“He abused me, he defeated me, he robbed me”: the hatred of them, who harbour this though, is not appeased.
If you bear hatred in your heart, it will always be in your heart.
Earlier verses talked about changing the internal rather than the external. So I suppose the idea here is that if hatred is within you, nothing outside will appease it. It will always be in there. It goes unsaid, but I suppose the corrosion must remain even if you can get revenge.
I remember reading an old story as a child, about Senerat Bandara. He helped the King put down a rebellion or something and one offending official and his family were captured. Senerat was in the crowd as the wife and child were brought out and killed and the offending minister was torn in four directions by elephants. He had felt like he was serving and fighting on the right side, but at that moment he didn’t feel good at all. He was not appeased. He left and became a monk.
Honestly, a lot of people wouldn’t mind seeing their enemies quartered be elephants. Just today I saw a message from like an eleven year old saying they’d like to kill all of my staff for publishing a react video. It’s out there, and the assumption is that vengeance will scratch that itch. The itch of hatred.
But the Buddha says it doesn’t.
This Dhammapada verse is from E.W. Adikaram’s translation.