise must cease and passed away. It is a natural law.
If we know that all states of minds are not permanent - arising and passing away - then we are wise not to participate while the mind is being influenced by anger and hatred. This anger and hatred will also pass. But, if we do not realise this natural process as impermanent, and still participate in it, then we have to live with the results. It is very painful. Words that had been harshly spoken, or violent and cruel actions that we had committed unskilfully, will have unfavourable returns to us and our lives - as well as others - will not be happy. We are the owners of our deliberate actions and their results (Kamma). If we realise this principle, we become very careful of what we say and do, because it will come back to us some day. That's why the wise always speak and act carefully, with loving-kindness, and refrain from letting their senses go astray.
To conquer anger by love, Buddha has taught that "Hatred never ceases through hatred in this world; through love alone (hatred) ceases. This is an eternal law". (Dhammapada 5). Making friends is the first step to love. We can make friends with our partners, our children, people we work with, people we meet on the streets - through patience, tolerance, forgiveness and giving. We can give our time, our kindness, our nice and truthful words, encouragements, acknowledgements, praises to those who are praise worthy, our happiness for others' successes, and forgiveness through understanding of human nature.
As a first step to overcome anger, it would be a good start to calm the mind down by meditation. Calmness and insight-wisdom are very important factors in life. When one is in full of rage, one is unable to use all the good values that one has learnt since one was young. They have been overwhelmed by anger and rage. That's why one needs to calm the mind down first. Meditation is very effective in calming the mind.
Loving-kindness meditation is also a very suitable method to cool the mind down. When breathing in, energise one self with a deep breath and say "May I be well and happy". When breathing out say "May all beings be well and happy".
When saying these, first think of someone that you love or are very fond of. With the same amount of love, we say "May I be well and happy". "May all beings be well and happy". While doing this, block out all the anger and hatred, as well as sorrow and pains of life. When they appear in one's thoughts, treat them as uninvited guests. Refuse to entertain them. Refuse to think about them. Just breathe in and say "May I be well and happy". "May all beings be well and happy".
The next step is to apply wisdom. The wisdom that knows that things are constantly changing. The nature of anger and hatred is also changing and impermanent. Think ahead. Next month. Next year. By that time this anger and hatred will have passed away and will be long forgotten. Try and realise that things are arising and passing away due to their causes and conditions. Then, we can let go of things through understanding of the natural process of feelings and emotions. Anger and hatred are the states of deluded mind borne out of ignorance. We can let go of them without clinging to. They are not worth clinging.
We also train our minds to be pure. We train our minds to have right attitudes by the help of right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. We are very careful of the stray thoughts that are not beneficial to us and to others. We refrain our speech by not saying untruthful and harsh words. We refrain our actions by not killing, not taking what is not given (stealing). We also refrain from sexual misconducts, which can break established relationships and create many unforeseen problems in life. This way of living brings peace and happiness into one's life, instead of anger and hatred.
The next step is to accept each other through tolerance and understanding. To be friends with each other. To make friends rather than enemies. We can have understanding and forgiveness towards each other. Friendship eliminates many problems that exist between each other. If we understand that every human beings and every living beings in this world strive for happiness and peace, then we can help others as much as possible, to make their live happy and peaceful. When we have compassion and kindness for others borne out of wisdom, then anger and hatred will no longer have a place in our hearts. A heart free from anger and hatred.