These two things seem to be closely knitted together, sometimes contradictory and can be found especially in a professional setting. For example when a group of people work in a project, They have responsibilities - targets to achieve, deadlines to finish, works to do. They have roles to play.

Thus, it seems like a normal occurrence for the members to have expectations towards each other. It's a team work. The team cannot finish the project if the members don't do their jobs properly.

From the point of view of Buddhism, how does one should see/deal with this? In a teamwork, if you don't expect people to do their responsibilities and be content, the team might stall and it would impact everyone negatively. But if you expect, you are becoming attached to the person, wanting something from him/her.


2 Answers 2


Buddhism has two types of teachings: (i) worldly teachings; and (ii) non-worldly teachings. In the worldly teachings, a worker should do their job to the best of their abilities. In other words, Buddhism places expectations upon workers; just as monks must fulfil the expectations of their livelihood. The scriptures say:

The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir by their master show their compassion to him in five ways:

(i) they rise before him,

(ii) they go to sleep after him,

(iii) they take only what is given,

(iv) they perform their duties well,

(v) they uphold his good name and fame.

DN 31

One meaning of the word 'dhamma' is 'duty' or 'practice'.

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    They must? Not from this comes that, with arising of this, that arises?
    – user11235
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 11:16

One of the best managers I ever worked with had one simple question at each meeting. She would ask:

What problem are we solving today?

Note that this question completely cuts off solution bickering as well as identity view. It's a marvelous real world strategy for laity.

From a monastic perspective, the elimination of identity view is critical:

An individual who is attached to their own views, holding them tight, and refusing to let go, extinguishes it by not being attached to their own views, not holding them tight, but letting them go easily. --MN8

Do this one simple thing at every meeting. Just ask:

"What problem are we solving today?"

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