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Spiritual Goods: Faith Traditions and the Practice of Business

2001

Spiritual Goods: Faith Traditions and the Practice of Business

Bodhipaksa
Pages 33-54
DOI: 10.5840/spiritgds20016

Reinventing the Wheel
A Buddhist Approach to Ethical Work

The key to Buddhist business practice is "Right Livelihood," or work that is founded on Buddhist ethical values and that contributes to spiritual development. This essay focuses on Windhorse Trading, a company based in the United Kingdom that was consciously established as a Right Livelihood business within the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. The essay explores how the company dealt with a conflict that arose when a period of rapid expansion began to undermine the effectiveness of the workplace as a context for spiritual practice. I ask whether a business founded on Buddhist principles can be financially viable in the modern marketplace, and conclude that Windhorse's crisis resulted from a failure to adapt to rapid growth, rather than from an inherent flaw in the conception of a financially and spiritually successful business.