Saturday, November 28, 2015

FOREWORD Leading From Compassion - Lời tựa: Lãnh Đạo từ Lòng Từ Bi

FOREWORD Leading From Compassion

Flowing in Dr. Phe Xuan Bach’s prose and poetry are notions of intentional mindfulness within ourselves and with others. Such is the core of leadership that is being always present in this moment that we share with others. Mindful leadership is existential in nature, both timely and timeless.

A practicing Buddhist, Dr. Bach weaves the Dharma into both a concept and practice of leadership that transcends the common definitions of it in the West. In mindful leadership, we lead from the inside out, practicing the five “arts of living” as described in “The Art of Living According to Spirited Leaders.” Becoming a mindful leader is nurtured through daily meditation, a practice that grounds us with equanimity.

Of the Western interpretations of leadership, Dr. Bach’s intersects with servant leadership but deepens how we might understand and practice it through mindfulness, forgiveness, and peace. Such is reflected in his poem, “Leading By Example Leadership.” As leaders we embody what we would teach others, such as the practices of mindfulness that Dr. Bach teaches to Buddhist youth. We become examples of mindful leaders, as discussed in his article “Leading By Example – A Buddhist Approach in Leadership and Ethics.”  

Looking outward, we lead with compassion, avoiding the mistakes of leading without it, so aptly described in Dr. Bach’s paper, “Learning from the Mistakes of Others – Leading Without Compassion.” We lead with the realizations that humans are beautifully complex and that what we do together are social endeavors. Our moments together seek harmony that springs from the wells of empathy and of suspending judgment about each other.

Leading ourselves and others through change, metaphorically, is the water in the river flowing around the rocks, always moving, always flowing. We learn to embrace change and let go of what we cannot control, a notion reflected in “Change: Fear Me Not - Embrace Me.” As mindful leaders our daily practice helps us find a constancy in the milieu of change and a peace in helping others navigate what would seem to be troubling waters.

A phenomenologist, Dr. Bach’s research focuses on the spiritual leadership roles of Vietnamese Buddhist monks in America. Emerging from their voices and his interpretations are the constructs and practices of mindful leadership, the threads of which appear in his writings here. Most recently, Dr. Bach presented his research at the United Nations Day of Vesak, 2015, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The universality of Dr. Bach’s conceptualization of compassionate, mindful, and peace-based leadership transcends time, nations, and contexts; it may move us toward completeness within ourselves and without with others. May the poems and prose within this collection give us pause for reflection and transformation.

W. Edward Bureau, PhD 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
July 2015 

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