Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Mawkish1983
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Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:38 pm

As some of you know I now work at McDudes* again. After trying to find work far and wide McDudes* was the only company to offer me a job.

Now, I have noticed at least one up-side to working there (where I mainly work in the kitchen): if you don't maintain some level of mindfulness, you get hurt. Yesterday, for example, I lost mindfulness and tripped over a bun tray that had been carelessly discarded. I was fortunate not to seriously injure myself considering the equipment in the kitchen I could have fallen on. Whilst working I am forced to be mindful simply because of the threat of injury. For me, this is good for practice.

On the other hand, McDudes* food is sold as a 'treat', not as food to be eaten every day. I see the same children come in day after day who have basically been abandoned by their pub-faring parents. They buy their dinner everyday from McDudes*. Despite the fact that McDudes* do offer healthy alterative food, it's rarely bought by these children. I can't help feeling I'm selling death to kids. We can offer the healthy options, but the children ultimately have the final choice and seem to always choose the fried food option.

So, I'm a little torn. I know I need to work to pay the bills, and unfortunately there is no alternative work currently available. I can find some personal benefit to working there, but at the same time see damage the company causes.

Do you think working for McDudes* is wrong livelihood?

* I don't want to get sued so the company name has been changed in this thread.

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:03 pm

Mawkish,

I think you're hardly pedaling death to these poor kids. If you were selling tobacco or whiskey I think you have a problem but the onus to provide and care for these children is on the parents, not you. If you find yourself in the position to take an order for one of these kids maybe there'd be an opportunity for you to suggest the healthier option but even if you can't there's nothing about what you're doing to beat yourself up over. You're doing a great thing by working to support yourself in a difficult situation so don't be so hard with yourself. Mettaya.

Mike
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-Dhp. 183

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Dhammabodhi » Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:14 pm

Hi Mawkish!

I totally agree with Khalil bodhi and I would like to add that I'm awed and inspired by your level of compassion and mindfulness even when you are facing such a difficult situation in life. I hope your uni can find funds for you to complete your thesis. :group:

A lot of Metta to you my friend..
:anjali:
Dhammabodhi
-Samāhitam cittam yathābhutam pajānāti.

समाहितं चित्तं यथाभूतं पजानाती |

A concentrated mind sees things as they really are.

-Ujuko nāma so maggo, abhayā nāma sā disā.

उजुको नाम सो माग्गो, अभया नाम सा दिसा |

'Straight' is this path, fearlessness is its way.

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Annapurna » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:08 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:As some of you know I now work at McDudes* again. After trying to find work far and wide McDudes* was the only company to offer me a job.

Now, I have noticed at least one up-side to working there (where I mainly work in the kitchen): if you don't maintain some level of mindfulness, you get hurt. Yesterday, for example, I lost mindfulness and tripped over a bun tray that had been carelessly discarded. I was fortunate not to seriously injure myself considering the equipment in the kitchen I could have fallen on. Whilst working I am forced to be mindful simply because of the threat of injury. For me, this is good for practice.

On the other hand, McDudes* food is sold as a 'treat', not as food to be eaten every day. I see the same children come in day after day who have basically been abandoned by their pub-faring parents. They buy their dinner everyday from McDudes*. Despite the fact that McDudes* do offer healthy alterative food, it's rarely bought by these children. I can't help feeling I'm selling death to kids. We can offer the healthy options, but the children ultimately have the final choice and seem to always choose the fried food option.

So, I'm a little torn. I know I need to work to pay the bills, and unfortunately there is no alternative work currently available. I can find some personal benefit to working there, but at the same time see damage the company causes.

Do you think working for McDudes* is wrong livelihood?

* I don't want to get sued so the company name has been changed in this thread.


Hi, Mawkish,

Many caring mothers at home face similar issues with food: All their children want to eat is french fries, pizza and fish fingers. A lovingly prepared salad is ignored. Peoples choices are peoples choices! You can't help them.

You need to make a living, and tried to get some other work.

Mac Donyy IS also offering healthy food, so....

I would encourage you to enjoy your priviledge to have a job, which is not selfunderstood in these days.

I will not hesitate to work for Mac Donyy, if I need to.

:smile:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Sanghamitta » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:15 pm

Nor I Mawkish. Its not in itself wrong livelihood, and you are earning and taking responsibility. We are told that the U.K. economy is on the upturn so there may be other opportunities before too long. In the meantime just be as mindful and metta filled a McDuder as you can be.

:anjali:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:21 pm

Thank you all for your kind words, they are very helpful and mean a lot to me. :group:

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:21 pm

Do you have to survive?
can yu look for another job which is more in-tune with your morality?
if the answer is yes to both of these questions then what is the problem?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Clueless Git » Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:10 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:Do you think working for McDudes* is wrong livelihood?

Can any role in a business that has no purpose but to profit from the intentionla killing of 450,000,000 per yer possibly be owt but wrong livelihood?

