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founded by S. N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin






Vipassana in Business

Related Discourses by Mr. S. N. Goenka

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Experiences of Executive Course Participants

Please click here to read Experiences of businesmen and professionals.


History and Spread of Executives' Courses

Please click here for details regarding history and spread of courses for business executives, professionals and Government officers.


Select Questions & Answers with Mr. S. N. Goenka

Please help us understand how to integrate Vipassana into the business world?

Goenkaji: It can be integrated into everyone's life. A businessperson has a lot of responsibility and has to deal with many people-the employees, the workers in the factory, or people in management. Or the government officials and all that. Vipassana will help you deal with people in a way that is very friendly, because your mind will be full of love and compassion for others. So, whenever any situation arises that disturbs you, accept the fact: now my mind is disturbed. Just observe the sensations for some time, and you will find that you again become calm. With a calm and tranquil mind, a balanced mind, whatever decision you make will be a good one; whatever problem comes, you can solve it easily.

(Courtesy: International Vipassana Newsletter, May 2002)

As an industrialist and in business, do you see that Vipassana could ever spread into business?

Goenkaji: Oh certainly. Earning money—just earning money—doesn’t give peace. I have passed through all that so I know having a lot of money is full of misery. But money with Dhamma will give so much peace. And this money will be used for a good cause, which is good for them, good for others.

Investing in the stock market-is that harmful or it is okay? Because my gain may be a loss to someone that I don't even know

Goenkaji: Well, if your intention is to harm somebody, then it is wrong. If you are just trying to earn some money, there's nothing wrong in that. But whatever you earn, then you have to pay attention to how you are using it. If it is just to inflate your ego-look, I am wealthier than everybody else, I am one inch taller than everybody else-then it is madness; those earnings are not helpful to you. When you earn money, that money is coming from the society; so it is your duty to share with the society. If you have that sort of volition, then earning is not bad. A householder has to earn. You are not a monk.

Q.: But somebody may be getting hurt.

Goenkaji: Well, you can't help that. You are just trying to earn money. If you make use of this money in a proper way, there is nothing wrong. Your intention is not to harm anyone. If you do something intentionally to hurt somebody, then it is wrong.

(Courtsey: International Vipassana Newsletter, May 2002 issue)

My professional life involves dishonesty. I cannot take up another calling as that will cause great inconvenience

Goenkaji: Practice Vipassana, and your mind will become strong. At present, you are a slave of your mind, and your mind keep forcing you to do things which you do not want to do. By the practice of Vipassana, you will get the strength to come out of this easily, and then you will find some other profession, which will be helpful to you, and which will be wholesome.

What would you say to the busy professional or businessman who says that he or she can’t find 10 days to do a Vipassana course?

Mr. S. N. Goenka: The same thing happened to me—I was such a busy businessman, an industrialist. For me to give ten days was unthinkable. I was a very angry person, a very egoistic person, living an ego-centered life, hating others and feeling that “I am the wisest and most intelligent person, because at this young age I have so much money. All the others are useless, that’s why they can’t earn money, they can’t be successful in life.” That ego was so strong.

Intellectually, I started realizing that this was so—and that it was my own ego, my own impurity which was making me miserable. How to come out of it? I tried different ways. I practiced devotional songs and chanting, for years, but this didn’t work. I tried at the intellectual level to understand all the scriptures, how all the negativities are so harmful and the positive feelings of the mind are so good. I kept on thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking. As with the chanting and devotional practices, this worked for some time only, but again I felt the same misery.

Then I contacted a wise person, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, who became my teacher. He said, “All these are games of the conscious level of the mind, the surface level, whereas your habit pattern lies at the root level.”

The root level is what we call the unconscious mind. It is very blind. It will not listen to any advice from the intellect. It will not listen to any advice. It will just keep on reacting. Whenever it feels something pleasant, it will react with craving, clinging. When it feels something unpleasant, it will react with aversion, hatred. That has become the habit pattern of this deepest level of the mind. And unless we change this deepest level, all other things that we are doing at the surface are only temporary. They cannot help. If the root is unhealthy, the whole tree is unhealthy.

So you must go to that root. If you don’t make the whole journey from the surface level of your mind to the depth of your mind, how can you change your mind at the depth level? That requires something like a surgical operation of the mind—and that requires proper guidance, a proper environment, and some time. You don’t just sit down, meditate, and immediately penetrate to the depth; it’s not possible. You have to go layer by layer, layer by layer, and reach the place where the deep unconscious mind is blindly reacting, all the time reacting: anger, hatred, anger, hatred, craving, clinging. These are the habit patterns. You have to reach that stage, and it takes time.

So I understood. If I am sick, I have to go to a hospital. I can’t help it. And that may take ten days, it may take ten months. I have to take these ten days and see what happens. And now, I find everybody is a sick person. Each one requires this particular treatment. Less or more, everyone requires it.

So ten days, initially, will look like too much time to spare. But once people pass through a course, they start saying, “These are the ten best days of my life, up till now, and, I feel, for the future also. They gave me a totally new life.” So people don’t waste their ten days. Once they pass through it, they feel it is wonderful.


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Related Videos

Vipassana in Business, being in touch with your inner leader (English)

In 2009, a short film was produced that describes how senior business leaders in India from across industries & sectors cope with uncertainty and change in a challenging market environment. In a series of candid interviews, senior executives discuss how the practice of Vipassana meditation enables them to more effectively manage their own stress, increase employee engagement and productivity, face the pressures of competition, and make decisions from a base of personal wisdom and authenticity.

Vipassana meditation: Harmony in Business (English)

In the Spring of 2002 Mr. Goenka conducted the first course especially for business executives and government officials following a conference held in New York City on "Spirituality in Business." Harmony in Business is a short film about this conference, Mr. Goenka's comments during the conference and interviews with participants after the meditation course is available in English

(Copyright: dhamma.org)

Vipassana Course for Executives - Australia (English)

In 2005 a film consisting primarily of interviews with business executives and government officials was made during and following an Executive Course held at the Vipassana Meditation Centre in New South Wales near Sydney Australia. This film explains the many reasons people involved in business activities find the practice of Vipassana helpful for them in dealing with the ups and downs and stresses of business life.

(Copyright: dhamma.org)

Spirituality in Business (English)

In January 2000, Goenkaji was invited to speak at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Davos, Switzerland, in front of global leaders. Goenkaji spoke in the gathering in various sessions on "The Future of Religion", "Death: Exploring the Taboo", "Anger and How to Deal with It" and "The Meaning of True Happiness. In this interview, Mr. Goenka explains his journey as a sucessful businessman and role of Vipassana meditation in his life.