Humans are one kind of life form which exists on Earth. We use thinking power to develop our civilisation and are the dominant species on Earth, but this definition doesn’t help people understand what human beings truly are.
In some religions, humans are the creation of a god. According to science, we are the result of evolution; we are clever animals, but our basic physical needs remain the same as any other animal.
Buddhism teaches that to understand anything, you should first check the essence (what it is made of), the function (how to use it), and the goal (what the meaning or value of it is).
According to this system, humans are made of three different parts: consciousness, physical body, and the surroundings.
Consciousness is the power to be aware of what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and think. Physical body is the machine that receives light, sound, smell, flavour, touch, and ideas. These six types of information are the surroundings.
No human can exist without all three parts, but other animals also exist with these three parts. The only difference is that they lack the power to think and the brain capability to receive thoughts or ideas.
In each of these six abilities, human beings have certain limitations. If a life form could go beyond these limits, it would not be called human any more. According to Taoism and Buddhism, a human is the stage between low, material desire consciousness and spiritual consciousness.
If you train your consciousness to follow the discipline of Spirits, in the next lifetime you will transcend the limitation of your awareness and become a spiritual consciousness. If you continue to follow your animal instincts – greed for survival, blindness of actions, and meaninglessness of existence – your consciousness will reincarnate as a human or might go back to become an animal again.
These ideas define humans as one stage of the Life Form Chain (reincarnation) which is able to become another stage.
The human body is also described as a temple with your spirit living within. Inside this temple, there are seven different types of universal energy, which are called the Seven Chakras. If, through training, you build the body temple in the correct way, all these seven energy types will open and you will be free to be aware of any information from any universe.
The other way to describe your body is that it is built by four elements. Earth is the particles of matter in your body, water is the main component, fire is your temperature, and wind is the air you breathe.
The construction of human beings in a modern view
The human body is like a computer. On the hard disc of this computer, there are seven basic programmes: desire, passion, physical force, emotions, logical thinking, intuition, and subconsciousness. The Seven Chakras are the electricity for running these seven programmes. The six senses are the devices to receive the six types of information, which are judged by the processor (consciousness) and connected by it to any of these seven programs.
For example, you (four elements) walk into a shopping centre and your six senses to choose the product you would like to buy. The information from the senses is judged by the consciousness, which connects it to the seven programmes. It could be desire to own it, passion to enjoy it, emotional associations with the product, and so on. Then the Seven Chakra energy will expand to make the programmes run.
These basic seven programmes can produce all other programmes, e.g. the program of political activity comes from desire and logical thinking; acting activity comes mainly from desire, passion, and emotions.