Wrong Livelihood?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Wrong Livelihood?

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:59 pm

Greetings all,

I was wondering, does working in a restaurant count as wrong livelihood? I used to work at Wendy's. I put condiments on sandwiches, got fries, chicken nuggets and other related things. I definitely don't want to go back to a restaurant, especially a fast food one, but if I did end up back there, is this considered wrong livelihood, since I'm not actually doing the butchering? I've been meaning to ask this for awhile now, and another post prompted me to post it now.
With metta,

Justin
User avatar
theravada_guy
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:06 am
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby PeterB » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:23 pm

In my opinion its not wrong livelihood Theravada Guy. Because as you say, you are not doing the butchering.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:25 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Annapurna
 
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:28 pm

Thanks Peter and Anna. Anna, the threads were helpful! Thank you! :anjali:
With metta,

Justin
User avatar
theravada_guy
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:06 am
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby lojong1 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:32 pm

Times have changed, hombre. Do you drive to work?
Is it better to support a corporation that causes thousands of Ecuadorian humans and animals to die and forces the rest off their land, than to cook a burger to feed an Ecuadorian refugee?
It comes down to what makes you feel the most guilt.
"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."— AN 5.177
Shell (as an example) is engaged in all this, and perhaps owns a few fast food joints? If your livelihood depends on such behavior, even indirectly...oh the unwholesomeness of it all!
lojong1
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:38 pm

Another way of thinking about your livelihood is recognise that few things in life are black or white, and aim for the the lightest shade of grey.
If you are ever in a position where you need a job and can't find one which meets all the criteria for 'Right Livelihood' (and remembering the hidden 'wrong livelihood' of doing a good job for an organisation that doesn't meet the criteria), then go ahead and take the job which *best* meets those criteria.
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3000
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby Annapurna » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:35 am

lojong1 wrote:Times have changed, hombre. Do you drive to work?
Is it better to support a corporation that causes thousands of Ecuadorian humans and animals to die and forces the rest off their land, than to cook a burger to feed an Ecuadorian refugee?
It comes down to what makes you feel the most guilt.
"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."— AN 5.177
Shell (as an example) is engaged in all this, and perhaps owns a few fast food joints? If your livelihood depends on such behavior, even indirectly...oh the unwholesomeness of it all!


You don't own the kamma of your employer. Only your own.

Of course it feels better to work for somebody whose biz is green and mindful, but if that job is all you can obtain : you gotta eat.
Staying unemployed and being a burden on the community is bad.

If you can cherry pick jobs, fine. Most peopple must take what they can get.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Annapurna
 
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby lojong1 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:58 am

Annapurna wrote:You don't own the kamma of your employer. Only your own.

In that way you can justify the manufacture and sale of weapons, poisons and intoxicants as right livelihood.

Being employed and a burden to communities--yours and others', present and future--is also bad.
lojong1
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby lojong1 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:23 am

'Direct and indirect harm gets lip service in modern explanations of right livelihood.
Does anyone know a sutta that says even indirect harm from livelihood should be avoided? (other than the explicit indirect support of weapons poisons intoxicants slaves butchery that most of us engage in daily :tongue: )
lojong1
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby Annapurna » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:14 am

lojong1 wrote:
Annapurna wrote:You don't own the kamma of your employer. Only your own.

In that way you can justify the manufacture and sale of weapons, poisons and intoxicants as right livelihood.



Did the Buddha justify the job of a butcher as right livelyhood by eating meat? :buddha1:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Annapurna
 
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby lojong1 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:16 pm

I agree that you don't own the kamma of your employer.
The only difference between indirect and direct effects is that direct effects are more obvious.
This idea of not owning an employer's kamma can be used as an excuse to ignore the 'indirect' but predictable effects of one's own livelihood and the effects of any associated actions taken to facilitate that livelihood, which affects your kamma.
I think it's great that you practice right livelihood, and I never had any thought that Theravada_guy might be sinning meatly for money.
lojong1
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby Annapurna » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:28 pm

I totally understand your concern, Lojong.

I just wondered how I would feel if I worked for the local butcher. Just selling meat.

Uncomfortable. My mind would be thinking too much about the animals, the mindset of customers and other employees, and so forth, which is of course not really my biz to begin with. So I probably wouldn't apply for it.

If it was the only one that I could get, however, I would take it, before I go unemployed and others have to pay for me.

I also would have to take it if it was offered by the unemployment office.

But I would refuse to be a butcher, would refuse to work in a farm with minks and foxes for furcoats.

That I can't do.

Does my explanation help to see how I see it?

Metta,

Annapurna
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Annapurna
 
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby Annapurna » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:33 pm

lojong1 wrote:'Direct and indirect harm gets lip service in modern explanations of right livelihood.
Does anyone know a sutta that says even indirect harm from livelihood should be avoided? (other than the explicit indirect support of weapons poisons intoxicants slaves butchery that most of us engage in daily :tongue: )


I don't know if I support any of the above.

If, then not intentionally.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Annapurna
 
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby Vepacitta » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:01 pm

Much of working life is pretty defiled. I don't think that waiting tables is wrong livlihood per se. And even places like McDonalds didn't start out as 'bad places" - it's when they became mega chains where the major problems came in. It's all dependent conditions! Bigger you get - the more you affect the food chain - etc etc

You have to make your way in this world - and sometimes - like Annapurna said - you have to take the damn job.

Remember, the Tathagata taught Kings and rich merchants - so - even if you were a butcher - and you happened to meet the Buddha - he'd still talk to you.

