A little bit of guidance needed...

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A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby planet9 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:59 pm

Hi everyone,

First post here, so be kind :smile:

I am not a buddhist, however i have been attracted to the teachings of the buddha, through various ways over the past five years or so perhaps through travelling, reading and an enquiry into all things spiritual, its a path just starting but one that is gaining momentum.
I am trying to follow a path in this life which i hope can be of benefit to others and so feel every choice i make, to try and not be angry or to not do harm.
I am interested to hear other posters view on my work situation.
I recently gave up my career as a personal trainer, to help set up a small Thai restaurant with my wife (she is Thai and the chef)
this was done to give us a bit of financial security for ourselves and our young daughter.
I now though am a bit confused in my mind, initially i viewed the restaurant as a service to the small town where we live, some where people could eat nice food and relax, but now feel conflicted as this is perhaps is a wrong livelihood ?or at best an unskilful occupation?…..thanks for listening
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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby culaavuso » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:29 pm

There is a lot of good advice for householders in DN 31.

One quote related to livelihood and setting up your own restaurant:
DN 31: Sigalovada Sutta wrote:The wise and virtuous shine like a blazing fire.
He who acquires his wealth in harmless ways
like to a bee that honey gathers,
riches mount up for him
like ant hill's rapid growth.

With wealth acquired this way,
a layman fit for household life,
in portions four divides his wealth:
thus will he friendship win.

One portion for his wants he uses,
two portions on his business spends,
the fourth for times of need he keeps.
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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby Ben » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:58 pm

You will find very many Thai Buddhists are restaurant owners.
Running a restaurant is not wrong livelihood, as such, unless you slaughter and butcher your own meat.

"Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.

"These are the five types of business that a lay follower should not engage in."
--AN 5.177

Here 'business in meat' usually refers to slaughterhouse or butchering businesses.
I think you need to look at your motivation (to provide financial security for your family and to provide a service to the local community) and ask yourself whether those motivations are wholesome or unwholesome and from my pov, it appears your motivations are wholesome.
Kind regards,
Ben
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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby planet9 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:17 pm

Thanks for the reply's, they are a reassurance, its sometimes difficult to navigate through the choices you have to make,
selling alcohol for example, i never gave it a consideration before, seeing it as a something which people will choose to indulge themselves but now i am part of the chain of supply and demand.

Perhaps the best way to reason is to insure that the alcohol is sold responsibly and to as best possible source meat that has come from a source that is has treated the animals with some dignity.
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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby Ben » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:27 pm

The following document may be of interest to you.
Particularly the essay by Jootla.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... livelihood
Kind regards,
Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby planet9 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:02 pm

It seems to that selling alcohol (intoxicants) is the main issue for me, for i am the business owner and the alcohol license holder
it seems I have to make a choice between

1- Accepting that in my present situation that i am breaking a precept, but with the intention of not causing harm and perhaps could be viewed as a side issue….i.e i run the business to provide food for the customers, some income for staff and security for my family, and we sell alcohol to be served with a meal….not the intention to get intoxicated

2- Look into relinquishing the alcohol licence and continuing the business on a basis of people can bring alcoholic drinks if they wish, but we are not direct selling. This may however cause initial problems and perhaps put the business in jeopardy.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby Mkoll » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:31 pm

Relinquishing your license is a better kamma than selling booze. The questions that no one could answer is "how much better?" and "how bad of a kamma is selling booze in your situation?"

You don't necessarily have to allow patrons to bring their own alcohol if you give up your alcohol license. Your restaurant could be "dry". There are plenty of food places that don't sell alcohol. If most of your business is take-out and people who don't buy beer, then you won't lose much business. If most of your business is dinner parties who like to order alcohol, then you'll probably lose some business.

Why not figure out how much money you make from selling alcohol? How much money do you make from dinner or lunch (or breakfast, hehe) parties that purchase alcohol? If you can take the loss without affecting you or your business to harshly, just take the loss. If you can't, well...go from there. First you need some hard numbers.
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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:43 pm

Hi Planet 9
I see you have had a good deal of input for you to mull over.
I worked as a waiter in a restaurant, and although you do have other concerns being the licence holder... I tried to operate on a if asked about the alcoholic drinks I would provide information, get what is ordered... but would also recommend a non-alcoholic drink basis. I had done all I could politely do, the responsibility for ordering was theirs.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby planet9 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:38 pm

Mkoll wrote:Relinquishing your license is a better kamma than selling booze. The questions that no one could answer is "how much better?" and "how bad of a kamma is selling booze in your situation?"

You don't necessarily have to allow patrons to bring their own alcohol if you give up your alcohol license. Your restaurant could be "dry". There are plenty of food places that don't sell alcohol. If most of your business is take-out and people who don't buy beer, then you won't lose much business. If most of your business is dinner parties who like to order alcohol, then you'll probably lose some business.

Why not figure out how much money you make from selling alcohol? How much money do you make from dinner or lunch (or breakfast, hehe) parties that purchase alcohol? If you can take the loss without affecting you or your business to harshly, just take the loss. If you can't, well...go from there. First you need some hard numbers.


thats what I plan to do, look at the figures and take it from there.I will discuss it further with my wife, who is thai and buddhist (but probably less concerned with this issue than i am)
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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby planet9 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:48 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Hi Planet 9
I see you have had a good deal of input for you to mull over.
I worked as a waiter in a restaurant, and although you do have other concerns being the licence holder... I tried to operate on a if asked about the alcoholic drinks I would provide information, get what is ordered... but would also recommend a non-alcoholic drink basis. I had done all I could politely do, the responsibility for ordering was theirs.


thanks for the input, there are shades of grey,there are better ways of making a living per se, but then if you are responsible and offer an environment or service where the consumption of alcohol is part of a meal and not just a means to get intoxicated (a bit like in French culture) it could be viewed that you are doing the best in the given circumstance, as opposed to selling cheap alcopops to young kids etc….alcohol has been around for ever and its likely to be still here for a very long time
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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby andyebarnes67 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:54 pm

planet9 wrote:I am not a buddhist, however i have been attracted to the teachings of the buddha, through various ways over the past five years or so perhaps through travelling, reading and an enquiry into all things spiritual, its a path just starting but one that is gaining momentum.

Maybe your concerns about the selling of alcohol are, whilst admirable, perhaps a little previous.
There are many Buddhists who, through complacency or, more often, dint of circumstance, who are unable to live strictly according to the Eightfold Path. Indeed I would hazard that there are in fact few who manage it perfectly at all.
I would offer the suggestion that you consider putting such life-changing, and potentially damaging, from a business perspective, on a back burner until you have traveled further on your path.
One of the beauties of the Buddhist path that I love is that there is no judgement. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' from on high.
There is no improper motive or intention involved in your selling of alcohol and this, IMO, is the most important part of how we conduct ourselves, and of the karmic repercussions.
Whilst 'right' and 'wrong' can be used to denote whether something is helpful or not for mindful living, it is a matter for each of us personally and as you develop your own values and principles by which to live in light of your learning of the dhamma and insights, the new wisdom you find will no doubt guide you as to what changes you need to make as time as goes on.
Just my two penny worth... :smile:
Metta

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Re: A little bit of guidance needed...

Postby planet9 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:51 pm

Thanks andy…..much appreciated,

I guess these are the trials and tribulations, or maybe sufferings that life entails, awkward decisions that require difficult decisions

This particular one will sit on the back burner as you say and perhaps as my own journey continues, the best circumstance will avail.
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