How to Grow Your Business with Buddhist Principles
I practice Tibetan Buddhism under the gracious guidance of H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche. I have committed to this journey in search of self, practicing compassion and gratitude, and ultimately I hope to achieve inner peace.
And yet, I am also very much a part of the corporate world.
While studying and practicing the Buddhist principles of Dharma, I built an international multi-award winning property conglomerate named Hatten Group of Companies which started out as a small property developer in Melaka, Malaysia. Within 10 years, we were voted the Best Emerging Developer 2015 at the iProperty People’s Choice Awards and known as the largest luxury Property Developer in Melaka with successfully completed projects spread across Malaysia’s Southern region.
From just 10 employees, we now have a 500-strong workforce with offices in Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang and Singapore. Our existing businesses include Property Development, Retail and Residential Management, Hospitality and Macro-Investment. Our future plans include ventures in Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China.
Having achieved considerable success in such a short span of time, the most frequent question I get asked is, “How do you stay true to Buddha’s teachings AND still move ahead in the cut-throat corporate world?”
First, I learnt that we must change our perception that Dharma cannot exist in Business.
As both a Buddhist and a business leader, I have incorporated the principles of Dharma not only in my spiritual life but also in my professional career. Buddhism has transformed the way I run my group of companies and so far the rewards – both spiritual and financial – have been phenomenal.
These are the Six Principles of Dharma that continue to guide me in my daily life:
1. Develop a Compassionate Purpose
If you want your business to succeed in the long term, it has to be more than just an income generator. It should serve a larger, more meaningful purpose in support of the community.
Since the beginning, Hatten Group has made it our core mission to work in service of the community through our chosen industries. As property developers, we chose to concentrate our efforts on building in Melaka as we wanted to bring progress and elevate the standard of living for the residents of this small sleepy town.
Even now, having expanded into Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang with successful divisions in retail, hospitality, asset management, education and medi-wellness, our goal remains the same – to bring meaningful change and contribute to the growth and development of the community.
2. Understand the Law of Attraction
Once you are guided by a higher purpose, the universe will begin to manifest the tools you need to attain your goals.
If you view your business as a means of obtaining wealth, you will always be dissatisfied. Instead, try to position your goals beyond material gain and see it as a way of solving problems or of making life better for other people. When you are guided by this higher purpose, you will be surrounded by people who share your bigger vision and this way, your business will grow and the rewards will be more fulfilling.
Speaking from experience, at Hatten Group we have always been fortunate to meet individuals and organisations that share a similar philosophy. Their goal of helping others tie in with ours and together we have collaborated in large-scale business ventures that have been both highly beneficial to the community while still generating income for our respective corporations. It is always a win-win situation.
3. Believe in Karma
Every thought, word and deed has a consequence. Take responsibility for your actions.
If you do good, you will receive good back; if you lie and cheat in your business dealings, you can expect the same in return. No amount of prayer or charity can reverse this cycle. Therefore, it is important to always act from the highest motives and practice integrity in both your professional and personal life. It’s simple – treat people the way you want to be treated and let your highest conscience be your guide in making any business decisions.
As a rule, Hatten Group operates with the utmost integrity, transparency and honesty. We treat all our clients as members of the family and try to do what is best for them in terms of growing their portfolio and multiplying their capital. We continue to build lasting business relationships based on mutual respect and trust and this has resulted in our large network of loyal customers and stakeholders.
I personally believe that if you act with kindness, you, your family and your business will reap more merits in this life and in the lives to come.
4. Focus Through Meditation
Take a step back to gain perspective and see the bigger picture.
Meditation helps you clear your mind so that you can make better life decisions. It slows down your thoughts, refocuses your perspective and lets you see problems from different angles. I recommend practising a daily sadhana – a daily spiritual practice designed to allow oneself to turn inward and perceive life as it truly is. Sadhana helps discipline the mind and suppress the ego.
As the Executive Chairman and Group Managing Director of Hatten Group, it is a constant challenge to balance my work, family and spiritual life. I find that practising a simple 10-minute meditation each day helps me gain clarity of vision, refocus my priorities and just take some time for myself to grow and evolve. It has certainly helped me make better decisions in both my working and personal life.
5. Have Detachment
Learn to let go.
First we must learn to let go of our attachment to money. The measure of success is not financial; what’s more important is the lasting impact we have on the lives of others. This is why Hatten Group incorporates Corporate Social Responsibility into our business model. Via Hatten Cares, we are committed to channeling our resources back to the community through our charity drives, awareness campaigns and donations to deserving organisations. We find that the more we give the more we receive and when we no longer see money as the priority, money keeps coming to us so that we can continue serving the community.
Another life-changing practice is to let go of anger and ego. When we are truly passionate about our business, we tend to be over protective and emotions can run high. Instead of getting defensive and seeing every comment as an attack, we should practice conscious awareness and see the positive side of every situation. In order to grow, we must learn to accept, evaluate and digest every comment and every situation as every experience has something to teach us.
6. Be Grateful
There is always someone who is worse off than you. Be grateful for what you have.
The most important lesson that I have learnt from H.E. Tsem Rinpoche is gratitude. Be thankful for every blessing, every experience and every person in your life. Be grateful to those who help you, those who love you and especially those who test you. In all cases, you are the beneficiary because it is only in times of hardship that you discover your true strength and learn the value of patience, compassion and tenacity.
I am eternally grateful to Rinpoche for steering me onto my true spiritual path. Without his gracious presence and guidance, my personal and professional life would not be as fruitful, fulfilling and so blessed. My utmost gratitude goes to my parents, especially my father. In business, he has been an invaluable mentor. I look up to him for his bold vision, fearless attitude, tenacity, passion and commitment. I always seek his wisdom to guide me in making major business decisions and he has truly shaped me into the man I am today.
Focusing on these six elements of Dharma has helped fast track the growth of my businesses – this includes high ROI, great client relations, loyal employees and much more.
But, no matter what I am doing, be it business or personal, I am grounded in the knowledge that I serve a bigger purpose; a purpose that Rinpoche has instilled in me, which is to dedicate myself in service of others.
The true measure of our success is not the money we earn, but the changes we make and the lives we touch while on the journey in search of inner peace and Enlightenment.
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