Grabbing More to Leave More Behind

brook-of-life1If you do not possess enough material resources to live a comfortable life, then skip the rest of this post and work on getting that – because, “with no food in the stomach, all thought is for naught.”

To those who have more than they need to live in comfort, this post asks, why do you keep grabbing for more in order to leave more behind?  Why do so many keep setting bigger and bigger goals, to satisfy ever-expanding appetites for wealth and power, running faster and faster on the treadmill of desires – driven by negative core values?

Consider this metaphor: Your Life is a journey in the brook, leading to eternal happiness and bliss in the Universal Ocean. Let us assume you wish to travel swiftly and surely to attain Nirvana, or Freedom, which is the highest of the four levels of desire. If you achieve Nirvana while you live, like The Buddha, you will have neither desire nor need for anything material. If, on the other hand, you die withough having ascended to Nirvana, you and all your possessions will be separated.

The question then is: If your purpose in life is to achieve happiness, fulfillment and freeedom – which are all spirtual in nature – why would you continue to grab for material objects which will hinder your journey as long as you live, and which you will leave behind through death or Nirvana?

What do you wonder when you learn of the games of greed and grabbing, often illegally but always unethically, particularly by the powerful and influential in finiancal and political arenas? Is this a recent phenomenon, or is it fundamental to (most) human nature?

Wherein lies the solution?

Purpose of Corporation is profits?

usdcartoonIs Maximization of corporate profit the mission or main purpose of a corporation? What are other “purposes” and obligations? Present an in-depth “Ethical Guidebook” for executives and managers in a large corporation. Give your comments or examples which supports this case.

This post will be end on 28th monday midnight. The leader of this post was Hema Madda.

The blog discussion was extented one more week upto 5th Monday Midnight.

Should CEOs be rewarded for failure?

golden-parachuteIt is commonplace for CEOs of  large American corporations to receive huge paychecks, even when the companies they are entrusted to lead are losing market share, cash and share value. If a company does well, how well should the CEO be rewarded? When the company deteriorates, should the CEO be given a substantial increase in pay? Should the CEO be fired -with an eight -figure severance package? Some numbers to think about, in 1965 the average CEO made 24 times the salary of the average employee. In 2005 the average CEO made 262 times the average employee. What do you think is the Ethical solution to this problem?

This post was prepared by Charles Logan. He will be the leader of this post. This topic blogging was started on 8th Tuesday and will be end on midnight of 14th Monday.

Ethics – Duty – Emotions


 The situation is between father and son. Suppose if you are a police officer (father) and your son committed a crime, you had two choices. One is to turn in your son because it is the ‘RIGHT’ thing to do and the other is to protect your son by doing the ‘DUTY’ of the father towards a son. What is the more ethical thing to do? Discuss the duty ethics VS. right space theories with the situation in mind. Which one does the good outweigh the bad in either of them?

This post was prepared by Kunal Shah and he is the leader for this topic. This blogging was started on 5th Saturday and will be end on midnight of 14th Monday.

What Causes Unhappiness?

vmtConsider this statement from a participant in a Brook of Life Retreat: “I do not know of anyone who consciously seeks unhappiness, yet we act in ways that bring unhappiness upon ourselves!”

Here’s what attendees of a Brook Twilight Seminar “7 Secrets for Happiness,” said about the causes of unhappiness (these are just a few examples):

Being lied to, Bad haircuts, Bad Interstate Drivers, Being Yelled at, Being Sick, Feeling of Failure, Discomfort, Being stressed out, Illness in the family, When things don’t go your lotus_cropped(my) way, Allowing myself to hold on to the burdens of family and friends, Allowing myself to push my wants for me before my real wants, Loss, Angry people, Greed, Loneliness, Fear, Conflict, Strife, Arguments, Rude People, People who are jealous and make fun of others, Pain, Sickness, Bad people, Mean people, Failing at something, Letting down friends and family, Letting down myself-not living up to expectations, Arguments with loved ones, Stressful days at work–being overworked, Procrastination, Feeling helpless, Being lost, Bad grades, Fighting children, Too little sleep, Too busy, Ex Husband, Mean people, Kids when they don’t want to be happy, Negative thinking, External pressure, Financial insecurity…

What are your views on the premise on this post (above)? Please post your comments to share your views, on the causes of unhappiness and happiness, with your fellow travelers.

