Asoka keynotes Indian National Conference on Buddhism and Corporate Culture
Monday, 4 November 2013 00:00
Dr. Asoka Jinadasa was the keynote speaker at India’s national conference on Buddhism and Corporate Culture, organised by the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) in association with the University of Pune.
This Indian national conference held on 26 and 27 October in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra attracted several hundred delegates, mostly non-Buddhist, from India’s corporate and academic sectors.
“It was inspiring to see an Indian management institute organising this conference even though only about 3% of India’s population are Buddhist, compared to 70% in Sri Lanka. The interest shown by non-Buddhist corporate and academic sector delegates in Buddhist concepts was very impressive,” Dr Jinadasa observed.
Drawing on indigenous wisdom
The relevance of this conference was explained by Dr. Sharad Kolte, Director General of IMS: “Many Asian countries including India and Sri Lanka have been deeply influenced by the profound and timeless concepts found in Buddhist philosophy. However, in our efforts to find new ways to boost organisational effectiveness under today’s turbulent conditions, we often ape Western philosophy and management thinking. We organised this national conference to draw on our own indigenous time-proven wisdom. It explored how Buddhist thinking, that considers impermanence as the fundamental universal characteristic, could enhance our corporate culture to improve organisational performance in the turbulent times ahead.”
A key ingredient of organisational success is an innovative corporate culture. But, creating and nurturing the right corporate culture is a challenging task, especially in today’s highly volatile and increasingly unpredictable business and economic environment. This pioneering Indian national conference addressed this important and urgent corporate need from a Buddhist philosophical perspective. Its objective was to help delegates explore new holistic models of corporate culture for organisational survival and growth, through continuous renewal closely geared to rapidly changing internal and external conditions.
New thinking and concepts
New thinking and concepts on the feasibility and practical implications of reviewing corporate culture from a Buddhist philosophical perspective were presented mostly by non-Buddhist experts from academia and the corporate world. Their diverse technical papers and related panel discussions fell under several subthemes that included: Buddhist approaches to Organisational Structures, Business Management, Leadership, Sustainable Development, Work Ethics, Conflict Resolution, Relationship Management, etc.
The conceptual foundation for this two-day thought-provoking national conference was set during the keynote speech delivered by Dr Asoka Jinadasa. His presentation on ‘Building a Superior Corporate Culture using Buddhist Wisdom’ provided many innovative concepts and methodologies derived from new insights into the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path to enlightenment expounded in Buddhism.
Dr. Kolte explained why a Sri Lankan keynote speaker was selected for this Indian national conference: “Sri Lanka has been the first country to embrace Buddhism beyond our shores, and the majority of its population has embraced Buddhism as a way of life. Therefore, we felt that a Sri Lankan thought-leader, having fresh insights into Buddhist philosophy and possessing extensive academic and corporate experience, would be able to set the scene for this conference by presenting new thinking for enhancing corporate culture. We were very happy when Prof. Satish Sharma proposed Dr. Asoka Jinadasa as the keynote speaker, especially because the innovative concepts he has recently presented at major international conferences for reinventing corporate culture were all founded on Buddhist philosophy.”
Dr. Jinadasa’s doctorate in Corporate Strategy and his top-level management experience in Europe, USA and Sri Lanka are complemented by his mastery of the Chinese martial art, Tai Chi Chuan, based on the Buddhist-Taoist philosophy of constant change. “His impressive and well-researched keynote presentation provided a wealth of new and practical insights into building a superior corporate culture based on Buddhist wisdom, for ensuring organisational success in the difficult years looming ahead,” Dr Kolte concluded.
Conference programme link: http://conference.imscdr.in. Additional information available from Dr. Sharad Kolte in India [email protected] or Dr. Asoka Jinadasa in Sri Lanka