What should or are the characters of a human being? In today's age, r people real humans ? As i feel , humans are those who have compassion towards others, love towards others wheather it be animals nature or other humans.. But i don't see this any characters in todays humans(>99%). Should i call them humans just because they have intillegence ? I think even the crow is intillegent. Is only self awareness enough to be a human being?

4 Answers 4


Beings with consciousness encompass all sentient beings, in addition to being self aware human being have a capacity to be compassionate, temperate, and just; generally humans have a capacity to be virtuous.

Quoted below is a stoic sage lamenting like you do (not Buddhist source i know, but i think its interesting to read. :)

Is he passionate, is he full of resentment, is he fault-finding? If the whim seizes him, does he break the heads of those who come in his way? (If so), why then did you say that he is a man? Is every thing judged (determined) by the bare form? If that is so, say that the form in wax is an apple and has the smell and the taste of an apple. But the external figure is not enough: neither then is the nose enough and the eyes to make the man, but he must have the opinions of a man. Here is a man who does not listen to reason, who does not know when he is refuted: he is an ass: in another man the sense of shame is become dead: he is good for nothing, he is any thing rather than a man. This man seeks whom he may meet and kick or bite, so that he is not even a sheep or an ass, but a kind of wild beast.


Gelugpa scholars define a human being as:

A sentient being that is of the type of speaking and understanding.

Thus, it includes baby humans, since a baby is "of the type of speaking" but does not speak yet. It also excludes animals, since animals cannot come to speak even if one trains them (we can train them to dance, however!)

"speaking and understanding" must be taken together. Otherwise, one might say that animals are human beings because they have some level of understanding, or even some level of "speaking" since they express themselves and utter seemingly expressive sounds.

Anyway, the point is: there is no notion of "being human" in the common sense. A human being is not necessarily "human" the way you understand it.


The human state is described in SN 56.47 & elsewhere:

Sooner, I say, would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole than the fool who has gone once to the nether world would regain the human state. For what reason? Because here, bhikkhus, there is no conduct guided by the Dhamma, no righteous conduct, no wholesome activity, no meritorious activity. Here there prevails mutual devouring, the devouring of the weak. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. SN 56.47.

Bhikkhus, a god, a human or any other good state would not be evident from actions born of greed, hate and delusion. Yet, bhikkhus, from actions born of greed, hate and delusion a hellish being, an animal birth a ghostly birth or some other bad state would be evident. AN 6.39

Bhikkhus, these two bright principles protect the world. What are the two? Shame and fear of wrongdoing. If, bhikkhus, these two bright principles did not protect the world, there would not be discerned respect for mother or maternal aunt or maternal uncle’s wife or a teacher’s wife or the wives of other honored persons, and the world would have fallen into promiscuity, as with goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs, and jackals. But as these two bright principles protect the world, there is discerned respect for mother… and the wives of other honored persons. AN 2.9


But i don't see this any characters in todays humans

Perhaps you should, it would be better if you did, see compassion towards others in other people?

There's a (non-Buddhist) saying that might be relevant: "The only way to have a friend is to be one."

Anyway, I wanted to quote from the Punna sutta:

"Lord, there is a country called Sunaparanta. I am going to live there."

"Punna, the Sunaparanta people are fierce. They are rough. If they insult and ridicule you, what will you think?"

"If they insult and ridicule me, I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with their hands.' That is what I will think, O Blessed One. That is what I will think, O One Well-gone."


"Good, Punna, very good. Possessing such calm and self-control you are fit to dwell among the Sunaparantans. Now it is time to do as you see fit."

Is only self awareness enough to be a human being?

I think that from a Buddhist point of view, the good thing about being human is the ability to understand Dhamma.

There's also a koan called Joshu's dog:

Has a dog Buddha-nature?
This is the most serious question of all.
If you say yes or no,
You lose your own Buddha-nature.

I think that Buddhism teaches that "self" awareness isn't beneficial.

You must log in to answer this question.