Question: How do Buddhist explain psychopaths? People who don’t have any regard for others and who lack empathy and remorse.
Buddhist don’t deny or disregard the natural imbalance in the world, especially in medicine, science, etc. We know some mental illnesses can practically take over a person’s life to a point that it is out of their own control. So sometimes it is controllable, sometimes not so much. Even a psychopath, though completely lucid and aware of their actions, do not have control over their own mental imbalance and so lack the “obvious” emotions everyone else might have.
From a Buddhist perspective, if we study the “six realms of existence” (human, the two heavenly beings/realms, animal, hungry ghost and hell) superficially they seem like supernatural, metaphysical places. But a true study of them will reveal that they are “six states of mind.” And that within our current life time, depending on our karma, we may experience some or all of these states. A normal person will experience in their life moments of complete bliss and moments of complete hell, and then a lot of everything in between. Some people are more fortunate than others and have more experiences on one side of the spectrum, while others are less fortunate and experiences the harsher side of the spectrum. Some move from the bottom up, and we see this in a lot of people who came from nothing and turned into something. While others fall from the top, losing everything they’ve ever had. And of course we have everything else in the middle which has a little bit of both ends. Including the best and worse kind of people, environments, situations, etc.
So even though someone might be a psychopath, the way they are is not their fault. Some people have karmic debt that might need to be paid off, whether it’s someone who owes a life and so theirs is short lived or someone they love life’s short lived. Or whether they were hateful toward others, and now they are the victim of hate and anger. People can’t always control their lives, but they can control their karma.
Smile and be well!