Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Buddhist’s Take on the Global Financial Crisis: Enlightened Altruism

It seems ironic to come across Gordon Mijuk’s piece in the Dow Jones Newswires on Matthieu Ricard’s Buddhist take on the global financial crisis.

Mijuk writes:

Shrouded in his red Buddhist robe, Matthieu Ricard was hard to miss amid the sea of black and gray business suits that crowded the halls at the World Economic Forum.

His take on the global financial crisis and the fast economic downturn, however, folded almost neatly into the grim view that was shared by many business leaders during the panel discussions in Davos.

Also, his solution sounded somewhat familiar.

"This crisis shows that a system based on egoistic interest is dysfunctional," Ricard said. "It has created the lose-lose situation in which we find ourselves now."

Ricard, who was born in 1946 in Paris to French philosopher Jean-Francois Revel, turned to Buddhism some 40 years ago after completing his doctoral thesis in molecular genetics.

While he regularly seeks solitude and seclusion in the Himalayas, Ricard has a hands-on approach to life.

Besides being the French interpreter for the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, Ricard is a renowned photographer who also has written several best-selling books about Buddhism and science. He is heading a nonprofit organization in Nepal that is providing medical care and education to children.

"One way out of this crisis is to follow what I would call an enlightened altruism," Ricard said. "This crisis has shown that we don't work in isolation but that there is an interdependence. So what we need to do is to work together and consolidate the interest of the economy, human beings and the environment. This could be a win-win situation."

Or, in other words: Yes, we can.

1 comment:

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