Virtual Satsang

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Right Livelihood and the Global Economic Crisis

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The Fourth Noble Truth in Buddhism holds that the Noble Eightfold Path can lead us away from suffering. One of the elements of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Livelihood, a set of guidelines to help followers of the Buddha find ethical professions:

There are two criteria for right livelihood. First, it should not be necessary to break the five precepts in one’s work, since doing so obviously causes harm to others. But further, one should not do anything that encourages other people to break the precepts, since this will also cause harm. Neither directly nor indirectly should our means of livelihood involve injury to other beings. Thus any livelihood that requires killing, whether of human beings or of animals, is clearly not right livelihood…. Selling liquor or other drugs may be very profitable, but even if one abstains from them oneself, the act of selling encourages others to use intoxicants and thereby to harm themselves. Operating a gambling casino may be very lucrative, but all who come there to gamble cause themselves harm. Selling poisons or weapons–arms, ammunition, bombs, missiles–is good business, but it injures the peace and harmony of multitudes. None of these is right livelihood.

BBC’s Heart and Soul recently interviewed Buddhists in several countries to find out how they ended up in their current professions/vocations. What was their discernment process like? The hosts also ask “Has the Global Economic Crisis made it more difficult to find Right Livelihood?”



Written by virtualsatsang

October 1, 2010 at 7:30 am

Posted in Meditation, Seva, Work & Life

Tagged with ,

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