imccall wrote:I have recently discovered that many Buddhist principles fit me better than principles of other religions--specifically Christianity--and am doing some investigating on the philosophy as a whole. My biggest concern is whether my everyday life and my plans for my life will compete with the 8 fold path. My plan is to practice law in order to help people and to raise a family. But now I feel like that is desire and therefore wrong. So is it possible to have a career and enjoy things and money and experiences and relationships and still be "on the path?" And is helping people with law and policy still a noble purpose even if I would be required to argue and have perceptions that others are wrong or evil? Thanks in advance!
I can understand your questioning and I think we all were guilty of either misunderstanding or taking too literally some of the teachings when we were first exposed to them. From what I have worked out, it is not actually the desire which is the big problem, it is the attachment to desire. In this, what I interpret as attachment to desire is the need to have something, attain something or make something different that we already have, in order to be happy or content or satisfied. This shouldnt be necessary. We should be able to be happy, content and satisfied in nearly every situation, no matter what the outside circumstances are.
So as a worldy lay person, we do have to live life, we can enjoy things and we can have relationships. I am carful though not to get greedy and not to rely on these things for my happiness. Enjoy them for what they are, and that is all.
As you and others have said "right livelihood" like all other aspects of the path are for the individual to determine what is wholesome and unwholesome. We all in our essence not what is and what isnt.