Examining My Self from Home to Work Place: From a Leadership Perspective By Sharada Dhakal Poudel a thesis submitted to Tribhuvan University in partial fulfillment of requirement of Master of Philosophy in Education January, 2011


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Research Questions

Self-reflection is the cognitive examination of experience (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). It is essential component of continuous learning and updating the knowledge. It provides new insights into’ self’. It helps to enhance understanding of others (Ibid). It exposes and challenges assumptions. It facilitates transfer of knowledge. It encourages personal adaptability. It allows people to learn from experience and so on. Self-reflection research method covers deep and wide area. The reflexive elements of autobiography can make for more self-aware research, above all when the researchers are researching organizations, situations and groups of which they themselves are a part. This concept inspired me to undertake reflective research under leadership perceptive.

Usually questions are found where we are curious about something, some social issues or individual human phenomenon. These can be found around us, in our environment, community work place or even the society. This curiosity could then lead us to identify a famous of interest or problem that is important to us. On this back stop my research questions were:

  1. What are the noteworthy events and philosophical orientations that shaped my Leadership styles?

  2. How was my leadership styles examined by my parents, children, husband, colleagues, my head teacher (co-researchers) from a leadership perspective?

  3. How my respondents perceived my leadership styles?

  4. What has been the relationship between the leadership style and my career?

  5. What implications can I draw from my leadership style for my future path in Nepali education system and beyond?

Need for Study

The first research question of my study was to find out what the noteworthy events and philosophical orientations were that shaped my leadership style. In order to find out the answer of this question, I started to unveil different identities that I portrayed under many roles and that I played in a real life; sometimes I get confused on what role exactly defines me, or who am I? To find answer to my query, I did some research in Buddhist philosophy (Bartendregt, 1987). Buddhism taught me that each world is divided into three "sphere of existence" as (a) world of sense -desire (b) world of pure form - without sense, touch, taste, and smell (c) formless world - mental realm i.e., devoid of physical thirst.

Being a person from Hindu orientation, I realized that Buddhism is a reaction to the Brahmanic domination and sacrificial practice and worked as formative force in redefining Hindu culture Darshan(ND). It is a monastic religion and inclusive' Dharma'(religion/belief system) in a sense that it incorporated local beliefs and values to make ' Mahayana '. Mahayana is a branch of Buddhism prevalent in Tibet, China and Japan that includes ritual and devotional practices: compare Theravada. Buddhas and Arhats are liberated persons. People need to follow Triratna (combination of three elements: Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha). They should understand that self or I is the false conception i.e. there is no self (Anatman).

In fact, it is the result of conditioning and Dukha (sorrow). In my understanding, Dharma is such a duty or responsibility being a human being, which must be performed in day to day in our life. For instance, Dharma of sun is giving heat and light to the heavenly bodies likewise Dharma of human being is not to harm others; do the works for the welfare of everyone. I also have a belief through my knowledge that liberated persons are those persons who are free from misery and who are able to get enlightenment. I also wanted to get enlightenment and be a liberated person. I strongly agree with enlightenment of Buddhism but I do not agree Buddhism a regarding anatman. Anatman means there is no self (Atma). It is where I found my embodied Darshan(ND). Hindu mindset that was not computable to that of the Buddhist.

After reading Buddhism, I became interested in enlightenment. Enlightenment refers to such a situation where all chittabrttis get removed. In my understanding, getting enlightenment means being supreme power or formless situation of God. One has to look for enlightenment i.e. bodhisattva (one whose goal is accomplished) because I or me creates atman and thereby Dukha i.e. sensory pleasure creates Dukha (Bartendregt, 1987). However, Asthamarga i.e. right to speech, right to action, right to livelihood, right to effort, right to concentration, right to view, and right to lead to Nirodh. Nirodh can be attained through Shila: morality, right to speech, right to action, and right to livelihood, Samadhi: concentration i.e. right to effort, mindfulness, and concentration, Prajna: wisdom, Dana: virtue of giving and Dhyana i.e. right to view, right to thoughts. I believe in ‘self’ (I) i.e. Atma is the situation of enlightenment. If there was no Atma, who could feel the enlightenment?

My question helped me to find out the differences between the experiential I, the spiritual I, the biological I, or the blend of the three Is in my leadership style. I also thought that when all these "Is" blur in one I attain enlightenment. Without enlightenment, nothing is to display in the world Darshan(ND). Metaphorically speaking, it is like our relationship with light and sun; can we see the worldly materials without sun and the light that it reflects through it? We can see the worldly materials by the combination of eye, sun (external light) and our inner light that is enlightened. Here I realized the fact that whether the word enlightenment is limited to the worldly knowing as that of the West (Ibid) or it is Buddha's Nirvana or Hindus' Kaibalya/Mukti.

