Being a Bodhisattva at Work

Journal of Human Values 13 (1):43-60 (2007)

This article explores the fit between the lived reality in entrepreneurial organizations and the Buddhist concept of the bodhisattva in order to see whether the juxtaposition of these two very different realities can shed light on the impact of spiritual values in the workplace. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with an array of entrepreneurs who have been practising Buddhists for over three years to see whether they were using core elements of this concept in their daily work and, if so, how they experienced the value and impact of these notions. The interviews showed that it was very much a part of the participants’ daily work lives and seems to be a force in creating a happier, more nourishing work environment. All participants brought up the notion unasked and provided stories describing how their relationships at work were influenced by this and other fundamental aspects of their spiritual practice. The data have implications at the levels of both individual action and societal change. Buddhism has shown a strong ability to retain its core concepts while developing new practices as it moved from one culture to another over the centuries. Perhaps Western societies will prove to be as conducive an environment for the further evolution of Buddhist teachings as was eighth-century Tibet. As Tibet's unique form of aliveness was infused into Buddhism without changing the core constructs or values, perhaps what is alive about Western culture will nourish analogous new forms
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DOI 10.1177/097168580601300106
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