View Full Version : How can Buddhism & Work Place co-exist?

27 Feb 15, 10:27
This is my first time posting and I think a lot of people have ever ask similar question before. I had met a sales manager (who was sent by his boss that came previously) in the Vapassana Center. He was greatly touch by what he learned and he ask: "How can I work and keep my precept? I am a sales, how do I not lie?". I did answered him from my own understanding, that first think of it as a challenging game how you no need to lie and still keep the customer/make sales. Furthermore, if you are honest with your customer, you will build a relationship that last longer. Also if you show your customers or business partners that you are a morale upholding individual, they would trust you in the business and this sometimes are more worthwhile than the cheapest price. It can be a solid foundation for lasting and sustainable business relation, and the good karma in return is that they stay with you longer. However it is not easy, high risk = high return :)

But that same questions been hanging on my mind, as manager in a corporate, I need to reach target and manage people. How can I apply Buddhism in managing business to improve it growth and secondly how do I avoid business to affect my spiritual journey? How could we make these two align instead of conflicting. For example in certain culture or industry, bringing customers to entertain by drinking (alcohol) seem to be included in the Job Description.

Please share your ideas whether it is Human resource management, Sales and Marketing, Negotiating, or others. Nice story from your own experience also truly be appreciated.

27 Feb 15, 22:55
I would say start with understanding the Eightfold Path. And from there as your doubts/questions become more specific ask away. The best way I feel to deal with people is sincere kindness, and compassion. Take your practice seriously; so no intoxicating drinks or lying, and meditate.

28 Feb 15, 02:58
For example in certain culture or industry, bringing customers to entertain by drinking (alcohol) seem to be included in the Job Description.

Hi Azone,

You don't have to drink alcohol yourself you can have fruitjuice or a soft drink - and maybe some of the customers might even follow your example!

In general, you might find something helpful in "A Constitution for Living" by Ven. P.A. Payutto:


and also there's what the Buddha had to say in DN 31 Sigalovada Sutta: The Layperson's Code of Discipline..



15 Jul 15, 14:23
I was from marketing communications/advertising in the corporate sector, as well as communications in NGOs.

At my last job doing content marketing for MNCs in a small company, I was surrounded by very good people, including a boss who was spiritual and mindful. Though not religious, he was an inspiring leader who brought compassion and respect into all aspects of his communications with everybody, be it the gossipmonger with a fiery temper or the young intern who was jittery about his second internship (after getting abused at his first internship location!). My team was cooperative, friendly with a wicked sense of humour. For the first time in my life, I thought to myself, "I can do this. I can make this 'for-profit' job work. I can earn a decent wage and be fulfilled after all."

But I couldn't. At the end of the day, the purpose of communications/advertising is to create fear and desire. I became conscious that my role was to convince companies that bigger digital threats are looming, and they better get the latest server/cyberdefense software, never mind that they had already spent thousands on a new one last year. Our team prided ourselves on communicating messages, helping consumers be aware, but I saw it as creating a relentless appetite for consumption. I would be writing copy for the latest IXM product and read how the company has axed hundreds of people in a country so as to move to a new country where wages are even lower, never mind it is already earning obscene profits, never mind its CEO and directors are paid way more than the most of the staff combined.

But that's how I chose to see it. I can only share with you my point of view. My ex-colleagues, who are kind and amazing, are still there, being kind to everyone they meet daily and still writing to help companies communicate and consumers be aware of their choices.

I didn't like working in human rights NGOs because they did not espouse the values they speak of. That's how idealistic I am. Also, it was our business to make sure that we don't paint governments in overly good light - this is a very valid reason, because politicians are eager to make sure they hide their shady businesses, and have resources way more immense than NGOs do. But being in communications, it felt like I was producing poverty porn, rather than aiming for a fair balance of stories on the triumphs and the disappointments. I have to say, the main reason why I left it is because I wanted to produce my own content, reflective of my own thoughts and values, than to repurpose the work of others which have been negotiated by dozens, according to their world views/agendas.

For this reason, after ten years of working, I am completely bowing out of communications, the business of persuading people.