What would Buddha do at work? On Conflicts

I am reading this book “What would Buddha do at work” again. I thought of posting my notes. It’s a good reference book for self-development.

Buddha on Conflicts

When conflict arises in your own family, don’t blame others. Instead, look for the cause in your own mind and action and pursue the solution there” – Anguttara Nikaya 3.31

Peace within a team, like peace within a family, is vital to the well-being of both individuals and the group. Blaming someone else does no good at all – in fact, it makes things worse.

  1. If you think the problem lies in someone else, then the solution must lie there as well. There is nothing you can do. You are powerless. This is no way to be.
  2. Instead, if you own the problem, then you begin to own the solution. You will think of things you can do make things better (no matter what the other person is doing)

When team conflict arises, ask yourself “How have I contributed to this situation?”

You know it takes two to tango. It’s doubtful that you are ever simply an innocent victim (Even if you are an innocent victim, drop the role now. Own the problem and empower yourself to end it). Look for what you can to contribute to a solution. Victims assign blame, winners makes things better. In the end, would you rather be the one who’s morally right or the one who’s fixed the problem?

Buddha on people hurting one another

“He insulted me, he beat me, robbed me”. Think this way and the hatred never ends.

“He insulted me, he beat me, robbed me”. Give this up and in you hatred ends.

Not by hate is hate defeated. Hate is quenched by love. This is eternal law. – Dhammapada – 3

Conflict is the fact of organization life. Following their desires and attachments, people are bound to hurt one another in the course of working together. But conflict’s naturalness doesn’t mean that we should let it continue.

So how should we handle the workplace hurts and conflicts?

We naturally want to respond in kind when others are hostile towards us, but Buddha tells us to resist this inclination. Other people’s hostility often has nothing to do with us – They are just acting out on their own karma. We meet others anger with our own anger, joining in their negative karma. We are simply adding fuel to the fire, endangering everyone including ourselves.

Instead, Buddha counsels us to take the high road – to respond to others hostility with compassion and forgiveness. Wise teacher throughout the ages have echoed Buddha’s wisdom: Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr and so many others in so many other cultures.

The soothing balm of unconditional love and understanding is the only thing that calms hostility in others.

Is this a tall order? Of course, it is.  We are all humans. Buddha knows this. But harbouring resentment because someone else hurt is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person will die. And acting vengefully, taking an eye for an eye, only leads us to the kingdom of blind. We must forgive and let go of revenge – Otherwise we become prisoners of our own anger. Quench your hate in the waters of love. It’s a slow business but sweet one.

One question immediately rises in our mind. “How do i remember all this?”. Everything comes through practice. Making a conscious effort will definitely help us in mastering the skills.

Happy Learning!!!


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