In a future Purposeful Action Blog post we will list how these persons responded to the question: “What brings happiness to your life?”

The Frog and the Snake

snake-waterFreddy screeched with glee as Sammy slithered up the slopes of riverbank, giving him a kiss with a hiss. “You may play with Sammy on the riverbank, but you are never to go into the river with him,” Mama Frog had warned, repeatedly.

“Let’s go checkout the island, Freddie,” Sammy smiled slyly one day, pointing to the lush growth in mid-river.

“My Mom said I was not to get into the water.” The words “with Sammy” remained at the tip of his long tongue. Freddie did not wish to offend his friend, whom he loved and feared.

“Look at all those frogs playing on the island. Why shouldn’t we go have fun?” Sammy coaxed.


“But I can’t swim that far,” Freddie whimpered.

“Oh, that’s no problem, just hop on my hood and I’ll carry you across.”

“Promise you won’t hurt me?” Freddie blurted, all but giving in to the temptation.

“Of course not,” laughed Sammy, “just hop on.”

“Gee, this is so fun,” Freddie giggled as Sammy slid smoothly through the waves.

“Ready for a real thrill?” Asked Sammy, flipping his hood and launching Freddie into the air.

Freddie shrieked with joy on the way up. Turning a summersault to descend, the little frog froze in fear seeing the wide open jaws of his friend. “But you promised you wouldn’t hurt me,” he cried in terror.

“I can’t help it – it’s my nature. Chomp.”

The discussion questions from this ancient parable are: Can people change? If so, what aspects of their character/actions can be expected to change? What causes individuals to associate with those they know to be takers? Was Freddie a giver, or  a victim (takee)? Can you identify individuals in your personal and professional life with Freddy or Sammy?

The Parable of the Mango Tree

mango-2In Mangoland, where mangos were the currency of trade, a bushel of the golden beauties was equivalent to $1 million in our money. Johnny, an up-and-coming Mangoland executive, was desperate to use his skills and experience to acquire mangos – to consume and to hoard. The orchards were owned by Mangotycoons, Mangolords and Mangopreneurs. One night, as he dreamed of mangos, he had a vision. He did not realize that this vision was about to change his life.

A white-bearded man with a halo, asked in a soft echoing voice, “Do you want mangos?”

“Oh yes!” Johnny replied.

“Come,” said the man, transporting Johnny miraculously to a magnificent mango orchard.

“Wow!” Johnny gasped, taking in the endless acres of luscious fruits, hanging within reach.

“Start your journey by caring for this tree,” said the man, pointing to a sapling that bore the fruits of Johnny’s desires, “With your skills and commitment, it will grow to give you many delicious mangos. Then, you may be called upon to serve other trees that too will share their fruits with you.”  With these words, the man disappeared as mysteriously as he had arrived.

Alone in the orchard, Johnny was trapped between commitment to care for the tree and his uncontrollable desire for mangos. Casting commitment and honor aside, he set upon harvesting the orchard, keeping a wary eye for the man. The man never appeared, and Johnny continued to build a heap of mangos large enough to lay on. Soon, exhausted and hungry, he started to devour the fruits of his labor.  He ate and he ate, until he fell asleep.  Even in his dreams, he was devouring mangos, crouching and hoping he was not being watched.

When he awoke, Johnny did not know how long he had slept. Reaching out for another mango, he shrieked in horror. The heap on which he lay had become a rotting, stinking, bug-infested mess, and there was no tree in site.


How does this parable shed light on Corporate Greed? Can you compare Johnny with executives who have ruined their firms by unethical practices – driven by taking rather than serving and giving. How does this story relate to life?

The Parable of the Mango Tree is an excerpt from “The Mango Tree,” a short story on purposeful action for children, by Prem Chopra, Brook of Life Press, Copyright 2009 by Prem Chopra, all rights reserved.

How Can You Build Meaningful Relationships?

