Is There a Place for Buddhism in the Workplace? Experiential Sharing from Three Buddhist Business Leaders

By Marques, Joan | Journal of Global Business Issues, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

Is There a Place for Buddhism in the Workplace? Experiential Sharing from Three Buddhist Business Leaders


Marques, Joan, Journal of Global Business Issues


ABSTRACT

Buddhism is considered a religion by some, yet a psychology, philosophy, or science by others. In recent decades, Buddhism has gained tremendous interest, partly due to the fact that individuals worldwide have been exposed at a greater level than ever before to alternative perspectives, but abo due to the global travels and enhanced visibility of the Dalai Lama, and the ongoing issues between China and Tibet. This article will review whether Buddhism has a place in the world of work. As part of a larger study project, three Buddhist business leaders, two American and one Tibetan, were interviewed in-depth, and the findings will be presented.

Introduction

This paper presents a comparison among three Buddhist business leaders that were interviewed in-depth, as part of a more comprehensive study on the applicability of Buddhist practices in the workplace. For discretion purposes, the names of the leaders will not be revealed, yet their work environment will be described. Subsequently, the common factors detected in the interviews with these three Buddhist business leaders will be presented, with inclusion of an illustrative table and figure. The purpose of presenting these common factors is for members of the workplace as well as researchers to determine the achievability of Buddhist practices at successful work environments.

Buddhism in a Nutshell

Buddhism, the religion founded by Gautama Siddharta around 527 BC, has gained high interest in past decades due to reasons varying from the increased access to other cultures and mindsets, increased dissatisfaction with the status quo, as well as increased visibility of the Tibetan Buddhist leader, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

Part of what makes Buddhism so interesting is that it is perceived in different lights by different people. Lama Yeshe (1985) explains the possible reasons behind this perceptional divergence:

"When we study Buddhism, we are studying ourselves, the nature of our own minds. Instead of focusing on a supreme being, Buddhism emphasizes more practical matter, such as how to lead our lives, how to integrate our minds, and how to keep our everyday lives peaceful and healthy. In other words, Buddhism always accentuates experiential knowledge-wisdom, rather than some dogmatic view." (p. 5)

Lama Yeshe (1998) points out that many Buddhist scholars don't see Buddhism as a religion in the conventional sense. He explains that, from many lamas' points of view, Buddhist teachings are often related to philosophy, science, or psychology. Johansen and Kopalakrishna (2006) concur with Lama Yeshe and many other Buddhist Lama's perspectives about Buddhism as a philosophy or a psychology. They content that Buddhism presents a specific worldview and way of living that leads to personal understanding, happiness, and development. They describe Buddhism as a moral, ethical, value-based, scientific, educational system, that serves the purpose of enabling its observers to see things in their true nature, which will, in turn, help them get rid of suffering and attain happiness for themselves and as many others. Johansen and Kopalakrishna underscore that, although Buddhism allows for supernatural beings, it is non-theocratic. The Buddha is not worshipped as a god but revered as an enlightened teacher.

While there are two main schools in Buddhism today, Theravada, or teaching of the elders, and Mahayana, or great vehicle, the overarching beliefs and principles are similar for both. The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path are main guidelines of life for all Buddhists.

Rahula (1959) explains the Four Noble Truths as: i. Dukkha, 2. Samudya, the arising or origin of Dukkha, 3. Nirodha, the cessation of Dukkha, and 4. Magga, the way leading to the cessation of dukkha. Some further explanation on the Four Noble Truths may be helpful in understanding them.

Rahula (1959) points out that the First Noble Truth is considered by almost all scholars as 'The Noble Truth of Suffering'.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Is There a Place for Buddhism in the Workplace? Experiential Sharing from Three Buddhist Business Leaders
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.