Wednesday, July 13, 2005



"An Entrepreneurs Guide to Enlightenment: Complete With Road Map and Truck Stops"

Buddha in the Board Room is scheduled for release late this year. It is very much about the personal journey of the author, Allan Holender who is neither a Buddhist or devotely religious man . Allan has interviewed top CEO's and Entrepreneurs looking for that common denominator that separates those who have been able to achieve greatness with their companies and still maintain a life of integrity and compassion. There is a common thread, and in many cases we need look no further than the eight fold path and teachings of the Buddha.

Buddhism is considered to be one of the most important world faiths and it certainly has its influence on the spiritual life of the planet. It is estimated that half of the countries of the world have been directly influenced by Buddhist thinking.
So how does does this relate to the business world?

Holender says "I believe that since the Enron collapse, WorldCom, Martha Stewart and the recent events in history we are entering a new era I refer to as "Enlightened Capitalism", where the reason to be in business is no longer just the bottom line. This era is also creating the birth of "social capitalists". Ordinary people doing extraordinary things for their employees, their shareholders, their families, and their communties."

"Although the Buddha taught us that there is, in the final analysis, no individual identity as such, those things to which we devote ourselves have a karmic effect on future lives which arise "like one fire lit from another".

When the author explores the Eightfold Path it becomes evident that the eight may be divided into three distinct areas of one's life, areas that were of particular concern to the Buddha. These are wisdom, morality and meditation.

WISDOM involves Right View or coming to a proper understanding of the truth of the Buddha's teachings. All of us have had an insight, a flash of understanding, when our view suddenly changes. With that flash arises the realization that life as we know it has it's limitations.

MORALITY involves speech, action and the way we gain our livelihood. Right Speech concerns the truth, holding the words of truth in mind, and speaking from that truth in a way that is true. These are the fundamental words of truth discovered in experience and spoken in a way that causes no harm. Words are all important. Our experience of the world is forged out of the ideas that we carry with us. If we avoid not only lying to others but also lying to ourselves, everything will not only be freed from the distortions we have imposed but will become purified and therefore more translucent and luminus.

Right Action is a direct result of refined ideas. If our words are of the nature of greed, hatred and delusion then must our action be likewise. How different are actions are that arise out of their opposites: generosity, compassion, and understanding.

Right Livelihood encourages us to seek a way of sustaining ourselves which minimizes the impact we have on others and the world in general. It encourages us to think differently, to appreciate the interconnectdness of all things and to tread lightly with due care and compassion,

MEDITATION is the third main area dealt with in the Eightfold Path. Right Mindfulness is one of the great joys of the reflective life. When we adopt mindfulness we immediately allow for quiet observation; the possibility that rather than being utterly identified with all the thoughts and feelings which rise in the heart and mind, we have the capacity to stand back and quietly observe the promptings of self-identification. Calmness and clarity are much desired, but personal desire will never provide them. Desire has the opposite effect, it agitates rather than calms, it confuses rather than clarifies.

One of the highlights of the many interviews the author conducted, is the one featuring Arran Stephens, the founder and CEO of Natures Path Foods, North America's largest producer of organic cereals. This former "hippie capitalist" who honed his entrepreneurial skills on 4th Avenue in Vancouver operating an organic restaurant with his wife, arises every morning at 4 a.m. for meditation and reflection. His business is soaring, his wife works by his side in harmony as does his daughter, who handles the marketing. It's not only a family in business, it's a family in balance with themselves and the world. Their life and company are on purpose and they embody the essence of social entreprenuersim with their support of local and global causes. One of which is "Project "560", initiated on the back of their kids cereal boxes. OFI is issuing a call to schoolchildren, classrooms, boys and girls' clubs, and civics groups worldwide to assist it in a massive undertaking designed to keep the world's last remaining orangatans from going extinct.

The book does indeed provide a unique look at not only Allan's personal journey of discovery, but the invitation to other fellow entrepreneurs to join him as he seeks not only the Buddha within but achieving that ever elusive balance of purpose, work and life. Look for "Buddha in the Board Room" on book shelves later this year. If you would like to reserve your copy now, you can e-mail Allan at and he will set aside a personally autographed copy for you. Please make sure to include your name , address, phone number and e-mail address.

Also, if you would like to follow Allan's musings for the book and would like to contribute your own thoughts, visit his blog site at

No comments: