Compassion in Buddhism and Guanxi: Can There Be a Synergy for Western Companies in China

Download the full article: Compassion in Buddhism and Guanxi: Can There Be a Synergy for Western Companies in China (Chinese Business Review, ISSN 1537-1506, April 2013, Vol. 12, No. 4, 287-297)


Mr. Gelek Tashi
DBA Candidate at Business School Lausanne


Compassion is one of the core fundamental elements of Buddhism. The compassionate virtues are the precious qualities essential in the practice of Buddhism. On the other hand, guanxi plays a dominant role in any successful business venture in Chinese market. This paper develops the understanding of the two ancient bodies of knowledge of Buddhism and Confucianism. The attempt will be made in this paper to understand the deeper meaning of compassion in Buddhism in terms of compassionate virtues such as generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, humility, and wisdom. In guanxi, it will delve into different aspects of guanxi in terms of its background, meaning, significance, different types, intermediary, comparison with networking and ethics and success factors. This paper is based on the literature review on compassion guanxi. The compassion literature focuses on books on Buddhism and commentaries by great Tibetan Buddhist sages. The guanxi literatures are predominately based on business research papers related to guanxi and business culture in China. The paper provides deeper meaning of compassion in Buddhism. The application of compassion to manage guanxi in China is the topic of this paper. This research is about optimizing the art of guanxi through the application of compassion which will help many non-Chinese business managers to effectively manage it. This paper is considered the first of its kind to study compassion in Buddhism and guanxi practice in China and seeks to provide the necessary framework to conduct the further research on applying compassion to build and manage better guanxi in China.