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1. The 3 Jewels

Author: Barry Thorogood

Added: November 18 2012


This is my first blog, so let’s get going: I am a Management Consultant. I teach Leadership, Team building and Cultural Change. I live on a beach in North Wales and my work takes me to many interesting places.

In July 2010 I went on a Buddhist Retreat in Plum Village, near Bordeaux. It was run by Thich Nhat Hanh, a little Vietnamese monk who is 84 years old, lectures in 5 languages, has written a 100 books, was nominated by Martin Luther King for the Nobel Peace Prize and is the most humble, inspiring teacher I have ever met. He is the genuine article. 

In the last 15 years I have been to Plum Village 5 times and every time I have been moved to tears, filled with awe and met the most wonderful people who have travelled there from all over the World. 

Buddhism is not a religion. It is a system of thought based on Life itself. Therefore it is constantly being updated and changing. Buddha is not revered as a God he is just a wise teacher. You can be a Buddhist and also be a Christian, Atheist, Muslim, whatever, so don’t let any prejudices kick in at this point. 

Every one of us has a wise teacher inside of us that we can refer to at any time (provided that we are in the right state). Thich Nhat Hanh calls this inner teacher our ‘Bhodisattva,’ which translated means ‘a budding Buddha’. I like that. 

Anyway, what has this got to do with Management? 

The 3 jewels of Buddhism are: 

1. The Buddha 
2. The Dharma 

3. The Sangha 

They are also the 3 Jewels of Management. 

Let me explain: 

1. The Buddha equates to your Goal, your Mission; who or what you aspire to be. 

2. The Dharma equates to the procedures that you use to achieve your goal 

3. The Sangha equates to the group of people that you gather round you to help you to achieve your goal, i.e. your team.

In this modern world we need all 3 jewels to live a happy life. Of course you can choose not to have a goal, to drift, (or even not choose, just drift anyway), like a piece of flotsam on the sea, at the mercy of external factors such as tide, wind, and currents. One of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Books is entitled ‘ Nowhere to go, Nothing to do.’

In those manic moments of my life, where I am running so fast to keep up with the requirements of my clients, my family, government legislation, my need to save the world, etc. the idea of just drifting fills me with thoughts of how lovely that would be. “Stop the world, I want to get off!” 

This Summer, I took my blind dog Ben canoeing, and apart from the moment when we were overturned by a huge wave and nearly drowned, there were other times when we just drifted with the tide and currents, a moment of peace and togetherness with the elements. Not sure what Ben was thinking, but he did lick my ear. So drifting can be very pleasant. 

However, (there’s always a ‘however’ in management) a long term study by Harvard University found that only 7% of their students had set goals at the time of leaving University (shame on you Harvard) and after 20 years they had amassed more wealth than the combined resources of the other naughty 93% put together.

“But were they happy?” I hear you ask. Well, yes they were. As well as having oodles of dosh, they also scored more highly in factors such as social integration, life satisfaction, family issues, and all the things that modern society hold up as things that make us happy. 

Lesson 1: Set yourself some (achievable) goals. Not too many. 3 will do for a start. Then, just for today, or longer if you like, type them big on your computer and make them your home page, the first thing that you will see when you switch on. Keep them there until you achieve them (or fail miserably and, in total revolt, put back the homepage picture of the red Ferrari that you aspire to have and never will, or the cuddly puppy that you don’t have because it will wee on your nice carpet, or the happy family that you war with on a daily basis but love to bits anyway. There, that’s better. 

You stirred up the bucket of water, swirled it around a bit, took your hand out and it went back to normal. What was all that about? 

Hah Hah! Find out tomorrow. Or ask the budding Buddha inside you and post a comment. Perhaps you could read the comments of others, or just sit quietly and wait. Alternatively give the bucket of water a kick on your way out! 

1. The 3 Jewels

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