OYAMA, Shizuoka Pref. — Japanese executives are satisfied with lower pay than their Western counterparts because wealth is not considered proof that a person has been chosen by God, the president of a think tank on business ethics said Friday.

“All people are striving to polish their Buddha-nature, which everyone has,” said Haruo Funabashi, head of Sirius Institute Inc., referring to a saying of Shosan Suzuki, a Zen Buddhist priest of the Edo Period (1603-1868).

In contrast, the Christian doctrine of Calvinism compels people to continue striving for greater wealth and success, as signs that they are among God’s chosen people, he said.

Funabashi, who has written on philosophy, was speaking at an annual three-day forum held by the Caux Round Table, a Swiss-based international organization promoting corporate social responsibility among business leaders.

The forum began Friday, opening with an examination of Japanese ethics. Non-Japanese participants asked Japanese executives why they did not get higher pay.

“I don’t care about how much I can get,” said Isao Uchida, president and CEO of Yokogawa Electric Corp.

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