What is Right Livelihood?

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Posted by dh on October 18, 1998 at 03:37:56:

Hi All, Why don't we get a forum going on right livelihood? I suspect most of us are lay practitioners, so this could be relevant. It's sure been on my mind! Here's a bit of my situtation to stimulate discussion..

I am a biological scientist. I work with plants, trying to understand plant diseases so that we can eventually genetically engineer crops that will resist or tolerate pathogens without the application of chemical pesticides. The work is essentially biochemical, which uses a lot of chemicals for the experiments, most of which go down the drain, or into special waste containers which are eventually buried. If I don't do it, someone else will (?). But if I don't, maybe I could do something more beneficial for society whereas maybe someone else won't. Yet, as I will likely have a family (soon to be married), can I afford to start over or accept a low wage starting job in a new field and still provide the experience and education for my children to grow with broad horizons?

These aren't necessarily questions I want hard advice answers on, but more to stimulate the question of what is Right Livelihood. Is it just a job done mindfully that does not directly tread on others; what job does not indirectly support some harmful enterprise? What do we do?


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