Friday, May 20, 2005



Is it possible in our present economic environment to create workplaces where social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs of individuals are met? As employers or investors, does our responsibility run deeper than economic equation and a purely competitive relationship? One place to look for guidance in response to these questions, is to the ancient wisdom of the Buddha.

Buddhism is not against free enterprise. It does, however, suggest that there be a much closer and deeper relationship between financial gain and the well-being of society. How business profit contributes to the betterment of the community/society is the issue. Shareholders and business leaders have, in Buddhist thinking, a responsibility to create an ethically-based holistic community within their organization and contribute to creating a better society. This is not an issue of philanthropy, it is an issue of intention.

“The critical difference between our present business model and Buddhism relates to the idea of intention”, says Dr. Lloyd Field, CEO of Performance House Ltd. “If our intentions are motivated by greed, hatred or delusion, the outcome of those intentions and the actions prompted by them will inevitably be human suffering, and this includes our own personal condition. Suffering is the lack of “will” to do good, it is also distress, pain, poverty, illness, etc.”
Free-Enterprise has a limited “code of values/ethics” as part of it’s ethos- what values there are come from the societies legal systems.

I believe that we are entering an era of “Enlightened Capitalism”, where the bottom line is no longer the only reason to be in business. The Noble Eight Fold Path of Buddhism is an appropriate starting point to bring “Buddhism into the Board Room”. Thereby drawing a connection between our economic system, dukkha, and a Path forward that allows people to be their best- compassionate, wise, caring selves.

It consists of the following eight principles:

Right Understanding
Right Thoughts
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration

In future columns we will elaborate on these principles and the path to enlightened leadership as well as feature enlightened business leaders. We would like to hear your stories of what you’ve learned on your own personal journey by following these principles. My hope is that you will optimize your peace of mind, health and energy, love and relationships, achieve financial freedom, set worthy goals and ideals, and gain self knowledge and personal fulfillment.

Wishing you the very best in business and in life.....

Buddha Speaks Biz

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