Towards a Buddhist systems methodology (BSM) : developing the theory of BSM and testing it in a Taiwanese Buddhist organization
In the twentieth century, systems thinking developed in the West from a recognition that a new way of thinking was needed to deal with complexity. In the East, Buddhism offers a powerful perspective to observe the world and its problems, and has been successfully helping people in their daily lives for nearly two thousand five hundred years. This research develops and tests a new perspective for problem solving and problem prevention by integrating selected ideas from Buddhist thinking and systems thinking. The purpose is to generate a methodology of specific relevance to Buddhist organizations in Taiwan. Similarities and differences between aspects of Buddhist thinking and systems thinking are examined to reveal potential synergies. However, difficulties in integrating various Buddhist and systems perspectives are also identified. The chosen solution is to establish synergies via the "systemic intervention" perspective that provides a rationale for allowing theoretical and methodological pluralism in the development of locally relevant approaches to intervention. Therefore a Buddhist Systems Methodology (BSM) is proposed which combines systemic intervention with Buddhist concepts and which appears to offer a new systemic perspective for problem solving and problem prevention in organizations in Taiwan. The BSM methodology is field tested by carrying out an intervention in Buddha's Light International Association, Republic of China (BLIA, R. O. C. ). The intervention identifies and tackles an issue of major concern to the organization. An evaluation of the BSM intervention by stakeholders, carried out six months after implementation, reveals significant progress towards resolution of the issue and wide acceptance of the usefulness of the BSM.