Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Burmese Buddhists and Business Ethics

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 24, 2017

In the Midst of Imperfections: Burmese Buddhists and Business Ethics

Pyi Phyo Kyaw
King’s College, University of London

This article looks at interpretations by Buddhists in Burma of right livelihood (sammā-ājīva) and documents the moral reasoning that underlies their business activities. It explores different ways in which Buddhists in Burma, through the use of Buddhist ethics and practices, resolve moral dilemmas that they encounter while pursuing their livelihood. I give a brief summary of the existing scholarship on Buddhist economics and on economic action in Burma, exemplified by the work of E. F. Schumacher and Melford Spiro respectively. In so doing, I wish to highlight a difference between the approaches of the existing scholarship and that of this article: the existing scholarship analyzes economic issues from the perspective of normative ethics; this research analyzes them from the perspective of descriptive ethics, looking at how Buddhists interpret and apply Buddhist ethics in their business activities, in the midst of moral, social, and economic imperfections. The research presented draws on semi-structured interviews and fieldwork conducted in Burma in the summer of 2010 and relates the interpretations given to the relevant Buddhist literature, the textual authorities for doctrines such as morality (sīla).

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Review: Deep Ecology and Buddhist Economics

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 15, 2008

Business within Limits: Deep Ecology and Buddhist Economics. Edited by Laszlo Zsolnai and Knut Johannesssen Ims. Bern: Peter Lang Publishing, 2006, 324 pages, ISBN 3039107038, US $62.95 (paperback).

Reviewed by Jason McLeod Monson

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Ethics in Postmodern Organizations

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 14, 2007

The Ethics of Knowledge and Action in Postmodern Organizations

Michael M.Tophoff
Limmen, The Netherlands

Good Corporate Governance was explicitly formulated in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which became federal law in 2002. It includes ethical guidelines to regulate employee behavior and the interrelations between organizations and their shareholders. While these guidelines are exterior to the person, this paper discusses the construct of an internal beacon for right managerial action, in the Buddhist sense, as well as ways not only to access it mentally but also to extend it into the outside world. Within this perspective, it also presents the ethical teaching of the Chinese Ming philosopher Wang Yangming (1472-1529). Although Wang is considered to be a Neo-Confucian philosopher, in this article he is considered a seminal thinker within the Chan Buddhist tradition Wang’s method of self-cultivation is presented to access the person’s innate knowledge which in itself implies right action.

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Review: Mindfulness in the Marketplace

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 10, 2003

Mindfulness in the Marketplace: Compassionate Responses to Consumerism. Allen Badiner (ed.), Berkeley: Parallax Press, 2002. 264 pages. Paperback. ISBN: 1888375248.

Reviewed by Eric Sean Nelson

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