Right Livelihood
Ajahn Pasanno, Ajahn Yatiko and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo
Upāsikā Day, Apr. 21, 2013
Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California
2 sessions, 36 excerpts, 1:36:30 total duration

Ajahn Pasanno reads from P. A. Payutto’s Buddhist Economics and A Constitution for Living and answers questions related to the topic of Right Livelihood.

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Sessions:    1    2
Session 1 – Ajahn Pasanno – Apr. 21, 2013 Download audio (1:22:37)
[Right Livelihood]

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1. [2:22] Readings: Buddhist Economics: A Middle Way for the Market Place by P. A. Payutto, p. 19; Buddhist Economics: A Middle Way for the Market Place by P. A. Payutto, p. 36. [Commerce/economics] [Requisites]

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2. [12:48] “Lottery numbers?...Is the problem that the monks have the right numbers so everyone flocks to them?” [Monastic life] [Psychic powers]

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3. [13:47] “Could you talk more about the particular professions that the Buddha laid out as wrong livelihood (AN 5.177)? Why is being in the military not on the list?” [Work] [Military] // [Unskillful qualities] [Kamma] [Killing] [Intoxicants] [Rebirth]

Sutta: AN 5.177: Trades

Story: The widow of a wealthy man divests from Singha Beer. [Commerce/economics]

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4. [19:55] “Is growing grapes right livelihood?” [Intoxicants] [Commerce/economics]

Story: The son of a winemaking family lives on the land but doesn't participate in wine production. [Family]

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5. [22:13] “Can you speak about the people who sell these things [intoxicants] versus those who make them?” [Intoxicants] [Commerce/economics] // [Kamma] [Volition]

Story: A clerk at an organic food store asks about selling wine. Told by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo.

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6. [25:52] “If the person selling the product enjoys selling it and the person buying it enjoys the product, what is the unpleasant consequence?” [Commerce/economics] [Sensual desire] [Kamma] // [Unskillful qualities] [Intoxicants] [Crime] [Heedlessness]

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7. [28:16] “What about people whose livelihood falls into one of these categories [AN 5.177] but they are convinced that it's good for the world or that it had to be done?” [Volition] // [Delusion]

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8. [29:16] Comment about the nuances involved in the activities comprising wrong livelihood. [Intoxicants]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Unskillful qualities] [Community]

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9. [31:25] “Is caffeine an intoxicant?” [Intoxicants] // [Medicinal requisites]

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10. [32:38] Comments about meat eating. [Food] [Killing] [Craving] [Vegetarianism]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Volition] [Human]

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11. [35:31] Quote: “Different people will be comfortable at different degrees of contentment and ability to live simply.” — P. A. Payutto [P. A. Payutto] [Personality] [Contentment] [Simplicity] [Happiness]

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12. [36:09] “The Buddha taught the five forms of wrong livelihood [AN 5.177]. This is from the producer side. Is there a similar teaching from the consumer side?” [Commerce/economics] // [Idealism] [Politics and society] [Buddha/Biography] [Skillful qualities]

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13. [38:30] “What is the view on medical or pharmaceutical professions?” [Health care] [Medicinal requisites]

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14. [40:03] “What about things that have an ostensibly benign purpose, such as pesticides and fertilizers used for raising food, but then in fact have quite harmful effects?” [Food] [Environment] // [Commerce/economics] [Politics and society]

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15. [42:20] “Is there any instruction from the Buddha about how to deal with profit-motivated pharmaceutical research decisions?” [Buddha] [Health care] [Commerce/economics]

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16. [43:01] “Some people want to help but find themselves in situations in which profit dictates the priorities. How can they protect their integrity in such situations?” [Compassion] [Health care] [Commerce/economics] [Right Intention] // [Learning] [Idealism] [Requisites] [Happiness]

Story: Ajahn Karuniko studies engineering, then quits a job in the arms industry to become a monk. [Military] [Monastic life/Motivation]

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17. [46:42] Comment by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo: It's not easy giving up the things we're used to in order to follow the path. [Renunciation] [Eightfold Path] [Clinging] [Happiness]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Suffering] [Commerce/economics]

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18. [49:12] “When quitting a job, should you consider the welfare of the next person who will fill it?”

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19. [50:16] Comment by Ajahn Yatiko: Right Livelihood isn't about judging other people's livelihood. [Judgementalism]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Eightfold Path] [Pāli] [Cessation of Suffering] [Happiness]

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20. [52:53] Comments about Temple Grandon designing low-anxiety slaughterhouses. [Killing] [Food]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.

