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January 6, 2013

Risk Management, Buddhist Style

Buddha has talked a good deal about risk-taking and risk management. Here are just a few prominent stories from my reading, where the would-be Buddha emphasizes on the worst-case scenarios and the "both-and" strategies.

Volume 1. Story Number 1 : Caravan Leader


The leader was persuaded by the ogres to throw away his water so that they would die of thirst in a  desert and the ogres could devour them.


"...But he doesn't know my cleverness and ready wit." Then he shouted to the goblin, "Begone! We're men of business, and do not throw away what water we have got, before we see where more is to come from. ... "
 

Volume 1. Story Number 38 : The Crab Cuts the Crane


Here the crane promised the crab to carry him from his drying lake to a faraway lake.


Thought the crab to himself, "... if he would really put me in, that would be capital. If he does not,--why, I'll nip his head off and kill him."
 

Volume 4. Story Number 466 : The Carpenters and the Iisland Flood


A group of carpenters angered the island gods by thier unruly behaviours. The gods decided to get rid of them in a flood. An eveil god told them not to worry and keep on having fun as before. A good-natured god warned them of the coming flood.

There were two groups among the carpenters. The leader of the foolish, unruly carpenters told his followers to trust the eveil-minded god. The leader of the well-behaved carpenters spoke thus:


"Come now, let us follow the words of both the deities. Let us build a ship, and then if the words of the first be true, into that ship we will climb and depart; but if the words of the other be true, we will put the ship out of the way, and dwell here."
 

Reference


The Jataka, Volume I, tr. by Robert Chalmers, [1895], at sacred-texts.com
THE JATAKA OR STORIES OF THE BUDDHA'S FORMER BIRTHS.

TRANSLATED FROM THE PALI BY VARIOUS HANDS
UNDER THE EDITORSHIP OF PROFESSOR E. B. COWELL.

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