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Sanghamitta » Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:42 pm

Working in such an environment Cluless Git might not be keeping with your personal view of what is moral, but I think that you will find that many Theravadin Buddhists work in or even own restaurants that serve meat. I think you will find that there is a consensus view in the Theravada that this does not breach any of the precepts. nor is it Wrong Livelihood as long as the person concerned does not kill themselves or order specific animals to be killed. That may not as I have said conform to your personal view, but it is the view of many Theravadin Buddhists, and it complies with the requirements of the Buddha's instructions concerning the eating of meat, which are pragmatic rather than absolutist. Many Theravadin Buddhists are vegetarian, but it is not a requirement in Theravada Buddhism.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby catmoon » Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:21 pm

Clueless Git wrote:
Mawkish1983 wrote:Do you think working for McDudes* is wrong livelihood?

Can any role in a business that has no purpose but to profit from the intentionla killing of 450,000,000 per yer possibly be owt but wrong livelihood?


Can any role in a business that feeds a billion people a year be anything but right livelihood?

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:54 pm

AN 4.235 Ariyamagga Sutta: The Noble Path wrote:"And what is kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates a bodily fabrication that is injurious & non-injurious ... a verbal fabrication that is injurious & non-injurious ... a mental fabrication that is injurious & non-injurious ... He rearises in an injurious & non-injurious world ... There he is touched by injurious & non-injurious contacts ... He experiences injurious & non-injurious feelings, pleasure mingled with pain, like those of human beings, some devas, and some beings in the lower realms. This is called kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Ben » Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:38 pm

Hi Mawkish
Like you, I am not able to work in my chosen field and I am currently enjoying working in the catering industry.
Your work does not constitute 'wrong livelihood'

Right livelihood is concerned with ensuring that one earns one's living in a righteous way. For a lay disciple the Buddha teaches that wealth should be gained in accordance with certain standards. One should acquire it only by legal means, not illegally; one should acquire it peacefully, without coercion or violence; one should acquire it honestly, not by trickery or deceit; and one should acquire it in ways which do not entail harm and suffering for others. [34] The Buddha mentions five specific kinds of livelihood which bring harm to others and are therefore to be avoided: dealing in weapons, in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution), in meat production and butchery, in poisons, and in intoxicants (AN 5:177). He further names several dishonest means of gaining wealth which fall under wrong livelihood: practicing deceit, treachery, soothsaying, trickery, and usury (MN 117). Obviously any occupation that requires violation of right speech and right action is a wrong form of livelihood, but other occupations, such as selling weapons or intoxicants, may not violate those factors and yet be wrong because of their consequences for others.
-- Bhikkhu Bodhi: The Noble Eightfold Path: the way to the end of suffering: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... d.html#ch4


In anticipation of any argument - merely flipping burgers does not constitute 'meat production'.

Mawkish - in relation to the other issue you have of young kids coming in and eating at your restaurant every night - its ultimately their decision. If it wasn't burgers and fries at your restaurant, it would be fish & chips or pizza or some other unhealthy product from another fast-food outlet down the road.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:24 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Mawkish
Like you, I am not able to work in my chosen field and I am currently enjoying working in the catering industry.
Your work does not constitute 'wrong livelihood'

In anticipation of any argument - merely flipping burgers does not constitute 'meat production'.

Mawkish - in relation to the other issue you have of young kids coming in and eating at your restaurant every night - its ultimately their decision. If it wasn't burgers and fries at your restaurant, it would be fish & chips or pizza or some other unhealthy product from another fast-food outlet down the road.
kind regards

Ben


How dareyou say something correct :tongue:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby BlackBird » Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:39 am

Khalil Bodhi wrote:If you were selling tobacco


I sell tobacco (working at a service station) :thinking:
It's not 'wrong' livelihood, but I don't think it's 'right' either.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Ben
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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Ben » Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:38 pm

Hi Jack,
BlackBird wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:If you were selling tobacco


I sell tobacco (working at a service station) :thinking:
It's not 'wrong' livelihood, but I don't think it's 'right' either.


Yes, you're quite right. I wouldn't feel comfortable selling tobacco either because of the great harm it causes.
Perhaps in time you'll find yourself in a different livelihood that do not present these sorts of ethical dilemmas for you.
In the meantime, you need to earn a living.
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby ashtanga » Sun Nov 22, 2009 7:08 pm

Yeah dont worry mate! Of all the evil that does happen in the world, working for Micky Dee's is nothing - especially if your intention is to move on even better!

Mines a Fish Burger please! :toast:

Tony...

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:56 pm

Jack,

Sorry, I guess there was some collateral damage. I guess tobacco really isn't including in the lists of intoxicants or poisons so you're really fine. I should have been more mindful of my underlying assumptions which cause me to view tobacco as nothing more than a toxic substance (I smoked two packs a day for over 10 years so I have quite an aversion now). Metta.

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Mindfulness, fastfood restaurants and right/wrong livelihood

Postby BlackBird » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:19 am

Hi Mike & Ben

Thanks for your responses. Indeed I hope I'll be out of the cancer stick business in just a few months. There was a day a few weeks ago where an older lady came in with pretty bad emphysema, she asked for 8 packets of cigarettes. I wanted to flat out refuse her, there should be a law against selling sick people cigarettes or something...

:anjali:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta


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