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The beliefs and cultures of the ancient chinese and europeans

Considering the relationship between Confucianism, Buddhism and business from an intercultural perspective in the context of economic and cultural globalization, we present some modern Chinese business people, including some overseas Chinese, who behave in accordance with Confucianism, pray to Bodhisattva for safety and wealth, and donate to the temple. Reasons for these phenomena are analyzed and the role of harmony emphasized by Confucianism and Buddhism is taken into account.

Concrete data is taken from our survey in 59 international companies in China, carried out in 2007. The influence of Confucianism and Buddhism on business is analyzed through my practical experience in the Chinese community in Portugal. In fact, Chinese culture is rooted in these two philosophies and their impact on Chinese life and economics is deep.

According to Marx 2001: So Confucianism and Buddhism have affected and continue to affect the way Chinese people think and operate. Unfortunately, the two philosophies were suppressed in the Cultural Revolution 1966-1976but in recent years, Buddhism and Confucianism have been booming in China.

In this research, 5000 questionnaires were sent to people over the age of 16, about 91. The main reason given for religious belief is to meet spiritual needs, and Prof. Nowadays, in different areas of public life, from government to business, religion is being promoted. For example, in a recent speech, President Hu Jintao suggested that religion, including Buddhism, can help ease tensions between the haves and the have-nots Dexter 2008: In addition, there seems to be a growing trend towards worshipping Buddha and Confucius among Chinese business people, especially Chinese merchants, also known as Confucian merchants.

The contrary trend appears with temple monks trying to connect Buddhism with business.

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Abbot Shi runs many Shaolin gongfu schools inside China and abroad. Shi Yongxin, Chen Xiaoxu and Confucian merchants all made people think a lot about the influence of Buddhism on business. These examples demonstrate the strong link between spiritual and material life in contemporary China. Profile of Confucianism and Buddhism principles The teachings of Buddhism and Confucianism promote harmony to achieve inner peace. Gernet 1995 explained the second of Buddhism's six principles of harmony like this: On the other hand, Buddhism teachings emphasize silence and consider that "trouble exists from the mouth" Chin 1998.

As for Confucianism, it considers harmony as the basis of the family, proposing that harmony can make fortune prosperity.

  1. Recently, his son and daughter-in-law opened a wholesale jewelry shop in Porto the second biggest city of Portugal. He prays to Buddha for security, health and fortune.
  2. A social and economic interpretation, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1973, p.
  3. In many places in Europe, they were at the forefront of the development of vocational and technical training. Robert Allen, for example, argues that whereas in eighteenth-century Britain the high cost of labour compared to energy was a powerful incentive to substitute fuel for labour, no such stimulus worked in China, because access to fuel was expensive relative to labour 14.
  4. In this research, 5000 questionnaires were sent to people over the age of 16, about 91. Smith and Richard von Glahn eds.
  5. Yet, modern science did not take root in China and in the first half of the eighteenth century, the transmission of European scientific knowledge to China came to a virtual halt. Confucianism and Buddhism require perseverance and patience, which should be exercised towards themselves, and, of course, towards others.

As Chen Ming Jer 2003 [1] explains: Confucianism governs every relationship including those of business. In short, it "sets out the correct form of behavior in a given situation so as to preserve harmony and face" Ambler 2003. Influenced by the two faiths, the Chinese are calm, silent, united and obedient people who have strong and close knit families and help each other to overcome difficulties.

Chinese scholars and merchants abroad Since China opened up in 1978, the Chinese economy began to integrate into the global economy, and "increasing numbers of Chinese began to go overseas, in small numbers at first, but in significant numbers from the mid-1990s". The total number of overseas Chinese is about 35 million, of which 5 million went abroad after 1978, according to Liang accessed online [3].

As for faith, they believe in Buddhism, Taoism and other religions [5].

Some overseas Chinese, who behave in accordance with Confucianism, pray to Bodhisattva for safety and wealth, and donate to the temple. The first hosting countries for overseas Chinese students or scholars were the U. These students prepare themselves in the areas of science, technology and business. China has been attracting back these students with no tax and other benefits to work in education, government or their own business since the 1990s.

