Buddhist Business Practice

You’re bound to become a Buddha if you practice.
 If water drips long enough
 Even rocks wear through.
 It’s not true thick skulls can’t be pierced;
 People just imagine their minds are hard.

Shih-Wu (1272-1352)

You don’t have to retreat to a mountain hut with walls of rice-paper, as did Shih-Wu, in order to become a Buddha. You don’t even have to become a Buddhist and study the scriptures.

It’s not necessary to become a hermit to relate to all sentient beings. Being in-tune with the world and helping others to become liberated is a rewarding experience.

As well as living as a hermit Shih-Wu also spent much of his life as the abbot of a monastery. Such places were huge institutions, in his day, and just as full of jealousies, politics, and the difficulties of today’s modern society.

To be a Buddha means to be awake. To live life moment by moment and experience it anew for what it is. It’s not about chanting ancient incantations, writing poetry on rice-paper, or making candles, which were the arts and technologies of Shih-Wu’s day.

It’s neither about book learning, nor intellectual grasp of truths.

Quoting Peter Drucker or Seth Godin does’t make you good at business, and being able to recant the Sutras can’t make you awaken.

Buddhist business practice means relating to others through actions and example. We follow the golden rule not because we choose to, but because, for us, no other way presents itself.

Spirituality that is embodied, true, and real, willingly surrenders its gifts. The best and most effective way for spirituality is living without cause.

Shih-Wu’s philosophy suggests, it isn’t good practice to better yourself, improve skills, get over an emotional shock, lose weight, stop smoking, or develop a character quality. It’s a completely unbounded way of being in which the distinction between you and others dissolves.

Remarkably, technology has developed to a place where MRIs and PET scans show our brains’ abilities to form new connections throughout life enabling us to remain flexible even in adverse situations. Experiments in quantum theory also suggest that there is a non-substantial non-physical element to each of us, in which we’re all interconnected in a similar way to how our brains work.

Shih-Wu intuited all this. Would he be a hermit, or an abbot today? No one can say. I am sure, however, that there are many business people who share Shih-Wu’s abilities, and intuitively administer services and develop products and thus liberate whilst contributing to the richness of life.

“Nothing is better than being free
 but getting free is not luck.”

You will not find your image in a mirror, but in the faces of your friends, family, customers, and the world around you.

E.F. Schumacher speaks on Buddhist Economics

Comments ( 3 )
  • Amanda Knight says:

    I imagine then Business Buddhas practice the art of being present? Great discussion point Stephen!   Amanda

  • Irem Bray says:

    To my mind it’s a perceptual shift. There is choice. It’s far more limited than many imagine.

    The bliss is in being without purpose.

    The purpose is to enable all to enjoy bliss.

    That’s the dance Amanda 🙂


  • Amanda Knight says:

    That’s beautiful Irem. The perception of being separate creates the pain. Being in the flow, a ‘bubble in the sea of consciousness’, yes Stephen that is the dance! And seeing with innocent eyes, experiencing the awe, the wonder, the magic as life unfolds.

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