If you were asked to explain the Mahayana view (or at least "a" Mahayana view) of human need, or even better a general theory of need for all sentient beings, where would you begin? What texts would you look to?
It's relatively straightforward to describe the ultimate needs of beings, which would have to do with enlightenment.
But what about provisional needs, for food, shelter, and water, but also further up Maslow's pyramid?
This would be a useful thing to be able to explain to people who want to know just how one can be useful to the totality others in an everyday way, as in engaged Buddhism in particular.
The first thought that comes to mind for me, given the question, is that Maslow's theory covers human needs and the suffering that can be incurred when the most basic needs aren't met (leading up to higher needs). Likewise, Mahayana Buddhism recognizes the suffering that humans endure and offers medicine for this ailment. In this instance Maslow and Mahayana Buddhism are quite in synch in that there's a recognition of suffering and a quest to end it.
Children are marvelous dharma practice and for many people, the centerpiece of practice. Our children give us the opportunity to practice patience, compassion, selflessness, and if we extend the feelings we have towards our own children outward, towards all beings, we can strive to develop bodhicitta.
So in short, current psychological theories are frequently in synch with Buddhism as I humbly understand it. When His Holiness the Dalai Lama was asked to define Buddhism, his answer was, "Common sense." I don't have a reference handy but can locate it if need be.
This is my very humble opinion, to be taken with a grain of salt. May all beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering /\