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Compassionate Business
by Matt Williamson
2007-09-03 09:40:17
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I wonder how many CEO's would consider the companies they run as compassionate? How many corporations would be classified as 'right', as in, the Eightfold Path right?

  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration.
I won't go in to what the Eightfold Path means, because I am not a teacher and because there are very eloquent commentaries on the net already. (links: Google, big view) And I like this answer that Za Choeje Rinpoche gave:


Q: What is the Eightfold Path?

Rinpoche: The Eightfold Path is right view, right part, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. The right view is understanding the world and oneself in a realistic way. Right part is positive ideas or notions within our mental state. Right speech is speaking with respectful truth and for the welfare of others. Right action is acting with the respect for life, property, and relationships. Right livelihood is living virtuously and meditatively. Right effort is cultivating positive attitudes in our study, and practice. Right mindfulness is maintaining full awareness of our inner and outer environment. Right concentration is observing an object with full attention.

from A Buddhist Library at this link
OK, so back to my initial musings about companies and business in general. Looking around at the market place today I am hard pressed to find companies that take a respectful approach to consumers. Maybe that is the reason though, companies today do not see people as a 'person', but rather as numbers, just 'consumers'.

I wonder what kind of company Shakyamuni Buddha would start today? Healthcare, nutrition, media maybe, I don't know. But I would invest, and I bet others would too.

That is the answer! I got it. We need to invest in companies that practice compassion. I just Googled that and found some companies who do not test on animals, so that is a start.

The I saw this book in the search results and read about it at Amazon: Compassionate Capitalism: How Corporations Can Make Doing Good an Integral Part of Doing Well. How cool is that? Gonna buy it.

Enough ranting today, I just think we can do better. Instead of spending $339 million dollars on another F-22 Raptor, maybe we can build a school?
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Emanuel Paparella2007-09-03 10:26:23
Challenging and insightful musings, Matt. Thanks. Compassionate Capitalism sounds like an oxymoron but I will not judge a book by its title so I refrain from any comment on it, it may well be a paradox rather than an oxymoron; except to say that the track record of politicians who go around mouthing platitudes about "compassionate conservatism" is not very promising. That was one of President's Bush facile slogans of his 2000 campaign. The only ones who seem to have experienced his compassion in the last eight years are the rich, given that the gap between rich and poor has substantially widened during his presidency. But then again, a man who can come up with profundities such as: "If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure," can hardly be expected to know the difference between an oxymoron and a paradox. He may even confuse brotherhood and solidarity for Big Brother. Argumentum ad hominem? Perhaps, but irresistible!

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