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Discovering the devout soul of our similarities

Updated: 2012-05-28 16:43
By Chitralekha Basu ( China Daily)

Sun Ziyu, who's a highly placed executive with China Communications Construction Company in Beijing, sees strong parallels between the principles guiding the Communist Party of China and Buddhism.

"Communists believe the Buddhist notion of selfless service, working toward the benefit of others - don't they?" he asks.

We caught the buoyant engineer and public servant on the sidelines of the Interfaith Summit in Bangkok. Sun had well-defined reasons for attending the meet.

"As a leader of a State-owned company, I would like to learn the best practices of running an organization from the conference."

And he was very clear that the process began with self-education.

"I am trying to be a good pupil," he says.

Although his company is one of China's leading profitable State-run enterprises, Sun says it's important to keep learning and create good vibes.

"It is important to create a good environment at the workplace, and that can only happen by motivating oneself to put in one's best by deriving lessons from traditional culture."

His ambition is to promote the values he so cherishes - values he picked up from reading about Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism in their distilled essences in the book Di Zi Gui, compiled by the celebrity Buddhist monk "Venerable Master" Chin Kung.

"I would like to use my position to propagate the message among our European business partners," Sun says.

He had an opportunity to brush up on his knowledge of Islam at the conference, which reinforced his understanding of the emotions informing the minds of his business partners in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

"I have always found we have more commonalities than differences," he says.

Greg Rudd, who runs a consultancy in Beijing, Hong Kong, Canberra, Australia, and London for companies looking for investment opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, contends the reason many democracies are falling apart is they intrinsically thrive on differences rather than similarities. The world, he feels, would experience fewer conflicts, "if we took a politically mature view and started focusing on commonalities".

As a member of the UNESCO board in Beijing and a keen China-watcher, Rudd says: "China has a fair chance of this change happening."

At a time when Chinese youth are undertaking a new wave of learning, one of the ways of doing this would be to "go back to the roots of traditional Chinese education".

Rudd believes China would do well to take lessons from the teachings of the sages and use them as "a societal control informed by the right kind of education and leading to mature conversation and internal morality".

Otherwise, we run the risk of "minor differences getting blown out of proportion and starting wars", he says

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