Is There a Place Buddhism in the Workplace?

men and women coworkers sharing ideas at meeting

Many people wrongly believe Buddhism to be a religion, when in fact, it is more of a way of living a good life and practice to follow along the lines of Sanatana Dharma – the eternal natural way. Buddhism in general has much to offer the world, and many of its major tenets and guidance have even entered the mainstream working environment in efforts to help employees make a living, but more harmoniously.

 

So, what can you take from Buddhism to help create a better workplace? It’s really about the dharma philosophy and worldview, which can help you put your thoughts and emotions in perspective for less stress and greater productivity.

 

Letting Go Of Anger

 

There is a saying that “holding onto anger is like holding on to a burning ember, the only person it hurts is the one holding on to it”. This basically means that the longer you nurse a grudge, the more damage it’s going to do to you mentally – and in terms of your productivity. Let it go and throw it away as far as possible. While this is easier said than done, emotions such as anger, worry, and stress will never change the outcome of a situation for the better.

 

Meditate For success

 

Meditation has been shown to reduce the number of stress hormones released by the body and create a more sound body and mind. You don’t need to sit on your floor and cross your arms and legs while humming, but you do want somewhere quiet to go. Take 5 minutes to sit with your thoughts, take in the silence, and focus your mind on positive outcomes. Practicing with a silent “breathed” mantra can help keep you dialed in when your mind wants to wander.  Meditation truly can change your outlook on things and help make for a better life.

 

Mindfulness Matters

 

While the daily grind of work may seem to pass by slowly, think back on the last couple of years on the job, or maybe at a previous employer: didn’t the time seem to fly by?  Do you feel like you maximized the potential of those millions of moments, or the potential for your workplace relationships?

It’s very easy to slip out of living in-the-moment.  Buddhism is all about mindfulness and taking not only your own actions into account, but the actions of everyone and everything around you. You need to become more aware of the things you say, the way you say them, and the actions you perform. All too often, people disregard the feelings of those around them, but those around them are their colleagues and teammates. Be considerate, be present, and watch as that consideration returns tenfold.

 

Sharing Is Caring

 

Buddhism encourages the sharing of everything with others, especially when it comes to food and drink. Sharing your food with your colleagues shows a caring side to you, which will rub off on them. To share the very things that give us life is to share our lives with those around us. We are taught as children to share our toys, share our snacks, share our crayons, but as we get older we forget how to share and only think about our own desires.  This also applies to work projects – share responsibility and success by collaborating with teammates.

 

Review the Entire Day

 

At the end of each day, take time to sit back and review all of the main actions and words which come to mind. Were you always constructive with your speech? What triggered you to feel stressed or anxious? Taking note of all of these allow you to avoid negative impacts in the future while putting those positive attributes into practice on a daily basis. With each daily review, you will not only begin to better understand your colleagues, but you will gain a better knowledge of yourself.  Take it up a notch by journalizing these discoveries.

 

Don’t think that you can’t bring Buddhist practices into work because of the religious sensitivity of the day. Buddhism is a lifestyle that enriches the lives of all those it touches – Buddhists or otherwise. There’s no call for bringing prayer onto the job, or any of the other more esoteric sides of Buddhist practice – only reflection on your actions and how they affect you and those around you. After just a short period of time once you’ve consistently initiated some of these mindfulness practices, you will notice real changes in the attitudes of those around you, but most importantly in yourself.

 

What Are the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism?

four noble truths buddhism

 

If you’re interested in Buddhism and what it can add to your life, you’re on a good path. This religion is founded on the teachings of Buddha, who lived twenty-five hundred years ago. He taught his followers about human suffering and also explained to them exactly where this type of suffering comes from. In addition, he showed people common-sense methods for minimizing or eliminating their own suffering. Students who used his methods of easing suffering on a consistent basis moved towards a state of enlightenment known as Nirvana. These primary elements of the Buddha’s teachings are the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

 

Here we share information about each Noble Truth.

