NEW YORK, Feb. 10—A twenty-year-old public relations campaign by major Buddhist leaders appears to have paid off, according to a business-climate poll released today by magazine. For the first time in the fifty-year history of the poll, business leaders across the country have ranked Buddhism among the nation’s top ten business-friendly religions.
“This is a dramatic turnaround,” reported Gregory Hobbes, Business Week’s religion watchdog. “Only twenty-five years ago, Buddhism was deep in the ‘actively frigid’ category, due to its emphasis on contentment, renunciation, and karmic responsibility. When Small Is Beautiful came out in the early seventies, Buddhism’s rating hit an all-time low from which we thought it would never recover. But now, thanks to the concerted efforts of a new breed of enlightened Buddhist entrepreneurs, that image has been totally erased. Buddhism has shown convincingly that it is willing and able to do business on our terms.”
Among the factors cited by Hobbes to explain the turnaround:
The withdrawal of teachings that might question the values of the modern business corporation. “Buddhists have done a brilliant inside job of gutting the doctrine of karmic consequences. And their willingness to waive copyright on the concept of nirvana for use in advertising was a very savvy touch,” Hobbes commented.
The recent spate of Buddhist books celebrating the workplace as the ideal context for a complete spiritual life. “This way,” Hobbes noted, “Buddhism doesn’t get in the way of increasing demands that executives are forced to place on their employees in today’s competitive environment. Buddhist employees can feel that they’re fulfilling their spiritual aspirations at the same time as they’re meeting their quarterly targets. In fact, studies have shown that with their training in mindfulness, Buddhist employees are actually outperforming their less focused colleagues by a factor of five to four.”
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