Some people think I’m joking when I say that integrity, especially truthfulness, is the most important quality of a human being. But here’s a well-researched article that supports all my points:
Crisis of Truthfulness in Business—Truth-Telling Without ‘Spin’—Lost Virtue in Workplaces: Lessons on Truthfulness from Islam
We go deep into the subject of integrity according to the teaching of the Buddha in our podcast series Being Integrity.
As I like to point out, the subject of integrity in business is a bit of an oxymoron. Any corporation is, in essence, a lie: a fabricated, fictitious entity that investors use to protect their assets from liability. In such a context, how can anyone be truthful? As soon as one says, “I’m the manger of the ABC department of XYZ Inc.” he is a liar.
Actually there are two lies in that statement: the first one is ‘I am’. Just like no one can show you a corporation, because it doesn’t really exist except as words on paper; similarly, no one can show you their ‘self’, because it exists only as thoughts in their mind.
Abstractions like corporations and the ‘self’ are semantic constructions, part of a consensus reality that turns all of us into slaves of a state—which is also a fiction. They exist only as words, and all of us are parties to an aberrated agreement to act as if they are real.
We are like actors on a blank stage, standing in front of a green screen, filming a story about scenes and monsters that will be filled in later by special effects. Except in this case, the CGI effects are in our imaginations.
Monks like me are known as sādhu, meaning ‘one who cuts’. Our duty is to cut away the false burden of egoism and reveal the plain simple truth about life. Anyone who takes these instructions to heart surely becomes free from suffering, because in the absence of the ego, who is there to suffer?