The Monk and the Management Consultant – looking for a synthesis between capitalism and Buddhism

Today’s reading was this little book that comes from a decade of collaboration between two unlikely worlds. The jist of the book is Right Decision Making by taking a truly “long view” in a deeply “interdependent world.” Right decisions come from right view, which lead to right action. Therefore at core of all leadership is right action that benefits all. Systems thinking/holistic viewpoint is to be adopted, along with mindfullness. This means seeing things as they really are, and looking at things from other peoples perspective as well.

Three central concepts have to become instinctual to decision making— cause and effect, interdependence, and impermence

Learn to train the mind to be calm, collected and concentrated. Training the mind must become instinctual like eating food. Calm and collected decisions involves asking ourselves four questions: What is the reality and is it a problem? What is the cause of the problem? What do I want to achieve? How can I arrive at the goal?

If you remember only two concepts after reading this book—Right View and Right Conduct—and keep these two principles vivid in your mind, your decision making will improve, as will your satisfaction with life.

Three sections in the book –

1) Leading Self – best way for a ruler to reign over his country is to first rule himself well. The Six Perfections to leading oneself —often expressed as generosity, ethical discipline, patience, enthusiastic effort, concentration, and wisdom—are of obvious value to all individuals, Meditation is key, and the book discuss’ 5 methods of meditation for indiviuals, as a key method of training the mind.

2) Leading Organization – Several of the CEOs reported that fewer meetings were required because they had learned to concentrate and give their undivided attention to the item at hand.The first step of a leader is to restore faith and purspoe in those one leads.Creating Faith, establish values and make right decisions. The purpose of a business/org cannot be profit, profit is the end result of what you. Pursue happiness of all involved.

3) Leading in an interconnected world – goal of achieving freedom and prosperity for all.

Quotes from the book, that stuck a chord with me

I believe that leaders of religious traditions—with their ability to take a long view of the human condition—should participate in discussions of global business and economics.

The root of happiness is not in what we desire or what we get but somewhere altogether different. It stems from a place of inner contentment that exists no matter what we gain or achieve.

People cannot be truly happy unless they have friendships and good relationships with other people. Furthermore, good relationships are reciprocal.

True leaders have the ability to look at an issue from many perspectives and, based on that expanded view, make the right decisions. They have a calm, collected, and concentrated mind, undisturbed by negative thoughts and emotions, trained and focused. And true leadership recognizes the inevitability of change, the need for a sense of universal responsibility, and the importance of combining an economic system with moral values. That is the leader’s way.

Thinking the right way means making sure that every action is based on the right intention and the right motivation. The right intention is that the action will be beneficial to you and everyone affected by it;The second part recognizes three aspects of reality: impermanence, interdependence, and dependent origination. Buddhism teaches that nothing exists that is permanent; nothing exists that is independent; and nothing exists without a cause.

the root cause of suffering was self-centeredness. Also People would rather deal with a person who is interested in their well-being than with someone who is interested only in him- or herself.

Right View consists of two parts: the decision-making process and the three values or concepts—dependent origination, interdependence, and impermanence—that have to be respected in every decision

The concept of impermanence teaches us that every goal is a moving target.

Right livelihood is important – do not deal in weapons; deal in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter, as well as the slave trade and prostitution); work in meat production and butchery; and selling intoxicants and poisons, such as alcohol and drugs.

The researchers compared the brain maps of 175 people who had never meditated to the brain map of the monk. They found that the monk’s activity in the frontal lobe, which is associated with greater happiness, was higher than that of any of the 175 other people tested. the meditators had 5 percent thicker brain tissue in the prefrontal cortex.4 In other words, meditation had seemingly enlarged the part of the brain that regulates emotion, attention, and working memory.

Buddha considered respect for all to be very important. Buddhists believe that even if a person acts badly, he or she has the potential to become a good person and deserves respect as a human being.

Worth reading slowly, and returning to it from time to time.