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Right Livelihood

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Title: Right Livelihood: samma ajivo

Summary:

Right Livelihood

<i>samma ajivo</i>

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<p>Right Livelihood is the fifth of the eight path factors in the Noble Eightfold Path, and belongs to the virtue division of the path.

The definition

<p>“And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This is called right livelihood.”</p> <p class=“cite”>— SN 45.8</p>

A balanced livelihood

<p>“Herein, Vyagghapajja, a householder knowing his income and expenses leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income.

“Just as the goldsmith, or an apprentice of his, knows, on holding up a balance, that by so much it has dipped down, by so much it has tilted up; even so a householder, knowing his income and expenses leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income.”</p> <p class=“cite”>— AN 8.54</p>

Its relation to the other factors of the [[..:..:sacca4:index|path]]

<p>“And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, & pursuing gain with gain. This is wrong livelihood…

“One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right livelihood.”</p> <p class=“cite”>— MN 117</p>

<span anchor #wrong5>Wrong livelihood</span> for lay followers

<p>“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.”</p> <p class=“cite”>— AN 5.177</p>

Wrong livelihood for contemplatives

<p>… reading marks on the limbs [e.g., palmistry]; reading omens and signs; interpreting celestial events [falling stars, comets]; interpreting dreams; reading marks on the body [e.g., phrenology]; reading marks on cloth gnawed by mice; offering fire oblations, oblations from a ladle, oblations of husks, rice powder, rice grains, ghee, and oil; offering oblations from the mouth; offering blood-sacrifices; making predictions based on the fingertips; geomancy; laying demons in a cemetery; placing spells on spirits; reciting house-protection charms; snake charming, poison-lore, scorpion-lore, rat-lore, bird-lore, crow-lore; fortune-telling based on visions; giving protective charms; interpreting the calls of birds and animals … [The list goes on and on]</p> <p class=“cite”>— DN 2</p>

Considering becoming a soldier? You may want to reconsider...

<p>Then Yodhajiva the headman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of warriors that 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.”

A second time… A third time Yodhajiva the headman said: “Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of warriors that 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Apparently, headman, I haven't been able to get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.' So I will simply answer you. When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, his mind is already seized, debased, & misdirected by the thought: 'May these beings be struck down or slaughtered or annihilated or destroyed. May they not exist.' If others then strike him down & slay him while he is thus striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the hell called the realm of those slain in battle. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb.”

When this was said, Yodhajiva the headman sobbed & burst into tears. [The Blessed One said:] “That is what I couldn't get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.'”

“I'm not crying, lord, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of warriors who said: 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.'</p> <p class=“cite”>— SN 42.3</p>

Considering a career in acting? You may want to reconsider...

<p>Then Talaputa, the head of an acting troupe, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.”

A second time… A third time Talaputa, the head of an acting troupe, said: “Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”

“Apparently, headman, I haven't been able to get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.' So I will simply answer you. Any beings who are not devoid of passion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of passion, focus with even more passion on things inspiring passion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of aversion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of aversion, focus with even more aversion on things inspiring aversion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of delusion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of delusion, focus with even more delusion on things inspiring delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor — himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless — with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb.”

When this was said, Talaputa, the head of an acting troupe, sobbed & burst into tears. [The Blessed One said:] “That is what I couldn't get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.'”

“I'm not crying, lord, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of actors who said: 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.'</p><p class=“cite”>— SN 42.2</p>

<a class="zze" name="dhamma" id="dhamma">Is earning a living by trading with dhamma praiseworthy?</a>

<p>It was the time of food distribution by the brahman, and the Blessed One drew near, and stood at one side. Bharadvaja seeing the Blessed One standing there for alms said to him:

“Recluse, I do plow, and do sow, and having plowed and sown I eat. You also, recluse should plow and sow; having plowed and sown you should eat.”

“I, too, brahman, plow and sow; having plowed and sown, I eat.”

“We do not see the Venerable Gotama's yoke, or plow, or plowshare, or goad or oxen. Nevertheless the Venerable Gotama says: 'I, too, brahman, plow and sow; having plowed and sown, I eat.'”

Thereupon the brahman addressed the Blessed One in a stanza:</p>

<p>1. “You profess to be a plowman, yet your plow we do not see; asked about your plow and the rest, tell us of them that we may know.”</p> <p class=“spkr”>[The Buddha:]

2. “Faith is my seed, austerity the rain, wisdom my yoke and plow, modesty is the pole, mind the strap, mindfulness is my plowshare and goad.

3. “Controlled in speech and conduct, guarded in deed and speech, abstemious in food,(1) I make truth my weed cutter; arahantship, my deliverance complete.

4. “Exertion, my team in yoke, draws me to Nibbana's security, and on it goes without stopping, wither gone one does not suffer.

