222 LESSON 09 04 2011 Buddha as a Leader Advancing Legal Empowerment of the Poor The Role and Perspective of Buddhism FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY and BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS letter to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT for Social Transformation and Economic Emancipation to attain Ultimate Bliss-Through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org
BSP’s entire politics is ekla chalo, no pre-poll alliance.
All the doles announced
to more than 85 % of the poor by Political Parties amounts to less than 15% of
the total budget of the state. More than 85% of the budget will be enjoyed by
15% population of rich politicians and capitalists after cornering votes from
the poor and the black money will be deposited in Foreign Banks to benefit
those countries. Now
leaders and Cadres like Uttar Pradesh must go to the people and explain to them
the need for acquiring the MASTERKEY instead of being guests in others’ houses.
distribution of wealth, vote BSP
Buddha As a Leader
The Buddha has often been described as
one of the greatest leaders of all time. But just what characterizes a good
leader? What are the duties and qualities of good leadership? And what can we
learn from the Buddha as a leader that we can apply to our chaotic world?
The Leader as Visionary
Like the captain of a ship, a leader
must have a definite goal; only then can he chart his course and steer his ship
in the right direction. Having given up his royal rights, wealth and family,
Prince Siddhartha had one goal - to find the cause of suffering and a way out
of suffering. Despite much hardship and setback, he never veered from his
course but persevered till he gained Awakenment. But the Buddha did not stop
there. He made it his mission to lead all sentient beings out of the samsaric
cycle of suffering. It is this vision which defined his forty-five years of
teaching and shaped his role as leader of an order(sangha) and a following that
is still growing strong today.
Guided by this vision, the Buddha’s
mission was an all-embracing one. It is a mission founded on compassion and
love for all sentient beings, regardless of race, creed or status quo.
Addressing his first group of disciples, the Buddha instructed them to go forth
and spread the teachings for the good and happiness of the many. In this
respect, the Buddha was revolutionary, displaying extreme courage in his
advocacy for the emancipation of the persons belonging to all the four castes,
in his dismissal of the Brahmin as the supreme authority and in his admission
of women to the sangha.
The Leader as Role Model
A leader must be an exemplary figure,
someone we can respect and emulate. The Buddha, having purified himself through
many lifetimes, embodied all the Perfections (paramita). He was extraordinary,
virtuous and righteous in every thought, word and deed. He says as he does and
does as he says. Such integrity and consistency won him the trust of his
As a leader, the Buddha led by example.
His simple and humble lifestyle is a reflection of his teachings. In his daily
routine, the Buddha wasted no time on idleness and frivolity. For forty-five
years, he devoted his time and effort for the good of others, starting his day
before dawn and working till midnight. Compare this with many world leaders who
live in the laps of luxury while half of the world’s population suffer from
poverty and hunger, and we can understand why many people lament the lack of
good leaders in our times. In his advice to the rulers of his time, the Buddha
emphasized the importance of leadership according to the Dhamma. A ruler must
first establish himself in piety and righteousness, and avoid all the vices.
Sovereignty and the rule of power are subjected to the rule of righteousness,
not the rule of force. Here is the ideal model of a value-based leadership. The
Buddha highlighted ten principles which a ruler ought to be possess:
1. Dana - alms-giving
2. Sila - morality
3. Parricaga - unselfishness
4. Ajjava - integrity
5. Maddava - gentleness
6. Tapo - self-restraint
7. Akkhoda - non-anger
8. Avihimsa - non-violence
9. Khanti - patience
10. Avirodhana - agreeability
The Leader as Mediator
As a leader, the Buddha demonstrated
both skills in mediation and impartiality in judgment. In the Ummagga Jataka,
as Prince Mahausadha, the Bodhisattva (the Buddha in a previous birth) showed
his ability to resolve problems and arguments. As advisor to the King, he
displayed wit and intelligence in the protection of his people.
The Buddha displayed his skills at
resolving conflicts between opposing parties on several occasions. Once a
dispute broke out between the Sakyans, to which the Buddha belonged, and the
Koliyas, to which his mother, Queen Maya, belonged. Unable to arrive at an
agreement over the distribution of the waters of the river Rohini, the two
parties were on the verge of war. The Buddha settled the dispute by
asking:”What do you consider as more valuable - water or human
The Leader as Manager
The Buddha was a great human resource
manager. With an acute knowledge of human beings, he knew the strengths and
weaknesses of those around him. Based on their dominant traits, the Buddha
categorised people into six groups:
1. those lustful and passionate
2. those with hatred and anger
3. those with delusion
4. those with faith and confidence
5. those with wisdom and intelligence
6. those with hesitation and doubt
He delegated duties to his followers in
accordance with their abilities and temperament. In addition, he showed his
appreciation by conferring upon them due respect and recognition. Trainers of
managerial leadership could learn much from the Buddha in this respect to
develop an effective workforce.
The Leader as Protector
The Jataka stories, which tell of the
previous births of the Buddha, abound with numerous examples of the
Bodhisattva’s courage and self-sacrificial spirit to safeguard the interests of
his group. In the Mahakapi Jataka, the Bodhisattva in a previous birth was the
leader of a troop of monkeys living in the Himalayas. One day, the king of the
state saw that the forest was abundant with mango trees, set his men upon the
monkeys. To flee from the king’s men, the Bodhisattva used some bamboo vines to
build a bridge so that the monkeys could cross over to the other river bank.
Unfortunately the bamboo vines were too short. To bridge the gap, the
Bodhisattva stretched himself out, clinging on to one side with his hands and
the other with his tail so that the monkeys could cross over on his back. Among
the monkeys was Devadatta, his arch-enemy. Seeing his opponent in a
disadvantaged position, he stamped hard on his back as he made his way across.
The Bodhisattva was in immense pain but remained clinging on to the bamboo
vines till the last monkey was safely across. The king, upon witnessing such a
courageous and selfless act by such a monkey, ordered his men to bring him down
from the trees and tried to save him. Asked why he endangered his life to save
his subjects the Bodhisattva replied:”O King! Verily my body is broken.
But my mind is still sound; I uplifted only those over whom I exercised my
royal powers for so long.?
After the Bodhisattva’s death, the king
in honour his self-sacrificing spirit, erected a shrine and ordered that daily
offerings be made.
Another aspect in which the Buddha
exercised his role as a protector is in teachings of the Buddha was open to
all, in the Buddha’s four-fold party of monks, nuns, lay men and lay women
followers, admission was not so liberal.
While this may invite criticisms that
the Buddha was prejudicial, it is necessary not for his personal interests but
to protect the Buddhist community from corruptive and evil forces and to ensure
its long-term survival. The Buddha also set out criteria and rules and
regulations, especially the vinaya code, to protect the well-being and order of
The Leader Shows the Way
During his 45 years of missionary work,
many followers became awakened after listening to his teachings. 2500 years
later, the Buddha continues to inspire millions of people around the world to
follow his path. This, above all else, is the most important role of the Buddha
as a leader - one who is able to inspire others to bring out the best in
themselves, to develop their full potential and gain the ultimate goal of Nibbana.