Of Buddhism And Businesses


A few groups of students interviewed me recently to find out how, if any, does buddhism or buddhist values affect singaporean businesses? Below are some thoughts.

Subtly, Buddhist values such as love, compassion and simplicity has brought awareness to people over the last 25 over centuries. It is said that Steve Job’s iconic style of simplicity in design for Apple products draws inspiration from the Zen Buddhist tradition.

Within the business environment, it is important to know when a decision is legal and when it is
ethical. The two are not always inclusive. It is perfectly legal to retrench a whole division or wrap up a whole subsidiary that is making a loss, but it would be unethical to do so without considering the impact on the staffs whose livelihood depends on the company.

In our drive to increase our margins, we may forget that we are more than simply numbers in a balance sheet or GDP. Having sound material foundation is important, but if a nation, the society only focuses on growth rate and P/L, then it would be akin to buying a car to earn money just to maintain the car and not go anywhere with it.

Life is not just about making money. No, it is not about making money at all. We have much more potential than simply being a cog in this whole well-oiled Singapore Incorporated.

Increasing productivity only helps us consume earth’s resources faster. Making profit is now not enough, having growth in profit making is not enough, do we really need to having growth rate that is double digit? Is that what life is really about?

Whatever beliefs and values we have that is good, wholesome and beneficial to ourselves, our loved ones *and* others, we should seek to better ourselves and pursue them. We should strive to bring happiness and welfare to one and all, and seek to remove suffering from our fellow human beings.