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Vipassana and Business
D.B. Gupta

Vipassana is a great science, the science of understanding mind and matter phenomena. It is a process of mind purification and is free from any sectarian, caste or belief-based approach. Further, it works at the experiential level and leads to a happy life through continuous purification of the mind.

It is said that the major part of the mind is the subconscious or unconscious mind. Generally it is difficult to reach this part of the mind, which keeps on reacting according to its past conditioning. This reactive mind is the storehouse of our impressions (sa"mkhaaraa) of cravings and aversions, and makes our reactions to external events biased and thus lacking in objectivity.

Vipassana helps in breaking the barrier between the conscious and unconscious mind. Through the process of observing without reacting, the mind is cleansed of its negativities. With the technique of Vipassana, one reaches deep down to the unconscious level of the mind and experiences sensations within the framework of the body without reacting to them. The law of nature is such that whatever actions we perform are stored in the form of its effect in the unconscious part of the mind. The collection of such impressions (saizkhari7) is not only from this life but also from earlier lives. This storehouse is the guide to our reactions to the outside environment.

At the experiential level, the major benefits derived are:

1. As more of the mind becomes conscious, one becomes more perceptive and better able to understand a wide variety of situations. In my personal experience, I have found solutions to many difficult problems by meditating.

2. By reducing craving and aversion, one is able to face situations in life more objectively, and thus improve the process of decision-making. It reduces irritation and disappointments under situations which would otherwise create pressure on the mind.

3. Business people, depending on the complexities of their work, generally have to face a lot of stress and strain. Such stress has an impact on physical health, and it is said that more than fifty percent of physical problems are psychosomatic in nature. As a side-effect of this meditation, physical health can be improved through the process of mind purification.

4. One often seeks power and position in business but is unable to enjoy them because of the negative effect they create through inflation of the ego. The ego stops us from developing the human qualities of love, compassion, peace and equanimity. Vipassana is beneficial in business, but more importantly, it helps us experience true peace of mind and happiness through a reduction of the ego. This comes with the understanding of the impermanence of both mind and matter.

5. Continuous practice of Vipassana increases equanimity and thus one is able to live more harmoniously, without being much affected by the tensions of everyday life.

6. 'Business houses have tremendous strengths at their command-in finance, management and technology. Through development of a better value system, Vipassana induces us to work with the aim of serving humanity. In business, it improves the quality of products and services we produce for society, and encourages a greater service orientation to meet the larger needs of society. 1 was motivated to start the Lupin Rural Support Programme immediately after learning meditation. This programme has provided increased prosperity and happiness for roughly 200,000 people where we operate, and in turn much happiness to us. We are motivated to develop many more such experiments of human service, some of which we are working toward now. Vipassana leads to purification of the mind, and a purer mind will seek happiness through improved service to society.

It is said that Vipassana is the oldest science of India. Its rediscovery by Gotama Buddha allowed him to realize the ultimate truth, and he taught this technique for the benefit of humanity. Later on, Emperor Ashoka encouraged the spread of this teaching for the benefit of his subjects, as indicated in the rock edicts. We are extremely grateful to Goenkaji for bringing this lost wisdom to our country.

Because Vipassana goes beyond the barriers of caste, sect, communalism, and narrow nationalism, it brings improves morality so that along with material benefits there can be real happiness. Further, it can be an effective instrument in strengthening national integration and international understanding factors which are of great relevance in today's times.

Sincere thanks to Phramaha Witoon Thacha for transcription of this article.


Updated: 3-5-2000

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