Once Buddha was strolling in his monastery, he saw coconut shells scattered here and there. The ever-loving and non-complaining Buddha collected those used coconut shells and was about to pack them into a shack to throw away. Suddenly four of his dear disciples came and profusely apologised to him. They requested to give them the shack so that they could throw it away. One of the disciples was Atish Dipankar, who was later sent to South East Asia to spread Buddha's message of non-violence and who founded ZEN Buddhism in Japan.
Buddha kept smiling as was his wont. One of the disciples said, 'We were about to collect the shells but procrastinated (delayed)', other one said, ' We thought that there should be more shells so that we could throw them away in one go.' In this way, they were giving lame excuses and alibis.
Buddha said, 'You gave your excuses and ultimately who collected the useless shells?'
The disciples said nothing.
Then Buddha gave them 7 points and those points are now the backbones and veins of human life and corporate excellence:
1. Never wait for others to do things that you can do on your own.
2. Never wait for the next moment for doing something. Do it at once. As Jean Paul Sartre said, 'The moment you exist in, is the moment that exists for you.'
3. Shelve your useless ego and feel elated to do anything because no work is small or insignificant
4. Stop blaming others. In modern parlance, don't pass the buck.
5. Be aware of your ambiance.
6. Be quick to act. This gave birth to the concept of PRO-ACTIVISM in organizational set-up after 2600 years. Buddha existed before BCE (Before Common Era).
7. Use all your five senses in an integrated manner. You'll not make a mistake.
If we imply and apply these Buddhistic laws of wisdom in our day-to-day life and also in our organizations, things will start getting better right from the word 'go'.
And this is the kernel of Kaizen, the ever-evolving search for the very best.