The Administration of Buddhist Organization with Principle Business
by Ven. Hein DingDear Chairperson, venerables, delegates, observers, and all honorable guests, ladies and gentlemen: good morning!
It’s my honor to have been invited here to make a short speech on behalf of Ven. Master Hsing Yun of Fo Guang Shan. My thanks go to the organizer and co-organizers of the Second World Buddhist Business Forum in giving me this opportunity to be present here and to give a few thoughts on this occasion.
Theme of the forum is Business through Buddhism: Management and Mission. The objective is to apply Buddhist Dharma in operating business, and to manage enterprises in service of society. This carries with significant meaning. Buddhism is based mainly on sangha and monasteries function as schools, taking the responsibility of promoting moral education to the public over the past 2500 years. They also function as charitable organizations – such as refuges, shelters, or relief centers – in times of natural or manmade disasters.
Following the monastic regulations laid down by Chan Master Baizhang in the Tang Dynasty, China, for more than a thousand years ago, monasteries in China and Taiwan have been operated and administered like enterprises. They have twofold assemblies and forty-eight office-bearers. For example, the head receptionist monk is like today’s chief of public relations, and the head clerical monk is like the secretary-general.
Following the tide of times, the governments of all countries have stipulated various codes in governing non-profits. In this regard, many Buddhist organizations, cultural and educational foundations, and social welfare foundations have been established over the past two decades in Taiwan.
No matter it is non-profit organization or foundation corporate, they all have their own constitutions, aims and purposes, duties and powers, responsibilities, personnel management, and financial management. In this sense, they, in reality, follow enterprise management in modern style.
Benefitted from their systematization and organization, they are highly efficient in raising funds for various purposes like relief efforts. Taiwan Buddhism in its prime time is believed to have ranked first among their counterparts worldwide regarding the amount of donations she has made over the past several decades.
Why today’s Buddhism in Taiwan is in its prime time? Buddhism has founded a number of universities in Taiwan, i.e. Huafan Univ., Tsuchi Univ., Hsuan Chuang Univ., Foguang Univ., Dharma Drum Univ., Nanhua Univ., etc. Buddhist community also founded elementary schools, high schools, and senior high schools. Moreover, there are TV stations such as Hwazan TV, Buddha’s Light TV, DaAi TV, Life TV, Universal Culture TV, Buddha Compassion TV, etc.. Also important are the many elderly homes and children’s homes they have built.
The various foundations of Buddhism are non profit-making. They resort to the joint efforts of society in providing relief aids to those in dire need. Their contributions are highly appreciated.
There is a special fund that worths our mention: Venerable Master Hsing Yun Public Education Trust Fund. Its aim is to salute and acclaim the kinds of people who can serve as our examples: the reporters, teachers, and people who have special contributions to culture. Let me use this opportunity to make two points about business operation and administration as follows:
1. Management that bears causal conditions in mind: If an organization knows about the causal conditions, it would not make any fake budget proposal, infringe upon the right of speech of others, and have a mean behavior and an irresponsible manner towards others, as these would invite a bad karma.
2. Management that encourages merit-making: The volunteers who serve the devotees in a Buddhist monastery are all unprompted, as what they wish to get is a good human relationship. With this in mind, they do what others regard as nuisance and aversion without slightest complaint. In this way, they, having a strong belief in karma, earn greater merits than others.
People working in profit making organizations cannot set their mind free and concern very much about their salaries, work hours, number of day-offs, and fringe benefits. On the other hand, in non-profit making organizations such as monasteries, devotees and volunteers are pleased to contribute their labor and money in return of blessings and merits. Many Buddhist organizations establish a good volunteer database, provide vocational training and orientation, practice post-evaluation after events are carried, and establish reward system to encourage more people to become volunteers.
It can be said that Buddhism has high achievements with regards to the purification of human minds, and the provision of social welfare! But there are always rooms for improvement. I hope you, our delegates, can offer your productive suggestions so that all Buddhist organizations aiming to serve society can learn and benefit from them.
I sincerely hope the forum a huge success. Good blessings to all of you. Thank you~