Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Buddhist Business Owner- Using the Eight-Fold Path to Guide your Business- Right Livelihood

Right Livelihood

This means a way of earning money and a lifestyle which does not harm other beings and, preferably, benefits them.

Buddhism teaches that the following ways of earning money are wrong.

Anything to do with making
  • weapons and warfare.
  • Any business which exploits its workers or controls them like slaves.
  • Any business which produces poisons or pollutes the environment.
  • Trade in meat, fish or the killing of living creatures.
  • Trade in alcohol or addictive drugs.
  • Any job which involves telling lies or deceiving customers or misleading advertising or high-pressure salesmanship.

Buddhism teaches that you should do what you can to reduce the harm you do to the environment and the natural world.

Buddhism also teaches that you shouldn’t seek lots of expensive things which you don’t really need. The latter can lead to you wasting your life working for these possessions or looking after them or running up debts which then mess up your life.



There's not much I can say to augment this section....

Greed, lying and carelessness are not Buddhist virtues and should not be part of a good Buddhist business plan.

This sweet felted Buddha comes from the Etsy shop The Drying Rack.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Buddhist Business Owner- Using the Eight Fold Path to Guide Your Business- Right Action

Right Action

  • Buddhism teaches to try hard to avoid killing any living creatures, including insects. While you cannot always succeed in this, you should show consideration for living creatures whenever possible. You should let wasps out of windows, for instance, rather than killing them. If you see a line of ants across a path, you should take the trouble to step over them. Buddhism is against all killing for sport, like hunting.
  • You should not take from anyone else anything which they do not want to give you. This means much more than not stealing. It also means that you don’t pressure or trick people to give you things or do you favors which you know they don’t really want to give.
  • Buddhism teaches that when men and women have close relationships, like marriage, this should be with only one partner at a time. Only if they have ended a relationship, should a person seek another partner - not at the same time.
  • Another Buddhist teaching is not to get drunk on alcohol or other drugs. One reason is that, once drunk, people much more easily get angry or speak hurtfully to other people or do other harmful or destructive things.


How you conduct your business will effect how successful you are.

Now I realize many people run a business and don't care how they make their profits. These business owners do make a lovely profit even though they treat people and the environment badly. But I'm hoping if your reading this you want to be an ethical business owner and that you realize that you eventually pay for the harm you do in this life.

1. Be honest about what supplies you're actually using, and how much you are actually spending on them. Perhaps using recycled, cruelty free supplies should be an ultimate goal for you as a Buddhist. But, each of you need to use your own judgement as to what you feel is right.

2. Treat your customers fairly. Make sure you cover your costs of supplies, time etc, but don't overcharge or delay in shipping something out. If you dislike doing custom orders, just say so, don't lead the client on and waste your time and theirs. Don't renege on your stated shop policies.

3. Advertise your wares honestly. Do not downgrade others work to boost your own sales. You end up looking petty and dishonest.

4. Run your business honestly. Cheating or abusing your suppliers, customers and employees may make you extra profits or make you feel powerful, but eventually you will pay for the harm you cause.

What other ideas do YOU have about running a business in an ethical fashion?
This stunning digital collage can be found in Ancientartizen's etsy shop.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Buddhist Business Owner-Using the Eight-Fold Path to Guide Your Business- Right Speech

Right Speech

  • Buddhism teaches you to train yourself to be truthful.
  • Likewise to train yourself not to speak to anyone in a wounding, hurtful way. Sometimes people can be hurt very deeply by things which other people say to them – sometimes more than by physical blows. Whilst you should always speak the truth, Buddhism teaches that you should think up ways of doing this which are not hurtful.
  • Also, it’s important never say things to people in order to stir up anger or suspicion against someone else or to break up someone else’s friendship.
  • When you’ve nothing to say, it’s fine to be silent. It is not helpful to fill up other people’s minds with pointless chatter.
The first principle of ethical conduct - What you say and how you say it is going to effect your business....period.

1. Who are you selling to? The answer to this question will give you the idea about the vocabulary is appropriate. Gear your speech to the situation.