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21. [55:03] Quote: “The Buddha's function was not to make grand pronouncements that apply universally, everywhere, all the time. He gave guidelines to relfect a variety of circumstances, personal effects, social effects, and then make a decision from there.” [Buddha] [Idealism] [Discernment] [Conditionality] [Kamma] [Community] [Politics and society]

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22. [55:44] Comments about thinking versus feeling out the quality of the heart in decision making. [Directed thought and evaluation] [Mindfulness of mind] [Discernment] [Clear comprehension]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.

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23. [57:50] Reading: Constitution for Living p. 33; Constitution for Living p. 35.

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24. [1:01:56] Reading

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25. [1:05:24] “There are many people without access to resources for education or training without many choices. How does this all fit together?” [Poverty] [Learning] [Politics and society] // [Buddha] [Idealism]

Sutta: DN 27: Agañña Sutta

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26. [1:09:22] “In DN 31.26, what is investment versus savings?” [Commerce/economics]

Comments by various participants about the nature of investment. [Unskillful qualities] [Greed] [Work]

Sutta: DN 31.32: Siṅgālasutta Sutta–Five duties of an employer to employees

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27. [1:12:38] Comments about the differences between ancient and modern economic systems and the importance of understanding and applying the Buddha's principles. [Commerce/economics] [Cultural context] [Culture/West] [Work] // [Food] [Poverty]

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28. [1:15:00] “Do you know the qualities the employee is supposed to give the employer?” [Work]

Sutta: DN 31.32: Siṅgālasutta Sutta

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29. [1:16:17] Story: The head of Lalanka Water invites monks to stay above his office and teach the employees. Told by Ajahn Yatiko. [Work] [Mutual lay/Saṅgha support] [Teaching Dhamma] // [Lunar observance days] [Eight Precepts] [Meditation] [Dhamma discussion] [Respect]

Story: The ultra-competent assistant who wants to ordain. [Monastic life/Motivation]

Story: The king's assistant who dives into the water to get 20 pounds of gold (DN 17).

Session 2 – Ajahn Pasanno – Apr. 21, 2013

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[Session] Note: This session follows a period of small-group discussions.

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1. [0:21] Comment: As our group spoke, our different perspectives converged on objects of the mind and how we meet them. [Mindfulness of dhammas]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.

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2. [1:26] Comments about the ways our work affects us. [Work] [Commerce/economics] // [Depression] [Unskillful qualities]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Human] [Appropriate attention]

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3. [8:50] “Everyone in our group is struggling with issues about livelihood. Does anyone here feel their livelihood is in tune?” Answered by Ajahn Yatiko and Ajahn Pasanno. [Work] [Idealism] // [Contentment] [Eightfold Path] [Kamma]

Quote: “Maybe it would be better phrased 'Right-enough livelihood.'” — Ajahn Karuṇadhammo [Right Livelihood]

Story: An upright career police officer in Thailand transfers in and out of a corrupt assignment. Told by Ajahn Pasanno. [Community] [Crime] [Corruption] [Family] [Precepts]

Comment by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo: Even monks face moral dillemas. [Monastic life] [Vinaya]

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4. [19:23] Comment about the motivations of trying to fix the world versus compassion. Contributed by Ajahn Kaccāna. [Idealism] [Compassion] [Suffering]

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5. [21:22] “What is your take on satisfaction, being in tune, and stagnation?” [Contentment] [Energy] [Ardency] // [Skillful qualities] [Discernment] [Buddha/Biography] [Spiritual search] [Right Effort]

Sutta: AN 2.5: Effort and noncontentment with wholesome states.

Story: The Thai government made it illegal for monks to teach contentment. [History/Thai Buddhism] [Monastic life] [Teaching Dhamma]

Comment about the simile of the lute. [Middle Path] [Similes]

Sutta: AN 6.55: Soṇa Sutta

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6. [26:02] “Regarding the lute simile (AN 6.55), I notice that even properly tuned instruments gradually creep out of tune. Is finding the balance a lifelong effort?” [Middle Path] [Right Effort] [Similes] [Long-term practice]

Comment about the need to put work into perspective. [Work] [Culture/West]

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7. [27:29] Comment about the Buddha developing skills after enlightenment. [Buddha/Biography] [Liberation] [Learning]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Vinaya] [History/Early Buddhism]