[Buddha-l] buddhisness

Franz Metcalf franz at mind2mind.net
Tue Apr 12 14:28:40 MDT 2011

Hello All,

Being the author of a book applying Buddhist principles to business, I  
thank Timothy Smith and David Living for their defenses of this sort  
of mash-up. I have absolutely no problem (obviously, if I've written a  
book on it) putting Buddha to work. My co-author (a business  
consultant) and I were consistently impressed by the harmony of best  
practices in the sangha and the modern workplace. Articulating and  
operationalizing this harmony, deepening it through bringing in  
further Buddhist insights, seems a very good thing to me.

But Joanna warned,

> I always viewed this trend as a corruption of Buddhist practice
> and teachings, another example of how capitalisim commodifies
> anything, and tries to commodify everything.

I agree with this as well. When Buddhist practices reshape business  
practices I am sanguine. But when business practices reshape Buddhist  
practices I am intensely disturbed. This is why I come down so hard on  
(the now disgraced) Genpo Roshi's Big Mind enterprise, especially in  
its 5-5-50 guise. That is a example of, at least to me, blatant  
commodification of Buddhism, exactly what Joanna warns against. When  
Buddhism is delivered to the people via the mechanisms of  
commodification, it loses its ability to critique the structures of  
capitalism. Very unskillful.

But, to be candid, I've had my share of critics at author events  
taking me to task for what they see as my own contribution to  
commodifying the Buddhadharma. They are not entirely wrong.


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