2.Learn to critique an employee or customer situation in a positive way. For every fault or problem you need to correct find one positive trait that can be complimented. Never correct employees in a public setting or in a demeaning manner.

3.Refrain from gossiping about other workers or customers.

4. Do not disparage the work or skills of other sellers. You will only look ill mannered for hurling insults.

A true follower of Buddha speaks truthfully, but in a warm and gentle fashion....and only when really necessary.

This bold black and white photo can be found in the Etsy Shop Bomobob.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Buddhist Business Owner- Using the Eight-Fold Path to Guide your Business- Right Motivation

Right Motivation

Naturally many people first get interested in Buddhism because they are seeking peace and happiness for themselves.

But Buddhism teaches that, to obtain long-lasting peace and happiness for yourself, you need to help the people around you to obtain peace and happiness too. One reason is that we all affect each other so much. Other people’s troubles can soon become your troubles.

If you are to truly follow Buddhism, your motivation needs gradually to change. You need to become less interested in how Buddhism can make you happier and more interested in to how Buddhism can enable you to make other people happier.

It takes time to develop this more unselfish motivation and it’s only natural that many people don’t have it at the beginning. Buddhism teaches methods for encouraging yourself to want to benefit other people.



DO You Have the WILL to Change?

1. Free yourself from those traits that you know are wrong or not ethical. You should be free from ill will and harmless in your intent.

2. What is your intention when you plan to do something in your life or create something for your business.
What kind of materials do you use in your work? Are they recyclables or made yourself or bought from local businesses, or supplies made by the gross in over seas sweat shops? Trying to be aware of what kind of products you're using as supplies in your work shows your motivation.

3. How do you deal with your customers and other sellers can also show your motivation.
Are your prices covering your expenses and supplies etc fairly? Do you create custom pieces and do you ship in a timely manner? Are you concerned with your own work and doing your best or are you bad mouthing or underselling your competition to gain sales?

Commit yourself to the path of good will and harmlessness to others and you will be on you way to being a good business owner.

How do you show right motivation in your business?

The Beautiful Blue Eyed Buddha photo is from the Etsy shop A World Named Alex.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Buddhist Business Owner-Using the Eight-Fold Path to Guide Your Business: The Right Understanding

Right Understanding

I was looking for some basic info on Buddhism to explain my way of thinking to an on-line friend of mine. While this statement below that I found explains the first path - right understanding to me, I'd like to add some concrete ideas and maybe some anecdotes from my own or your experience.

Please feel free to use the comments section or if you'd like to write a post on any of these 8 topics, let me know.

Right Understanding

This means finding out about all the basic Buddhist teachings and then checking with your own experience to see whether each teaching makes sense. Buddhism says that for real understanding you need to see for yourself that Buddhist teachings are true.

So one part of Right Understanding is finding out about all the basic ideas in Buddhism.

The other part is testing them in your everyday life to see for yourself if they make sense. You should not just try to believe what you are told.

Elsewhere in the Noble Eightfold Path, in Right Speech and Right Action, you will see guidelines for behavior like avoiding telling lies and avoiding killing insects. This is not to please any god, since there are no gods in Buddhism. Right Understanding means that you try out following these guidelines and see how they affect you and other people. Only then can you truly understand why they matter.


I see this as going to source material and learning about how Buddha defined suffering and how to deal with it positively.

A Buddhist sees suffering as life in general really....being born, growing old, being unhappy, grieving, being in any kind of pain or despair. It can also mean not succeeding in getting what you want in life.

Want creates suffering and the ending of want ends a person's suffering.

Things to consider that will help you in right understanding .....

1. Karma-- Every action, whether it be wholesome or unwholesome will have a positive or negative effect on your world.

2. Your time in this body is temporary...everything comes to an end eventually.

Wrong understanding rises from ignorance, wrong intentions, speech, actions, employment, effort, mindfulness and wrong concentration.

Right understanding rises from a mind that is not rigid, but one that is creative and open to new ideas.


Now what does this little post have to do with running a business? Well, you tell me.


Note: This photo of this beautiful Buddha is from the Etsy shop Buddhabuilder.