 

Dukka (The Truth of Suffering)

 

The First Noble Truth of Buddhism is that all human beings are subject to suffering. Reasons for suffering vary. Everyone suffers and understanding that suffering is universal is the foundation upon which the path to enlightenment is founded. Without considering that fact that there will always be things that hurt us, and knowing that suffering is an integral aspect of the human condition, we cannot know ourselves (and others) well enough to find the right ways to handle suffering.

 

Samudaya (The Truth of the Cause of Suffering)

 

Age, sickness, the prospect of death and the pain caused by the deaths of others all cause suffering, as do desire and greed. As well, hate and the urge to cause destruction are causes of suffering. Delusion and ignorance also trigger the sense of loss. The Buddha encouraged his followers to self-examine by thinking about how they might, even unconsciously, be bringing new suffering into their lives via their own thoughts, feelings and actions.

 

When you contemplate this Second Noble Truth of Buddhism, and begin to ease out of behaviors which are triggers for suffering, you will move forward.

 

Rooting out desire, greed, hatred, destructive urges, delusions and ignorance won’t be easy. However, doing so will help you to live a better life which doesn’t provoke as many negative emotions. While aging can’t be avoided and sickness is often beyond our control (as is death, most of the time), understanding the truth of the cause of suffering will prepare you to end your own misery, by practicing the Third Noble Truth.

 

Nirhodha (The Truth of the End of Suffering)

 

The Third Noble Truth of Buddhism is that the key to ending distress is development a mindset of non-attachment. It’s all about recognizing the causes of suffering and choosing to live life in a way that is more detached. Since most emotional pain stems from our attachments (romantic relationships which don’t measure up to our expectations are just one example), letting go of these attachments, while still honoring other people, is the truth of the end of suffering.

 

It’s fine and good to care about others. Non-attachment doesn’t mean not caring. It’s not lack of compassion. Buddhists value compassion greatly. Those who practice non-attachment understand that no one can be owned and that everything is temporary. They find mental balance by not getting too attached to people, things, money and other common triggers for suffering. When they detach, the triggers lose their power. Non-attachment actually breeds compassion.

 

Magga (The Truth of the Path That Frees Us from Suffering)

 

The secret of achieving enlightenment (Nirvana) is taking the Middle Path. This is the Fourth Noble Truth of Buddhism. The middle path is an “eightfold” path, which is about embracing a positive attitude that is free of anger and greed, speaking the right way (no lies, gossip or mean words), righteous actions (no destruction of life, no stealing and no cheating on spouses), doing work that doesn’t harm oneself or other people, making an honest effort in the correct direction, remaining attentive and aware (right mindfulness) and steadying and calming the mind, in order to see the truth in things.

 

Now that you know more about these four truths and how they benefit mankind why not follow the Buddha’s instructions with regular meditation upon these important truths to help you move towards enlightenment? Studying practical Buddhism regularly will help you to stay on track. This religion has helped so many people to become happier and to achieve their spiritual destinies, by living peaceful and good lives.

Discover Important (and Fun) Buddhist Festivals and Holidays

If you are new to the path you may be pleasantly surprised that Buddhists often participate in festivals and holidays which honor key events in the life of the Buddha. These special days may also honor important events in the lives of an array of Bodhisattvas.

buddhist holidays

 

Dates for these Buddhist events vary based on tradition and country. It’s interesting to note that the dates do follow the lunar calendar.

Festival days are usually joyful events for participants and they tend to start with visits to local temples. At the temples, food or other offerings are given to Buddhist monks. As well, participants usually listen to talks about Dharma.

In the afternoon, Buddhists might give out food to the needy, with a mind to gaining merit. They might also walk around their temples a trio of times, to pay homage to the “three jewels” (the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha), meditation and chanting.

The act of walking around the temple is called circumambulating.

Now, let’s look at ten events which have important spiritual significance.