The enlightenment (moved up, makes had better sense) according to Buddhism can only be obtained by following four Aryasatya. They are called four noble truths (Aryasatya) such as there is Dukha; Dukha has causes; Dukha can be overcome; we can go to cessation of Dukha. The first is to be fully comprehended; the second is to be eradicated; the third is to be realized; and the fourth is to be cultivated for nirvana (eradication of greed, hatredness, and delusion that bring people in rebirth or in Sansara). Nothing is permanent in Buddhist understanding. For happiness, Buddhists firmly believe that understanding the governing process of the cosmos, the rebirth and Karma (intended deeds) are real. The method of getting enlightenment for them is by learning through observation of old age, diseased, death, and ascetic (four sights). Rules of training to attain shila, sangha (obtained from (a) taking or destroying (b) taking what is not given (c) sexual misconduct (d) false speech (d) intoxicants (Bartendregt, 1987)). By going through these understandings I realized that obtaining enlightenment of’ self’ is very necessary but how can I obtain it?

In my opinion, karma and rebirth are interrelated; if we do good deeds or karma, then we can get good outcome even during our life time or after the death. If we cannot perform good works, we cannot get good outcome to eat before death and after death Goyadanka (Sambat, 2053). If we want to overcome the death and rebirth, we have to get enlightenment according to Buddhism (Bartendregt, 1987) and we have to perform "Niskam Karma "according to Hinduism (Bhagwat Geeta). It means the works, which are done without any hope of the outcome leads us to enlightenment. Here again my question remained unanswered i.e. how do I see my leadership styles? Does it fit with worldly and/or biological I or it reaches up to the experimental I and/or it goes to the cosmic I?

My inquiry of’ self’ also pushed me to examine Shintoism of the northern and Hinduism of eastern philosophies. Shintoism is a way of Kami (Gods) who come from sky to the earth (Bartendregt, 1987). Some Kami are troublemakers (oni) as well. Shintoism believes on purification and severance, spiritual power, divine ancestors and so on. It worships sun and Amaterasu and thanks god (deity) for his/her offerings to the living beings. According to Shintoism, we should do Oharai. Oharai means to purify evils as new car Oharai. The way of knowing is tolerance by placing Jinja (temple) of Kami and bodhisattva together claiming that they are the same with different names. Kami celebrates birth rites by following Shinto tradition and cremates dead body through Buddhist traditions.

I have derived many valuable thoughts from Shintoism to implement in my life. Who am I in the lens of Shintoism? According to Shintoism both Kami and spiritual, power is inherited in ‘I’ because both are the two sides of the same coin (Bartendregt, 1987). The suffering situation where Chittabrittis are misdoing then trouble comes in life i.e.Kami and while there is purification of suffering which cause are Chittabrittis while they are overcome by rationality then Kami changes into spiritual power. This also left me in mind of the stream in the inquiry of my leadership style: I remained answerless.

After examining self from Shinto philosophy, I wanted to research how self is defined in Hinduism. According to Hinduism, the main purpose of life is to find such a way to attain the supreme joy Darshan(ND). This way should also be able to remove the physical discomforts as well. Almost, every stream of philosophy identifies the frequency of sorrows as bounding and the removal of these sorrows i.e. attainment of supreme joy has identified as salvation. Thus, sorrow and salvation cover the main theme of Hindu philosophy (Ibid).

Salvation for Hinduism is nothing but destruction of sorrow and creation of supreme joy. Vedas also discussed the ways to attain salvation Darshan(ND). However, many philosophers have logically reflected over this and compiled their thoughts in the treatises of philosophy. In the opinion of Vedas, religion is the best way to attain salvation (Ibid). However, Adi Shankaracharya regards Atmagyan (knowledge of self) as a means to attain salvation. These philosophical thoughts gave me the way of relieving grief but I could not get rid of my grief i.e. how about my leadership style.

Another important inquiry was that what types of leadership attributes that I have; I wanted to analyze since my childhood to till now. Let me begin with my childhood. As I remember since my childhood my parents used to call me by my name; despite my age, and as a child, I used to hear many complaints from different members of my family and neighbors about the behaviors of their husbands, mother in law, father in law and elders of the family. These events enabled me to ask the very questions about the structure of Nepali society. This enabled me to engrain leadership traits in me, starting from a very early state of my life. Until today, I continue to attempt the question about my identity, my responsibilities towards the society and I want to continue to make a difference in the society through my leadership skills.

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