Right Livelihood

Buddhism by the Numbers

Right Livelihood

  • Right livelihood is earning a living without needing to transgress any of the Five Mindfulness trainings; not dealing in arms, the slave trade, the meat trade, the sale of alcohol, drugs, or poison, making prophecies or telling fortunes.
  • A job that involves killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying or selling drugs or alcohol is not right livelihood.
  • Making weapons or profiting from others superstition is also not right livelihood.
  • People may have superstitions such as believing that their fate is sealed in the stars, but by practicing mindfulness, we can change the destiny astrologers have predicted for us. Moreover, prophecies can be self-fulfilling.
  • Creating art can also be a form of livelihood. A composer, writer, painter, or performer has an effect on the collective consciousness. Any work of art is to a certain extent a product of the collective consciousness. Therefore, the individual artist needs to practice mindfulness so that her work of art helps those who touch it practice right attention.
  • As we study and practice the Noble Eight Fold Path, we see that each element of the path is contained within the other seven elements.

Based on the Teaching of Thich Nhat Hahn

Photo by: Benn Bell

3 thoughts on “Right Livelihood

  1. Your point that “Creating art can also be a form of livelihood” is of great interest to me and my current topic of investigation. Can you suggest Buddhist writings on this topic? And are you familiar with any examples of contemporary representational Buddhist art?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Seamus! Sorry to take so long to reply. I have just gone through a big move and I am just now getting settled back into a routine. Thank you for reading my piece on Right Livelihood. I don’t really have an answer to your specific question, but let me direct you to two sources that you might find of interest. First, Lions Roar Magazine (https://www.lionsroar.com/). . It is a terrific source of Modern Buddhist writing. Also, I am including a link to an article about Buddhist Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/budd/hd_budd.htm.
      Best regards, Benn Bell.


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