small business in big china

can a buddhist run a business in the world's fastest growing economy & maintain her principles?

photo by jeurgen wigge

excerpted from the print magazine…

Buddhism came to China via India during the Han Dynasty (200 BCE – 200 CE) and assimilated quickly. As with all things in ancient China, the fate of Buddhism relied on the privilege of the reigning emperor, and accordingly its popularity waxed and waned with the mindset of the day. But for the most part, up until the early twentieth century, Buddhism enjoyed the ear of the ruling elite and prospered under the gaze of various emperors. To say you had a Buddhist guru would automatically endow you with the respect of your peers. It was an affirmation that you were a well-educated and well-cultured member of society.

Although enjoying the privilege of the Communist Party, Buddhism in modern China is experiencing a period of inner reflection and readjustment as it struggles to re-establish itself in a society inundated with modernity and rampant material progress at any cost…

Ren Yuan is a 36-year-old Chinese woman, wife, aspiring business person and lay Buddhist who happens to find herself somewhat stuck in the here and now, and doing her best to remain present. She is married to Graeme, a 39-year-old Australian who visited China a few years back, liked her presence and decided to stay put.

Copyright ©2007 ascent magazine, first Canadian yoga magazine, yoga for an inspired life