Working with Others

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Buddhism at work (continued)

The five precepts are endlessly applicable in work situations.

Consider how each of the precepts can apply to the way you go about your work:

  • Non-harming, reverence for life
  • Respecting the property of others, not stealing
  • Conscious and loving in relationships, avoid sexual irresponsibility
  • Avoiding incorrect speech, lying
  • Avoiding intoxicants which diminish clarity of consciousness and lead to carelessness.

The third precept, sexual responsibility, would prohibit sexual harassment and the use of sex to sell products. The fourth precept goes beyond not lying to embrace right speech. In the workplace, where verbal interaction is at the heart of things, speech can be an especially fruitful arena of practice. A recent version of the fourth precept, cited in "Cultivating Awareness," takes the form of a vow:

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

Thich Nhat Hahn

In one paragraph, enough to practice for a lifetime!