According to Skeldon 2004, accessed onlinewith its rapid economic development, China will need to import labor from migrants who are living abroad, who left home to get rich, marry and settle down. This has been the newest trend of Chinese overseas professionals returning to mainland.

It was Europe, on the other hand, that saw the less skilled workers rushing to open up businesses like manufacturing and trading, running restaurants and stores also. According to the Europe Times accessed online [7], there are 1. The economic success of China benefits from, or is closely associated with, Confucianism and Buddhism. The Chinese business community abroad has also achieved success and reflects Confucian thought in its organizational structure, which is firmly based on the family.

Confucianism and Buddhism on Chinese business in China Our survey see Appendixcarried out in 2007, reflects the effects of Confucianism and Buddhism on Chinese business in China. Our larger aim was to find out what is happening in respect of English and international business in China, and to this end, a questionnaire was developed in English and Chinese which was given to employees in 59 companies by email or in paper form, in China.

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Companies were classified according to their location, international or national profile, products and the type of company, such as foreign, joint venture, state-owned, or private company.

Some 550 questionnaires were given in Chinese 350 and English versions 200. The classification of the respondents was based on gender, age, nationality, academic background, profession and employer. As for the position of the employees in the companies, the majority were technicians 81followed by Management 71 and Marketing 62then Public Relations 11 and Accounting 3.

As for academic background, the largest number had Bachelor Degrees 163while the smallest number held Doctorates 4. The remaining respondents divided themselves between those holding a Master's 66 and those with no academic degree 63. Below we present some results of our survey which reveal the influence of the two philosophies. These results have not been previously published. First of all, in relation to ways of communicating which were deemed to be effective by our population Figure 1we found that around 69.

These results demonstrate how overwhelmingly important long-term connections and harmony are considered amongst this group. Effective ways of communicating When questioned about the cultural values considered important for successful business in Chinese markets Figure 2our results revealed that 68.

  • Contrary to ingrained convictions among many historians and theologians, however, the key factor cannot be found in differences in beliefs and values in religious traditions;
  • The calculation of the calendar included the prediction of the positions of the sun, the moon and the five planets, as well as of rare events like eclipses.

Important cultural values in the Chinese market In response to the question about the contributions of Confucianism and Buddhism to business in China Figure 3the respondents considered tolerance important Chinese cultural value with 47.

No matter where they are located, Chinese employees from foreign, joint-venture or state-owned companies, share the same cultural values and determine the way they deal with conflict management Shi 2003. These cultural values make Chinese people work harder. Confucianism and Buddhism principles like harmony, the cooperative principle, politeness, the win-win principle, loyalty and endurance are exercised in the way they do their business.

  • Are there human universals that may account for the development of shared structures of knowledge in different cultures?
  • Confucianism governs every relationship including those of business.

The contributions of Confucianism and Buddhism The case of Aveiro In the next section, we will look at the influence of Confucianism and Buddhism on Chinese business abroad on the basis of a small study carried out in Aveiro, Portugal. It will look more specifically at harmony, silence and face-saving through the analysis of short examples of interaction which took place in the most typical form of Chinese business found in our region: We will demonstrate the influence of religion on Chinese business with some concrete examples from the real world.

Context Aveiro is the capital city of the District of Aveiro with about 57,000 inhabitants, located in Northwest Portugal.

  • The most active organization in this field was the congregation of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which was founded by Jean-Baptiste de la Salle in 1680;
  • The contrary trend appears with temple monks trying to connect Buddhism with business;
  • Traditional Chinese mathematical texts are mostly written in the form of problems and prescriptive rules for their solution;
  • Global currents in Chinese history, New York, W;
  • Like other overseas Chinese merchants in Europe, the Chinese business persons in Aveiro are mostly from Qingtian or Wenzhou;
  • In all three contexts, the Chinese side did not act as passive receiver, but rather prompted or requested the transfer of knowledge against the background of an agenda of its own.

