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May 16
Sakyong and Family
Sakyong Hosted at Google

Sakyong and Chade-Meng TangSakyong Hosted at Google by “Jolly Good Fellow” Chade-Meng Tan

reported by Joshua Silberstein, Chief of Staff for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
photo by Breton Hoagland

On Thursday, May 9th, the Sakyong was invited to have lunch and tour the Google facility in Mountain View, CA. Our host, Chade-Meng Tan was one of Google’s earliest engineers.

Among many other things, Chade-Meng Tan helped build Google’s first mobile search service, and headed the team that kept a vigilant eye on Google’s search quality. After a successful 8-year stint in Engineering and 2 years as Google EDU’s Head of Personal Growth, he now serves with Google’s Talent Team. His current job description is to, “Enlighten minds, open hearts, create world peace,” and his job title is “Jolly Good Fellow.” He is also the creator and teacher of a meditation training for Google employees entitled, “Search Inside Yourself.”

During lunch, the Sakyong and Meng talked about the intricacies of Buddhist ideas and action, and their mutual inspiration to benefit the world. Meng shared that he felt the main aspiration of Google employees was to change the world for the better. This led to a discussion on how we bring that aspiration into action not only on the meditation cushion but throughout corporations and influencing the world to accept peace as a skillful means for the health of humanity.

Joining the Sakyong and Meng on this tour were Acharyas Adam Lobel and Alan Schwartz, Northern California Regional Director Joanne Martin Braun and Chief of Staff Joshua Silberstein.

For more information on Chade-Meng Tan please click here.

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5 responses to “ Sakyong Hosted at Google ”
  1. I totally agree with Arthur Ramsey about this issue. As Shambhala is an organization that aims to engage with the world in a manner that will benefit all beings, we should be wary of associating with corporations whose practices are as
    “Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, told Google’s northern Europe boss,
    Matt Brittin, that his company’s behaviour on tax was “devious, calculated and, in my view,
    unethical”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/may/16/google-told-by-mp-you-do-do-evil

    And I’m sure Google is fully aware that “hosting” the Sakyong would be helpful in improving their increasingly tarnished public reputation.

    Regardless of Chade-Meng Tan’s job description: to “Enlighten minds, open hearts, create world peace,” there seems to be a clear disconnect between that and the corporation’s blatant practice of tax evasion. And I’m sure this takes place in every country Google operates in, not just the UK.

  2. Arthur Ramsay
    May 20, 2013

    Good point Claire. They all have basic goodness. However perhaps it would be better if Shambhala was seen associating with individuals, corporations, and other social phenomena whose behaviour was manifesting basic goodness more strongly. Even the Sunday Times, a Murdoch paper, carried an article showing how Google, Facebook, Apple and many other corporations cheat the Governments of the countries they make most money in out of most of the tax they owe
    The article also carried information on the links between Google and the Cameron Government which is wreaking such social havoc here in the UK.’ such as Steve Hilton, arch-Conservative strategist and a close friend of Cameron,being married to Google’s Head of Global Communication. There is a lot more information on the Sunday Times and Guardian websites.
    I suggest it is important to Shambhala that it manifests the values it seeks to communicate more carefully, such as by having more affordable programmes that would attract greater numbers, by reconsidering its position on the meat industry, and by being more stringent in its pacifism. I appreciate that we should be inclusive of differing views and be compassionate to others who have potential, and I also appreciate there is nothing wrong with making money if it is legal and can be used to benefit others. (e.g. Gates Foundation). But I am uncomfortable with awards and personal letters being sent to the employees of such dubious companies and to people joining the military.

  3. It’s nice that they had a good chat and have mutual admiration. We bring aspiration into action from the cushion. There was a missed opportunity to align our Silicon Valley Shambhala Center with Google headquarters (which are in the same neighborhood) for ongoing dialogue about sitting practice and creating enlightened society.

  4. Claire van Rhyn
    May 20, 2013

    Arthur, I agree, but how does the stance of such companies change? What is the basic nature of the individuals? And what is the basic nature of the company?

  5. Arthur Ramsay
    May 17, 2013

    No doubt you will be aware of the castigation of Google by the House of Commons Select Committee for the extraordinary lengths they have gone in the UK to avoid paying any tax (See Guardian website). Not to mention the hoovering up of private search data by their Street View cameras!
    I am sure they have some creative and wakeful people working for them, but I think we should not be naive about
    the nature of such corporations whose prime objective seems to be to avoid their economic responsibility in the pursuit of private wealth.

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