Are you someone who is guided by beliefs and values? Well, we all have been a part of beliefs and values since our birth. Remember the time when you were a child and smeared all colours on the wall. You might have been told not to do it as it is a bad habit. Or the time when you were old enough to distinguish between right and wrong. This ability to distinguish only came to you with the early learnings. Where do these beliefs, ethics and values stem from? Religion is the possible answer to this query. Religion has been a part of our society for centuries, and with each passing day, it only grows its devotees. From religion grows beliefs, and from ideas grow values of living. It guides our behaviours, approaches and actions in the social-cultural system. In a world with seven billion people, it is highly expected that we follow different religions, just like how we have other senses of fashion. Today, we have different religions coexisting in the name of peace and harmony. 

Buddhism, the world’s fourth-largest religion, has its origin in the 6th or 4th centuries BCE. It stemmed from the teachings of “Buddha”, the “Awakened One”. It had a vast influence, particularly in East and Southeast Asia. This religion grew first in India and then spread to countries like China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Singapore, Tibet and Kalmykia. The spiritual teacher, “Buddha”, was born as Siddharta Gautama in Lumbini in Kapilavastus, a town in Ganges Plain, close to the Nepal-India border. Gautam Buddha was moved by the sufferings that always rose with every birth cycle. To detach all the woes from every life, he sought liberation, which became a goal in Buddhism, known as Nirvana. It refers to the peace and joy that only comes in giving up one’s personal desires. Buddha also brought in the principles of meditation and philosophy, naming the meditative attainment as “sphere of nothingness”. He practised severe asceticism, including fasting and several methods of breath control. When all these principles were falling short, he went in for the cycle of dhyana. He sat in meditation under the Ficus Religiosa tree, which is now known as the Bodhi tree. Under this tree, Buddha attained the “Awakening”. In this Awakened state, he found the working of Karma and achieved the ways of ending mental sufferings. Over time, with Buddha’s preachings spreading across the worlds, many of his avid followers interpreted the teachings differently. Today, Buddhism can be classified into three, Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism. 

Business and Entrepreneurship are cores of development and progress in the country. These two fields involve various strategies and plannings, according to the different business profiles and entrepreneurs. Can religious practices and beliefs lead you to success if you are a business personality or an entrepreneur? It might sound like two different streets, but it is possible. A business person or an entrepreneur can believe in religiously influenced practices. Buddhism brings in the crucial techniques for the people involved in enterprises and allows them to follow the right mindset. Here are some of the known faces from the business and entrepreneurship world which have adopted the principles of Buddhism.

Pierre Omidyar

Founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar, is a follower of the preaching of Buddhism and strongly follows the Buddhist Monk, Dalai Lama. Forbes named him the 24th richest person in the world. Pierre is a self philanthropist. He operates the Omidyar network- a philanthropic investment firm designed to harness the power of markets to create opportunities for people to improve their lives. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $992 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including Property Rights, Governance & Citizen Engagement, Education, Financial Inclusion and Consumer & Internet Mobile. He staunchly holds a belief in the principle of giving and working for human opportunities. 

  • Jack Ma Yun

Founder of the massive network Alibaba, Jack Ma Yun is a firm believer in Buddhism and Taoism. Both these philosophies are about humility and serving. Jack Ma says that his work has three objectives which he calls to be his religion. The first one is that he is least bothered about technology. Second, for him, the customers and employees are the first priority. Third, he believes that “Small is Beautiful”. This can be linked to his beliefs, overpowered by Buddhism and Taoism. The religion advocates happiness in small things and the need to serve people. There is no doubt that such views have made him establish a platform that deals with eCommerce, online auction, cloud computing, and social media. 

  • Christine Comaford

An American author, businesswoman and serial entrepreneur, Christine Comaford was a Buddhist monk after dropping out of high school. She practised the religion for seven years. She founded the Leadership and Cultural Coach with SmartTribes Institute to help leaders navigate growth and change. Her institute specializes in Neuroleadership Training. She created OneTribe Foundation, a charitable foundation that donates 5% of SmartTribes Institute’s annual revenue to charitable causes each year. This reinforces her idea of giving back to society, which is one of the principles of Buddhism. She has served on the board of advisors or directors at more than 36 startups throughout her career while also being an angel investor or venture capitalist for over 200 startups.

  • Arianna Huffington

The Huffington Post founder, Arianna Huffington, is also the CEO of Thrive Global and an author of 15 books. Her blog site quickly became one of the most widely read, linked to and cited media brands on the web. Arianna, since her teenage years, has been an avid meditator. She describes her experience of meditation to be relaxing and letting her body breathe. She says that meditation has helped her senses and mind to open and meet the world. She believes that meditation, a pillar of Buddhism, has let her fearless of failure and love her life more. In August 2016, she launched Thrive Global, a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. 

These leaders of a world which purely believes in profit maximization and materialistic gains have set apart an example. By enforcing the principles of giving back to society, the need for meditation and working for others, the business and entrepreneurship world sees a path of success. And this success does not only come with victory but also gives a message of humanity. 

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