Is there a place for Buddhism in Business?

  • March 1, 2017
  • News
  • Christophe
Yes. In a word. But to make this posting more interesting I will expand on this response. My sense is we are ignoring the elephant in the room in the business world. It feels to me like the emphasis is on accumulation of personal wealth. How can we make the most for us and the most for the company bottom line?
But our accumulation has to come from somewhere else. In just the same way that when we throw some thing away we should be asking “Where is away?” There is no such place as away, it is just somewhere else where we can’t see it but it hasn’t gone. So when we get something somewhere there is always a loss somewhere else, be it money, resources, time but on this little planet of ours if we ignore the simple fact that there are finite resources available we will accumulate our selves into our own demise.
At the heart of this is our insatiable use of hydro-carbons or oil based things which is everything you can see from right where you are sat right now. I don’t think there is anything that isn’t produced using oil and it will run out.
Buddhism is the teaching of suffering and how to bring an end to suffering. Our suffering or dis-ease at things or events is based on our reaction to them rather than the events them selves. We are all born, we all get sick, grow old and die so everything is impermanent. Understanding impermanence is at the heart of understanding Buddhism.
When I truly accept everything is impermanent I am able to see things come and go with less worry or dis-ease or suffering. The pain or discomfort we feel as we go through our daily lives is due to attachment or avoidance, clinging or aversion, wanting something or not wanting something.
When we can recognise that everything comes and goes including possessions, people, relationships, jobs, emotions, thoughts and feelings then we begin to develop a healthier relationship to those things.
Take my new VW van bought in February this year. I’m very proud of my van and have had one for 12 years previously but when I dented the new one in August by dropping my kayak on it as I lifted if from the roof I saw the impermanence of my wonderful new van. New vans do not stay new forever and now I have a newish van with a dent in the side which tells a story of my summer holiday. Impermanence.
If we can maintain a sense of equanimity in the face of good moments and bad moments we are finding a truth and sense of ease which so often escapes us.
Back to business; money and accumulation of personal wealth sit at the heart of the western business or economic model. If we apply the rules of impermanence and suffering to money it makes perfect sense. Money is impermanent, it comes and goes. Our clinging to money or avoidance of times when we have no money cause much of our modern day worrying and pain.
Businesses who are only successful based on profit and loss accounts, bottom lines and monthly sales targets are in a state of dependence, a state of clinging to money as the source of happiness. What if business was able to see their success need not be based on this. That there are other more important and ultimately satisfying ways to feel at ease or happy.
Dr Roger Watts has highlighted 8 therapeutic lifestyle choices or TLCs which lead to healthy happy people and societies.
Diet and nutrition
Relaxation and stress management
Time in nature
Service to others
Religious or spiritual practice
What if business was all about creating environments a where these TLCs were the output for the employees not accumulation of personal and business wealth?
Ever onwards