5. “Thuswise is this plowing plowed which bears the fruit of Deathlessness; having plowed this plowing one is freed from every ill.”</p>

<p>Then brahman Kasibharadvaja filling a golden bowl with milk-rice offered it to the Blessed One saying: “May the Venerable Gotama partake of this milk rice; a plowman, indeed, is Venerable Gotama who plows a plow for the fruit of Deathlessness (Nibbana).”</p>

<p class=“spkr”>[The Buddha:]

6. “What I receive by reciting verses, O brahman, I should not eat. It is not the tradition of those who practice right livelihood. The Buddhas reject what is received by reciting verses. This, brahman, is the conduct (of the Buddhas) as long as Dhamma reigns.

7. “To those wholly consummate, taintless, and well-disciplined great sages, should thou offer other food and drink; sure field is that for merit-seeking men.”</p>

<p>“To whom, then Venerable Gotama, shall I give this milk rice?”

“Brahman, in the world of Devas, Maras, and Brahmas or among the generation of recluses, brahmanas, deities, and humans, there is no one by whom this milk rice, if eaten, could be wholly digested except by the Tathagata (the Buddha), or the disciple of a Tathagata. Therefore, brahman, either cast this milk rice where there is no grass, or into water where there are no living creatures.”

Thereupon the brahman flung that milk rice into water where there were no living creatures, and the milk rice thrown into the water smoked and steamed making the noise <i>“cicchita, citicita,”</i> just like a plowshare heated during the day, when thrown into water, smokes, and steams making the noise <i>“cicchita, citicita.”</i> <p class=“cite”>— Sn 1.04</p>

One should not make an effort everywhere,

should not be another's hireling,
should not live dependent on another,
should not go about
	as a trader in the Dhamma.

<p class=“cite”>— Ud 6.02</p>

<a class="zze" name="benefit" id="benefit">Des Laienanhängers fünf Nutzen von rechtschaffenen Lebensunterhalt</a>

<p>There are these five benefits that can be obtained from wealth. Which five?

“There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — provides himself with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. He provides his mother & father with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. He provides his children, his wife, his slaves, servants, & assistants with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. This is the first benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

“Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth… provides his friends & associates with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. This is the second benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

“Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth… wards off from calamities coming from fire, flood, kings, thieves, or hateful heirs, and keeps himself safe. This is the third benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

“Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth… performs the five oblations: to relatives, guests, the dead, kings, & devas. This is the fourth benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

“Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — institutes offerings of supreme aim, heavenly, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven, given to brahmans & contemplatives who abstain from intoxication & heedlessness, who endure all things with patience & humility, each taming himself, each restraining himself, each taking himself to Unbinding. This is the fifth benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

“If it so happens that, when a disciple of the noble ones obtains these five benefits from wealth, his wealth goes to depletion, the thought occurs to him, 'Even though my wealth has gone to depletion, I have obtained the five benefits that can be obtained from wealth,' and he feels no remorse. If it so happens that, when a disciple of the noble ones obtains these five benefits from wealth, his wealth increases, the thought occurs to him, 'I have obtained the five benefits that can be obtained from wealth, and my wealth has increased,' and he feels no remorse. So he feels no remorse in either case.”</p>

'My wealth has been enjoyed, my dependents supported,

protected from calamities by me.

I have given supreme offerings

& performed the five oblations.

I have provided for the virtuous,

the restrained,
followers of the holy life.

For whatever aim a wise householder

would desire wealth,
	that aim I have attained.

I have done what will not lead to future distress.' When this is recollected by a mortal,

a person established in the Dhamma of the Noble Ones,

he is praised in this life

and, after death, rejoices in heaven.

<p class=“cite”>— AN 5.41</p>

<a class="zze" name="benefit" id="benefit">The benefit of purified livelihood</a>

<p>”'When brahmans or contemplatives who are unpurified in their livelihood resort to isolated forest or wilderness dwellings, it's the fault of their unpurified livelihood that they give rise to unskillful fear & terror. But it's not the case that I am unpurified in my livelihood when I resort to isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. I am purified in my livelihood. I am one of those noble ones who are purified in their livelihood when they resort to isolated forest or wilderness dwellings.' Seeing in myself this purity of livelihood, I felt even more undaunted about staying in the wilderness.

“The thought occurred to me: 'When brahmans or contemplatives who are covetous & fiercely passionate for sensual pleasures… I am not covetous… I have a mind of good will… devoid of sloth & drowsiness… a still mind… gone beyond uncertainty… I do not praise myself or disparage others… gone beyond horripilation… few wants… persistence is aroused… mindfulness established……'When brahmans or contemplatives who are unconcentrated, with straying minds… I am consummate in concentration.</p> <p class=“cite”>— MN 4</p>

<p><b>See also:</b></p> <ul> <li><a href=”../../../sila/index_en.html”>Virtue <i>(sila)</i></a></li> <li>Right Speech</li> <li>Right Action</li> <li>The Five Precepts</li> <li>The Four Noble Truths</li> <li>The Fourth Noble Truth</li> <li>”Right Livelihood” in the General Index</li> </ul>

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