While strolling along the river this morning, and reflecting on turbulence in relationships, these thoughts came to mind.img_0122_3

  • Desires foster hope as well as expectations. Buddha attributes pain and suffering to desires (of taking).
  • Expectations create excitement through anticipation, anxiety and stress through uncertainty, fear and anger through insecurity, and disappointment and sorrow when unmet.
  • Humans are bundles (or victims) of (their own) desires.
  • We expect others to behave (act) in a manner that will satisfy our desires.
  • No individual behaves (acts) in a manner to satisfy all of our desires.
  • You cannot change the behavior (or actions) of others to meet your expectations.
  • Only a true teacher can guide seekers to change themselves, if they have the ears.
  • Do not expect others to act in ways to satisfy your desires at the expense of their own, rather accept that they might pursue their own desires, even at the expense of yours.
  • Do not expect others to change to meet your expectations, rather change your attitude in a way to accept what you respect in their behavior (actions).
  • Do sublimate desires that lead to expectations of others, by acquiring wisdom – through meditation and guidance from a true teacher.

We would appreciate your views, based upon your wisdom and experiences …

Meditation: What’s the Point?

lotus_croppedEvery soul has an innate desire to be united with the source of all being and, through this desire, to set itself free from all bonds and lower levels of desires that prevent it from achieving its highest potential. This also is referred to as a state of resonance, when the subject and object vibrate in unison. This is why chanting is used in some forms of meditation.

Here are some ways in which meditation can change your life:

  • become more at home with yourself and in the universe
  • be able to concentrate and work more effectively at your tasks
  • see where you are and determine where you wish to go more clearly
  • become less insecure, and less anxious and hostile
  • build better relationships

Read how Ann discovers the beauty of meditation in The Voice, the Mind and the Traveler: Revealing the 7 Secrets for Happiness and learn how you can start meditating immediately by devoting just three minutes a day for this life-changing experience.

Share your thoughts and experiences on meditation with your fellow-travelers in the brook of life – through your comments on this purposeful action blog!

General Motors in Free Fall – A Case Study with Purposeful Action


This is a special discussion of a case study applying the Four Principles of Purposeful Action to GM’s decline over the past two decades, with special focus on the company’s most recent and rapid deterioration.
General guidelines are included at the end of this post.
The case study is centered on two discussion topics.
1.   Discuss GM on the basis of the four principles of purposeful action: (i) action, (ii) ethical balance, (iii) desires that motivate action, (iv) the environment, including geo-politics, competition, management and other key influencers and individuals (archetypes and BrookMaster).

 A brief comparison on GM and Toyota would be helpful in discussing the four principles of purposeful action.

GM: After World War II there was big demand for each and every product that was introduced in the market. There is reason for this was rationing of product usage came to a halt. Two of the major industries emerged out of this boom one is housing and automotive. GM took advantage of this market. In order to be the competition GM focused on producing cars at the least cost. The concept of manufacturing cars at least cost helped GM to evolve into a mass manufacturing company. In mass manufacturing system of production raw materials are purchased at the lowest price. The raw materials and finished products will have high inventory. Whether a car has demand in the market or not still the inventory of the car will be high. It is the job of the marketing team to come with ideas to sell it. In this business model GM quickly transformed from visionary to a goal oriented company. The only goal of GM was to be the largest producer and seller of cars, which sacrificed its vision and mission. Every action taken inside the company had no purpose to benefit the society.  There was no ethical balance in the form of producing cars that consumed lot of gas without any forecast for environmental impact at later stage. Executives and leaders were happy as for as the goals were accomplished. The desire that motivated these goal oriented action were in the form of: financial numbers, bonus package and salaries for the executives. The company gave the least importance on the desire to serve the welfare of the employees, society and environment.  Hence company lost to listen the voice of internal and external customers, which resulted in low quality cars, low employment morale, lack of visionary leadership and motivation and poor financial planning. The only thing that was helping GM these days is that customers were enticed by emotional market strategy as “GM is the car built by Americans for Americans” and selling to rental car companies. Even rental car market share fell to other Japanese and Korean car manufacturers in the millennium years. On the whole GM got locked in the ego and arrogant pride as the largest car producers and lost the humbleness in its action.

