The interview is actually quite good, and it provides a lot of clarity into Falling Fruit’s mission and vision, and why we are trying to be part of the “conscious business” movement. A question and answer from the interview on the relationship between Buddhism and Business:
You mentioned another show at Falling Fruit called Buddhist Geeks, and I know you practice Vipassana meditation. Please tell us more about Buddhism and business. Do you think that it’s possible to reconcile a Buddhist philosophy with a mentality of career success and wealth-building?
I do practice Vipassana, and the teacher in my tradition, S.N. Goenka, was a businessman before becoming a Vipassana teacher. He too wrestled with the greed and corruption in the business world, and anyone who takes Buddhist teachings seriously will have to come to their own integration.
Personally, I don’t see any inherent contradiction between career success and insight into the fundamental nature of life, if you understand the purpose of business, which I believe is to serve human needs. Now keeping that in mind, we all have a need for food, and if you habitually overeat, then you are not truly meeting your needs for nourishment and health. A certain amount of wealth will feed your own needs — happiness studies in the US have shown that after about $36,000 in income, a person is no more happy if they make more money. However, it’s hard to fund a new venture without a stockpile of extra cash! Falling Fruit was started in large part because two of our friends had access to trust funds, which helped kick off the project. The purpose of large amounts of accumulated wealth is not to overstuff yourself with luxury, but to feed new things — new businesses, new projects, and yes, to feed people too, via philanthropy and the creation of new jobs!
Plus the definition of career success seems to be changing. A lot of young people are being raised by parents who have accumulated all they ever wanted and yet are obviously unfulfilled. We don’t want to go through their suffering, so we are looking to have our cake and eat it too, to make a good living AND to live out our passions AND have 2 months off a year to meditate and do personal development AND to serve the world in the highest ways we can possibly imagine. Nothing else feels like “success” anymore.
Rock on Duff!