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Sri Lanka's business community explores links between religion and management techniques

Lanka Business Online (LBO), Sept 28, 2007

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Five traits described in Buddhism which do not help achieve goals in life are also well suited for business and management, a top Sri Lankan management professional said.

Restlessness, arrogance, procrastination, indulgence and doubt are traits that cloud one's mind and judgment when trying to achieve goals.

"These five are described in a very advanced spiritual development context in Buddhism. These are five design defects in human beings," Deepal Sooriyaarachchi, managing director of Eagle Insurance said in what was seen as an unconventional presentation at the LBR-LBO CEO forum.

The case study which Sooriyaarachchi described was his own and how he failed his Advance Level examination owing to the five traits.

"I can see I bring these five reasons to my management life," he said.

"We are not focused sometimes, we do not want to hear the bad story, we kill the messenger and we always look for evidence to convince ourselves of what we know." These, Sooriyaarachchi said, are traits of restlessness and arrogance.

Postponing meetings or work schedules at a business shows procrastination.

Low productivity in organization because too many people are employed than needed to complete a task is indulgence.

"Doubt means you do not have confidence in the strategy."

He said there are roughly four ways - ethical, prescriptive, interpretative and intra personal view (spiritual) - to approach religious or ancient wisdom to use with business.

In the ethical view, you are told not to do something bad, mainly due to fear of the consequences which is quite popular and widely practiced, Sooriyaarachchi said.

The prescriptive approach is the way religion can be used in a regulatory view in business.

The interpretative view, Sooriyaarachchi said, is how wisdom in Buddhism that was not mentioned in the context of business situations can be used in organizations.

The definition of prosperity in Buddhism is called atthi sukha (happiness of ownership), bhoga sukha (happiness of having wealth) anana sukha (happiness of freedom from debt) and anavajja sukha (happiness of blamelessness).

"This was not for business people. This was written for lay (normal) people and we use this definition when we motivate our sales agents," Sooriyaarachchi said.



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