priusToyota on the contrary: After World War II Japan economy was in shambles.  The quality of all the industrial products developed in Japan was not up to the international market. Toyota was producing car that was least desired by consumers around the world. Moreover the company was in deep financial shambles.  Most of the financial institution did not want to give any kind of financial support to the company. In this crisis, there was one company that provided financial support to Toyota with a stipulated condition. The stipulation was that Toyota can only borrow when it sells a car and the amount must equal to the selling price of the car. This means if Toyota sells one car the company can borrow the money equal to the selling price of that particular car. Toyota accepted this challenge. The management was looking for ideas to produce and sell the car. This created the leaders in Toyota to develop the concept Kaizen meaning continuous improvement (Phase III of Purposeful Action), which later became Toyota production system. Kaizen was applied at every level of the company from the top leadership to the bottom management, from shop floor to dealership place. This became the vision of the company. Every action applied by the employee had to evaluate how it continuously improves the process. This led to employment empowerment. There was open communication at all levels. Toyota saw the company as integrated system not separate entity from the environment, which was not in the case of GM. Every action taken inside company was customer focused. The company sent its executives to see how other companies around the world were manufacturing their products. The executives went to developed nations in the west from Germany to USA. They were open-minded to benchmark companies from other than companies that were producing cars.  The benchmarking process did not lose customer focus. Toyota developed the concept called quality circles which gather information to improve the overall quality for each and every process of the company from both its internal and external end user. In this process the company paid every attention to the welfare of the employee.  This boosted the morale and motivation of the employees.  One important thing was Toyota maintained high ethics of commitment. It never layoffs employees to cut cost instead every aspect was focused on improving the quality of the product without losing its vision on customer focus.  Toyota maintained product line was customer wanted for its needs and necessities. Also made sure the cost of maintenance of the car was at the least cost related to were and tear of the vehicle due to operation.

One the whole Toyota’s action had a purpose at every aspect of its business; ethics to stick to its commitment and were not driven by financial goals; desire to serve the customers, employees and society better.

Sources from

For example Toyota-General Motors sold 9.37 million vehicles worldwide in 2007 and lost $38.7 billion. Toyota sold 9.37 million vehicles in 2007 and made $17.1 billion. That was the second best sales total in GM’s 100-year history and the biggest loss ever for any automaker in the world. For Toyota, that was roughly $1,800 in profit for every vehicle sold. For GM, it was an average loss of $4,100 for every vehicle sold.

2.   What kind of a leadership is required for the present scenario of GM.? Please provide your views, with justification.

 As mentioned in the first question on the comparative analysis of GM and Toyota. GM should focus applying purposeful actions in their operations. The company should develop and implement Kaizens at all levels. Eliminate bureaucracy in the management and involve everyone to seek better solution for both welfare of the company and society. In the recent years GM has improved its quality of cars both in design and performance. It is time for the executives to listen to both internal and external customers. The company should develop health welfare programs for its employees to boast and improve the well being of its employees. One way is to help its employees to eliminate unhealthy practices like smoking and consuming alcohol. Providing incentives for people improving their health which will indirectly reduce the health care cost. The reason for this is the number of employees working for GM is more than 100,000.

Sources from websites: and

Health care, pensions and other benefits -General Motors isn’t bankrupt, but the once-great firm is on the rocks, having lost nearly $4 billion last year alone through September, recently announcing 30,000 layoffs. And at first glance, its long decline would seem to be GM’s fault. Consider perhaps its foremost headache: Its hulking health insurance costs for which workers pay nothing out of pocket, and retirees very little. They have about 145,000 employees, active employees, and we have health care coverage for 1.1 million retirees, independents and family members. Last year we spent $5.2 billion on health care coverage for all of our employees in the U.S. basically. It equates to about $1,500 a car.

That’s more than the steel in an average car and $1,500 that GM’s foreign rivals, with government health insurance, that don’t pay. GM’s got another cost disadvantage as well: full pensions after only 30 years of service, regardless of age. To pay for this largesse, tack on another $1,000 per car.

The lushest benefit of all, however, may be GM’s jobs bank. Workers whose plant closes can transfer elsewhere in the company or, if they choose not to, take classes, do community service, continue to get full pay and never retire. So in Baltimore, when a GM plant closed recently, the jobless weren’t exactly distraught.

When you add the jobs bank to the pensions and health care tab, GM has a total cost disadvantage, compared to non-U.S. rivals, of $2,500 or more per car — before it even starts making one.

Questions and background information for this case study discussion were prepared by Chandrika, Discussion Leader.

This discussion will continue for the next three weeks, through midnight on April 21. Each student will discuss in depth the two questions posted above, applying the specific principles assigned to each student. Assignments of principles will be posted under Assignments in Blackboard. Posts should be based upon research, with appropriate references and links.

This discussion will carry more weight with respect to course grade than a weekly discussion.

Good luck.