During some meditation I need to say several sentences. One of them is I take refuge in the liberated Sangha. I noticed that I often forget to say that sentence and virtually never forget the other four.

I started to think whether it's a coincidence and came to the conclusion that I have problems with effectively co-operating with people. Up to now, I've been most effective, when I worked alone.

Are there any Buddhist teachings on how one can overcome mental obstacles, which prevent a person from being a good leader (using other people's talents to achieve goals, which benefit some beings and don't harm anyone) ?

Note: By "mental obstacles" I don't mean lack of skills (e. g. inability to estimate the effort of tasks) or obvisous personality defects (e. g. the wish to look better than the others in front of people). It's something much more subtle, which makes me do all the work alone, even though I'm pretty sure that there are people out there, who would gladly help me.

2 Answers 2


The Buddha ministered to all levels of society including Kings. On the occasion when King Pasenadi of Kosala lost in the battle and had to retreat to his capital at Savatthi the Buddha said

"Victory breeds hatred.

The defeated live in pain.

Happily the peaceful live,

Giving up victory and defeat."

I take this to be advise around ones attitude to winning and losing. If you live with an adversarial attitude then you will never be happy. If you believe that my win is your loss then whether you win or lose you will be in a painful mental state. Happiness lies with moving away from this false binary point of view.

  • Good comment. Again we see how the Buddha chooses the middle way stearing away from the extremes.
    – user2424
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 22:03

"The four immeasurables":

Metta - friendship to all beings

Karuna - compassion to all beings

Mudita - taking joy in the well-being of others

Upekkha - equanimity toward all beings

... from this point of view, you're already part of an ongoing "team effort" to create the conditions for a safer and happier environment, wherever you go.

I really relate to that compulsive need to go do things myself. I often remind myself: "sometimes people really need to help you, and to refuse them the chance to help can be unkind."

I also often "check in" with myself to see whether what I'm doing right now helps to create conditions for myself and others to be safer and happier. Not to "make" myself or others safe and happy- that's out of our control- but to set up the conditions that support that.

Even though the idea of the "immeasurables" is to reduce selfishness, I think it's also a great definition of leadership. You can take that energy that makes you want to step out on your own, and use it to create a better atmosphere for collaboration. There's no situation where you can't find something to do that will lighten the load, either for yourself, or for someone else.

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