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Spirituality and Sustainability: A New Path for Entrepreneurship

Laszlo Zsolnai, Gabor Kovacs, Zsuzsa Gyori and Andras Ocsai represented the Business Ethics Center in Euroepan SPES Conference entitled “Spirituality and Sustainability: A New Path for Entrepreneurship conference” from 21-23 September, 2012 in Visegrad, Hungary.

Symbol of the conference: Visegrad by Karoly Marko (1826)

In his keynote lecture The Market Disclosure of Being — A Heideggerian Approach to Business Laszlo Zsolnai argued that despite Heidegger’s warning, it is not modern technology but modern-day business that destroys Being and beings. With its exclusive focus on profit-making, modern-day business tends to violate the integrity and diversity of natural ecosystems, the autonomy and culture of local communities and the chance that future generations will lead a decent life. To overcome this problem substantive economic thinking is needed which acknowledges human beings’ patent dependence for their livelihood upon nature and their fellows.

Gabor Kovacs’ lecture was entitled Buddhist Spiritual Orientation to Nature and Sustainability. He stressed that Buddhism refutes the dominance of humans over other species. It does not promote an anthropocentric worldview but looks at humanity as an integral part of its surrounding environment. The heart of Buddhism is ongoing spiritual perfection: the threefold practice. The observation of precepts and the compliance of virtues are the first step, which lead to a non-harming and peaceful lifestyle. Meditation and calming down of the mind result in the further strengthening of virtues and precepts. Continuous practice is a positive spiral which may produce spiritual perfection and a sustainable life-style. Kovács emphasizes that sustainability in Buddhism appears as a consequence of leading a “Buddhist way of life”, which is built around the conception of interdependence and the practice of non-harming.

Zsuzsanna Gyori and Andras Ocsai presented their paper Ecologically-oriented Enterprises in Hungary, co-written with Gabor Kovacs, Adam Csepku and Laszlo Zsolnai. In the paper they offered empirical evidence that with the help of their value-based strategy ecologically-oriented enterprises can survive and even prosper in the Hungarian economy.