Human nature is essentially compassionate, gentle

peaceful lake

...our most basic, underlying nature

“If our essential nature is kind and compassionate,” I asked, “I’m just wondering how you account for all the conflicts and aggressive behaviors that are all around us.”

The Dalia Lama nodded thoughtfully for a moment before replying, “Of course we can’t ignore the fact that conflicts and tensions do exist, not only within an individual mind but also within the family, when we interact with other people, and at the societal level, the national level, and the global level. So, looking at this, some people conclude that human nature is basically aggressive. They may point to human history, suggesting that compared to other mammals’, human behavior is much more aggressive. Or, they may claim, ‘Yes, compassion is part of our mind. But anger is also part of our mind. They are equally part of our nature; both are more or less at the same level.’ Nonetheless,” he said firmly, leaning forward in his chair, straining with alertness, “it is still my firm conviction that human nature is essentially compassionate, gentle. That is the predominant feature of human nature. Anger, violence, and aggression may certainly arise, but I think it’s on a secondary or more superficial level, they arise when we are frustrated in our efforts to achieve love and affection. They are not part of our most basic, underlying nature.

Reclaiming Our Innate State of Happiness; Our Fundamental Nature
from The Art of Happiness
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, MD

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