The Buddhist New Year

The date of this sacred day may vary based on country. In Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka (these are the Theravedin nations), the Buddhist New Year starts on the initial full moon day in the month of April and continues for three days. In nations which are Mahayana, the Buddhist New Year typically begins on the initial full moon day in the month of January.

Most Tibetan Buddhists honor this sacred day during the month of March.

The Buddha Day (Vesak)

The Buddha Day is a sacred day which is also known as Vesak and it’s a special occasion which honors the date of birth of the Buddha. This festival is commonly considered to be the most important of all Buddhist festivals! Vesak (The Buddha Day) begins on the initial full moon day of the month of May. Buddhists all over the globe honor the birth of the Buddha, as well as his enlightenment and passing, over the course of just one day.

The word, Vesak, is an Indian word for the Indian month in which the festival is held.

Fourfold Assembly Day (Sangha Day)

This meaningful Buddhist holiday may also be known as Magha Puja Day. This special day honors a special event, which was Buddha’s visit to an Indian monastery in Rakagaha. The name of the monastery was Veruvana Monastery. According to Buddhist history, twelve hundred and fifty “perfect persons” (arhats) returned from their journeys on the day that the Buddha visited the monastery.

Fourfold Assembly Day is held on the initial full moon day of the month of March.

Asalha Puja Day (Dhamma Day)

This Buddhist holiday is known as Asalha Puja Day or Dhamma Day. It recognizes the very first sermon that the Buddha gave, which was called, “Turning the Wheel of the Dharma”. This sermon was delivered at a location known as Sarnath Deer Park. If you wish to celebrate this Buddhist holiday, you may do so when the moon is full in the month of July.

Uposatha (Observance Day)

This special day is called Uposatha or Observance Day. It signifies all of the group of four traditional holy days per month, which remain observed in nations which are Theravada. Theravada is a branch of Buddhism. The four holy days happen on new moon, quarter moon and full moon days. Sri Lankans call Upsatha by another name (Poya Day).

Robe Offering Ceremony (Kathina Ceremony)robe offering

The Robe Offering Ceremony (also known as Kathina Ceremony) may be held on any date which convenient, as long as the date falls within a single month of the end of the Vassa season (monthly rains retreat season). During this day, non-monastics, who are also called the laity, offer brand-new robes and a range of other necessary items to nuns and monks.

 

Loy Krathong (Festival of Floating Bowls)

When the Kathin Festival period concludes, and the canals and rivers are filled with water, this Buddhist festival is held throughout Thailand, on the evening o the full moon, during the 12th lunar month. During the festival, people offer bowls crafted from leaves, which are filled with incense sticks, blossoms and candles, and then float the bowls upon the waters. When they do, bad luck is supposed to depart.

Originally, the practice of floating bowls was done in order to pay respect to the Buddha’s holy footprint, which was found on a beach near India’s Namada River.

The Elephant Festival

The Buddha utilized a story about a wild elephant who was harnessed to a tame elephant in order to show people that new Buddhists should be assisted by older ones. To honor the meaning of this story and the Buddha’s views on helping others who are interested in Buddhism, an Elephant Festival is held on the 3rd Saturday of the month of November.

The Festival of the Tooth

There is a large temple in Sri Lanka which is found on a compact hill. It was constructed in order to become the resting place of the Buddha’s tooth. The relic cannot be viewed. It’s stored deep within a series of caskets. Every year, in the month of August, when the moon is full, a procession honors the tooth and its spiritual significance.

Ulambana (Ancestor Day)

In nations which are Mayahana, Buddhists believe that hell’s gates open up on the first day of the 8th lunar month (September or October, depending on the lunar year). It’s believed that the opened gates of hell allow spirits (ghosts) to visit earth for fifteen days.

During Ancestor Day, offerings of food are made which are given in order to ease the sufferings of these wandering spirits. On the 15th day of Ulambana, people go to cemeteries and give offerings to their ancestors who have passed away. A lot of Theravadins in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos observe Ancestor Day.