How does ethics affect your decision making?
I remember the day when I asked to join the monastic community as a novice monk and take the ten precepts (rules to live by) as well as lots of training guidelines to live by.
During the first few years I got to go through these guidelines in a small group with the Abbott of the monastery. Each week I would study and bring a question. And most weeks I got the same answer “time and place.”
The purpose of the precepts where not to trap you in a lifestyle, nor to make you rigid, they were to reflect on your actions, to slow down and notice the impact of what you do and ultimately return you to peace.
I learned a lot from this: I moved from black and white approach to rules to an adaptive way to respond with respect to the guidelines, myself and the situation or the people involved. Some rules had serious implications if broken you could not continue to be a monastic.
I responded in this way once when I was a monk, when the Burmese government were killing the monks in Mynamar. I persuade the Abbot to write a public letter encouraging resolution, which he did. Later I asked the community to go to a big demonstration in London about this, a few other monastic wanted to come as well. We were told the monastic could not be political and we could not go.
We went anyway we sneaked out of the monastery, got to London considering we did not handle money and joined the back of the protest. Slowly the Burmese people how had high respect for the monastics moved out of the way and we found ourselves at the front of the protest and in the national newspapers!
What I find interesting is that historical the Buddha did not have any rules when he first started off his community. As the monastics did weird things, the rules were formed, and the culture at that time imposed their values. What he said was take refuge in awareness, the natural laws of life, and the community.
This week I’m co-exploring ethics as part of my agile coaching super-vision for agile coaches and scrum master. We are going to inquire into the complex situations they can encounter, in a complex role and how to notice, reflect and respond to that. This is informed by monastic training and my continued commitment to leading an ethical life.
What ethical dilemmas have you encountered at work, especially if you are a scrum master or agile coach?