Aj Sumedho spoke to this in one of his books - maybe mind and the way but don't quote me - but in a certain area of Thailand most of the people made their livlihood by fishing - and I believe it was a rough area as well. The monks 'graded' the teachings - I wish I could find that section - they didn't tell people to all of a sudden live the lives of the Bodhissatas - but they did advise them to at least stop killing people, be honest in business dealings - and so forth - a very practical approach to the situation. Maybe I'll look it up and post it ...

Don't fret too much Thera guy,

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura
User avatar
Vepacitta
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:58 pm
Location: Somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Meru

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:29 am

Unemployment Office livelihood options are telling.
I find it...sensical how little scriptural explanation there is for right livelihood, usually defined merely as the remainder when wrong livelihood is abandoned. It figures that teachings regarding good business practices would be among the first to be misplaced in our logical and accepting new age.
Wars are bloody expensive! Where in the world does all that money come from and how does it wind up in the wrong hands?
The movies 'money as debt' 1 and 2 look at some damaging indirect effects of our supposedly wholesome lifestyles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVkFb26u9g8
lojong1
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby MJS » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:46 am

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs of their deeds- their deeds are the womb from the womb from which they sprang, with their deeds they are bound up, their deeds are their refuge, Whatever deeds the do - good or evil - of such they will be the heirs"

In a couple of days I start a Meat Cutting course so that I can get in to a Culinary Arts course right after (My math mark sucked and I was offered this or nothing so I took it), so I will technically be a Butcher.
This is most likely bad Kamma. HOWEVER I'm totally fine with that, because, as a LAY practitioner that has no interest in going any further than that, I try not to bind my self to concern about my Kamma effects other than the immediate (this life). This does not interfere with me trying with the upmost effort to be a good and compassionate human being. I realize that my career choice may be poor but I am willing to own up to my Kammic obligations and rise above the obsession with it and actually BE a good person in practice. I will not kill another human and will try with my best effort not to cause harm to anyone or anything, but I am also not naive enough to expect to excel in this field without causing harm to animals/fish.

Also i feel supporting sustainabilty and responsible consumption is an obligation of mine as I progress in my career (As is i have little to no say). Many chefs and people in the biz have made terrific strides in promoting humane treatment of farmed animals, other than the actual killing part, as well as in the promotion of healthy food to the public.
I also feel that it is extremely selfish to pas of Kammic responsibilty to another (As i said own up to your actions)

And I drink booze on occasion (Responsibly). Life is not Black and White, but it is pretty damn grey.

Sorry if the post isnt great but it is my first, Happy to be here!
MJS
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:30 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:50 am

MJS wrote:Sorry if the post isnt great but it is my first, Happy to be here!


It was pretty good. Hope you stick around MJS.
"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
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:56 am

MJS wrote:"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs of their deeds- their deeds are the womb from the womb from which they sprang, with their deeds they are bound up, their deeds are their refuge, Whatever deeds the do - good or evil - of such they will be the heirs"

In a couple of days I start a Meat Cutting course so that I can get in to a Culinary Arts course right after (My math mark sucked and I was offered this or nothing so I took it), so I will technically be a Butcher.
This is most likely bad Kamma. HOWEVER I'm totally fine with that, because, as a LAY practitioner that has no interest in going any further than that, I try not to bind my self to concern about my Kamma effects other than the immediate (this life). This does not interfere with me trying with the upmost effort to be a good and compassionate human being. I realize that my career choice may be poor but I am willing to own up to my Kammic obligations and rise above the obsession with it and actually BE a good person in practice. I will not kill another human and will try with my best effort not to cause harm to anyone or anything, but I am also not naive enough to expect to excel in this field without causing harm to animals/fish.

Also i feel supporting sustainabilty and responsible consumption is an obligation of mine as I progress in my career (As is i have little to no say). Many chefs and people in the biz have made terrific strides in promoting humane treatment of farmed animals, other than the actual killing part, as well as in the promotion of healthy food to the public.
I also feel that it is extremely selfish to pas of Kammic responsibilty to another (As i said own up to your actions)

And I drink booze on occasion (Responsibly). Life is not Black and White, but it is pretty damn grey.

Sorry if the post isnt great but it is my first, Happy to be here!

I dont think your career choice is poor at all MJS. I think you should strive to be the best and most mindful butcher you can be. I think your post shows a refreshing honesty and maturity.
Buddhism is not about being disembodied and " pure". Its about about being completely down to earth and aware.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3904
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby Sherab » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:14 am

theravada_guy wrote:Greetings all,

I was wondering, does working in a restaurant count as wrong livelihood? I used to work at Wendy's. I put condiments on sandwiches, got fries, chicken nuggets and other related things. I definitely don't want to go back to a restaurant, especially a fast food one, but if I did end up back there, is this considered wrong livelihood, since I'm not actually doing the butchering? I've been meaning to ask this for awhile now, and another post prompted me to post it now.

The very act of maintaining one's existence involves the death of many. The best that we can do is to minimize the number of deaths, live the Dharma the best we can and dedicate merits to those whose lives were given up so that we could live.
User avatar
Sherab
 
Posts: 163
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood?

Postby MJS » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:57 pm

To me the best part of Buddhism is the basis on basic truths and an approach of understanding, compassion and tolerance to others as opposed to rigid laws keeping people from being themselves.. Confining laws, especially in religion, can cause a lot of grief (such as Abrahamic religions and their beleif in a single absolute... makes me ne nervous at times). Fluidity and adaptibility to allow growth (Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana are all growths from the single original Sangha, and yet cohesive as a whole while maintaining distinctions) greatly appeals to me.

At first i was nervous posting the above because of the many vehement supporters of Vegetarianism and Ahimsa to everything.
MJS
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:30 am

Next

Return to Ethical Conduct

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 3 guests