It is a commercial city with an important seaport on the Atlantic coast. In an interview carried out on the 26th Feb 2008, Manuel Silva, an officer in charge of immigrant services of Aveiro, we found that there are about 749 Chinese immigrants in the region of Aveiro, of which 275 are business people.

Others are students in regular schools. In total, there are 13 Chinese shops and 4 Chinese restaurants in the city of Aveiro, including seven medium-sized shops in the main street. Both shops and restaurants are well-placed in the city, being central and easy to reach, and have a good number of customers. Chinese business units tend to be small or medium-sized because of the limited purchasing power.

The Case of Aveiro, Portugal

Those Chinese merchants who have settled here run family businesses and can be divided into three groups: In recent years, the economy of Portugal has been less favorable and many owners of restaurants have changed to open up shops to reduce their costs. They keep the same Chinese way of life, despite living abroad and learning other languages and cultures.

The examples of the influence of Buddhism and Confucianism which we will present were observed and collected from the seven shops and three restaurants, and particularly from one shop where the first author spent one week as an assistant in order to observe more closely the relations and dialogues in the business context. The first thing we notice is the decorations of the restaurants which, to western eyes, are markers of Chinese restaurants but, to their owners, are related to Buddhism Figure 4.

One restaurant put a Buddha statue at the front door for blessings. Scroll paintings and calligraphy of Buddhism and Confucianism sayings are shown there, such as tolerance and quietness. The Chinese shops sell statues of Buddha, pictures, scroll paintings and calligraphy about Buddhist and Confucian beliefs.

The Influence of Confucianism and Buddhism on Chinese Business:

In recent years, a new trend has emerged with some Chinese business people taking on Portuguese employees in order to integrate into local culture and to facilitate communication. Chinese employers treat their employees as family members and respect them.

Like other overseas Chinese merchants in Europe, the Chinese business persons in Aveiro are mostly from Qingtian or Wenzhou. Sharing the same hometown background, their interpersonal relationship is very good and they often help each other with money or services.

Some of the owners are in fact relatives. An old Chinese proverb reflects their interdependence: Their educational level is low. Most of them only have primary school education and some are unschooled. Buddhist statue and character Silence in Fuhua Restaurant of Aveiro When Chinese entrepreneurs are conducting their business, their attitudes toward their customers are patient, kind and inviting.

They are always very quiet and the local people have never seen them quarrelling.

  1. The crucial difference was that in China technical innovation to a much greater extent than in Europe took place outside the context of religious institutions.
  2. Seeking explanations for differences in technological development in variations in religious beliefs and values thus seems to lead to a dead end.
  3. Context Aveiro is the capital city of the District of Aveiro with about 57,000 inhabitants, located in Northwest Portugal. Cities, monasteries and waterworks after...
  4. When the Portuguese lady came back to the counter, she also asked the owner to wrap them up.

In fact, from a Chinese perspective, quarrelling in public means losing mutual face and harmony. In an interview, Mr. Zhou, a restaurant and shop owner told us that his family has believed in Buddha for many generations and all his family members still pray to Buddha daily. There is a statue of Buddha on the shelf at reception in his restaurant. Pointing out some characteristics on the scroll paintings and calligraphy of Buddhism on the wall, Mr. He prays to Buddha for security, health and fortune.

Meanwhile, he donated money to building roads and a Buddhist temple in his hometown. He must not do anything in business that disobeys his faith. He also added that if you believe in the teachings of Buddhism, Buddha will bless you, and he attributes the success of his business to these beliefs. Recently, his son and daughter-in-law opened a wholesale jewelry shop in Porto the second biggest city of Portugal. Since Chinese people are a close knit family, they do everything together, even having their business open all hours of the day, some of them including lunch at work.

Young mothers usually take care of their babies in the shops. The Chinese are also a thrifty people, who do not spend much money on daily necessities, saving up their money, in many cases to send back to China to build their house and help their elderly parents. It is common practice in the traditional Chinese family for up to four generations to live together and the younger generations show respect to the elder members of the family, who are the powerful decision-makers.

On the first day of practice in the Chinese shop, the author became familiar with the lady owner whose family runs both a restaurant and a shop. The following morning, she told me about how they deal with thieves: