, JANUARY 6, 2007
  (STAR) By Dulce Arguelles-Sanchez - Businessman David Montecillo has a different kind of business spirit.

Montecillo, 38, is a practicing Buddhist and is part of a consultancy firm called Green Lightworks Co. (, which provides holistic stress and wellness management for business establishments.

What makes him different from many businessmen is he uses Buddhist principles to help run the company he started with some friends several years ago.

"In business, I practice a principle from the basic Buddhist teachings of the Eight-Fold Path as originally taught by the historic Buddha, Siddhartha. One of the eight principles is called Ďright livelihood.í Basic Buddhism teaches that one must take a career or living that does not harm oneself, other people and even the environment. If possible, one must take a career that benefits others in a positive way; if that is not possible, at least try not to do harm in the process," Montecillo said.

He added that another way of looking at this way of doing business is to "provide healthy customer satisfaction. I believe that all faiths and paths have their own version of this principle. Itís pretty universal."

Green Lightworks, according to Montecillo, services companies that consider people as their most valuable asset and provide seminars on how to keep human assets from depreciating.

"We combine Western and traditional Eastern principles to get the job done. We offer a buffet of principles and techniques that corporate workaholics can do to help them manage stress, enhance wellness, refocus their minds even increase their emotional quotient and have a little fun at the same time," he said.

Montecillo said their companyís philosophy is that before engaging in team building, applying Coveyís seven habits of successful people, Sun Tzuís art of war, leadership training, and other programs, "one must first know how to manage their stress and find their center."

"I still havenít encountered a person who is both efficient and effective without proper stress management skills," he said.

Montecillo has a bachelorís degree in commerce and a masterís degree in business administration from De La Salle University, and has some experience in creative advertising, marketing consultation, and banking.

He acts as Green Lightworksí facilitator for the "Tao of Stress Management" seminar, which deals with stress and wellness in the corporate environment.

Montecillo is also a meditation instructor under the Dudul Hung Nak Mebar Ling Tibetan Vajrayana Center founded by His Holiness Orgyen Kusum Lingpa of the Tibetan Nyingma tradition.

He is a level three reiki healer and teacher under the Brahma Satya Riddhi Healing System as taught by Guru Deepak Hardikar.

Montecillo is affiliated with the International Sheng Zhen Society as an instructor of chi gong ó a system of exercise similar to tai chi ó as taught by head teacher Master Li Jun Feng.

When dealing with difficulties he encounters in business ó a delinquent or difficult client, cash flow problems, and the like ó Montecillo believes they provide "an excellent opportunity to practice patience and compassion."

He also believes in the Buddhist teaching that says all are impermanent and subject to change, so "what is there before me is bound to change eventually."

Montecillo likes the quote that came from the movie, "7 Years in Tibet," starring Brad Pitt. The actor playing the Dalai Lama says, "If a problem has a solution, why worry about it? If it does not have a solution, how can worrying about it change the situation?."

He added that meditiation also helps him since sometimes he "just may be too focused on the situation to see the solution in front of me."

Montecillo embraced Buddhism when he found that despite having no problems at home, a "pretty okay" job, and a "normal" lifestyle, he had gone into "a downward spiral of non-contentment."

"It was like the world just didnít offer the same old fascination anymore. It came to a point that the job I thoroughly enjoyed one year became a struggle. At one point in time I spent a whole day in what was the newly built Megamall along Edsa and just aimlessly walked around trying to occupy my mind with window shopping," he said.

One Saturday night, Montecillo said he met up with some of his friends in the old San Mig bar in Makati City, "hoping to get some kind of diversion from the emotional clouds inside myself." They told him about a basic meditation course that will be held at 8 a.m. the next day.

"It would have been a miracle to get me out of bed after a night of partying... Guess what? A miracle happened the next day. I was up early and was on time. I was more impressed with my friends from the night before, they were there despite the hangover from the alcohol and other stuff," he said.

At that meditation course, they met their teacher, Khandro Choyam Drolma of the Tibetan Nyingma tradition.

Montecillo said embracing Buddhism actually made him a better Catholic.

"As weird and contradictory as that sounds, it made me appreciate the value of being Christian. I hope that I donít offend anyone by saying that at my lowest point not even the usual Christian rituals offered me comfort. I was even at the point of Ďlosing my religion.í But as I studied under my teacher, I learned that the essence of Buddhist teachings are present in the Christian tradition as well. It made me realize the value of my Christian heritage and to see beyond the rituals in the Holy Mass," he said.

Montecillo found that "one doesnít have to convert to be a Buddhist, one can still be whatever religion they were born into and apply the principles."

In his case, Montecillo said he practices Buddhism more as a way of life than as a religion.

"Although I do follow a number of rituals, itís more of a guide on how to live rather than how to worship. Thatís why, in my opinion, one of the most useless and counterproductive activity that people are engaging into right now is the slandering of other faiths. Let free will reign, I always say," he said.

When he started living the Buddhist way of life, Montecillo said he found himself smiling and laughing more, not taking himself too seriously.

"Sometimes Iím up, sometimes Iím down, but thatís the way it is. Funny, isnít it? It took a Buddhist teacher to make me see the value of being Christian," he said.

Asked about the most important differences between Catholicism and Buddhism, Montecillo said while they differ in terms of language, cultural origins and reference materials, "on a deeper level, there seems to be hardly any difference at all when you see both beyond the surface."

"I found that scares a lot of people when I say that. How dare I say that the devout Buddhist is just as loved by God as the devout Catholic. I scare them even more when I say that God loves the Buddhist, Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Sikh, Taoist, atheist and New Age people despite what path they follow. In my training in the Buddhist way, I was taught by my teacher to focus more on similarities rather than differences. Or to see what unites others rather than what separates," he said.

Montecillo added that based on his own experience, if both Buddhism and Catholicism were road maps and the destination was heaven or enlightenment, "the Catholic map will tell you were you are and give you specific directions on how to get to heaven. What road to take, how fast you should go, down to what vehicle to take, and donít ask too many questions. The Buddhist map will tell you where you are and point to where you have to be. After that itís up to you to find your way. The only guidance the Buddhist teacher will give you are some tools and whether youíre getting closer or farther from the destination, a bit of discernment and effort is needed and feel free to have doubt and make mistakes in the process. Which is better? It depends on the traveler."

One thing that practicing Buddhism has taught Montecillo about looking for differences is that "if we spend less time looking for differences and start focusing on what is the same between people, culture, and faiths, there would be less conflicts in our world."

Asked about the advice he can give other businessmen, Montecillo said that karma "can be your best friend or it can be the bitch that bites back."

"Our thoughts and actions towards our customers, colleagues, suppliers, environment will come back to harm or benefit us in one way or the other. And finally, success in business is no excuse for failure in oneís home, family, friends, environment, happiness and oneís self," he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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