Sep 4, 2018


Letter to Disciples No.42: RIGHT PRACTICE AND RIGHT LIVELIHOOD (Chánh tu và chánh mạng)

Letter to Disciples No.42: Right Practice and Right Livelihood

Dear disciples!

The Buddha advised not to make livelihood by 13 jobs

A bhikkhu or bhikkhuni who lives  a monastic life should practice Dharma for liberation only, for this is the reason they’ve left home to become a monk. In the Assembly of Three Collections of Pure Precepts (Maharatnakuta Sutra Part 1, translated by Ven. Thich Tri Tinh), the Buddha taught that even Bodhisattva bhikkhus were not permitted to take “five studies (vidyas)” as an excuse for worldly life engagement by doing following occupations: (1) pharmaceutics, (2) trade, (3) works that are related to feminine or masculine beauty.

Buddhism pays respect to the livelihood of others (who are not Buddhist). Nonetheless, the Buddha advised the Buddhists, particularly lay people, not to do the following 13 occupations: (1) match-maker, (2) emissary, (3) soldier, (4) slaughterer, (5) arms trader, (6) toxic chemical producer, (7) fortuneteller, (8) astrologer, (9) pharmacist, (10) slave trader, (11) brothel owner, (12) alcohol trader, and (13) animal trader.

I still remember there was a man who did not practice Buddhism for fear that his current job (pawnbroker and usurer) may break the precept. Now mother of Mat Hung (my disciple) is pondering upon whether or not to keep her job as a butcher. They can make decision upon their Dharma mind.

ITA’s Director – Master Thinley Nguyen Thanh in Latvia

In fact, upon teaching lay Buddhists on how to integrate Dharma into life, the Buddha just mentioned about direct valid cognition (pratyakṣapramāṇa) which means historical context in his time. “Whatever is phenomenal is impermanent” thus each stage of the mankind’s evolution will have typical occupations which are formed by objective social need. Hence, practitioners should consider aspects of Time, Nationality and Ethnicity.

For instance, in the Buddha’s time, there was no beer (a kind of liquor with less than 20 percent alcohol content), loan sharking, banking, tobacco production, grocery, electricity, auto repair, computer… So what is the best criteria for measuring good deeds? Overall, right livelihood of lay Buddhists, as pointed out by the Buddha, means earning a living without directly harming oneself, others and animals.

If the practitioner entirely “counts on words rather than meaning”, then in this modern time, won’t the Buddhists be able to join in Police, Army, Foreign Affairs, Bank, Industry or Tourism? Then I’m doubt over the development of a country if a majority of its population follows Buddhism. Therefore, based on aspects of Time, Nationality and Ethnicity, we need distinguish between right and wrong livelihood (among 13 jobs the Buddha advised not to do) by the consciousness or awareness of the doer, not by the job itself.

The legend goes that a butcher in the royal palace attained sainthood.

The King asked him:” So now you’ve got attainment. Should you change your job?”

The saint (butcher) replied:” I’ll stay at my job!”

The King astonishingly asked:” Are you going to kill animal again?”

“Your Majesty, this animal has the karma of being killed. But I try to relieve its pain by changing way of slaughtering and praying for its rebirth in higher realms!”

So what is the best criteria for measuring good deeds?

On the other hand, a person selling spiritual and devotional products or selling fruits (seen as right action) but of low quality and at exorbitant prices, is he doing good deed? Now come back to the case of the butcher. If he sells pork meat (which was taken from the slaughterhouse, i.e already being killed) at reasonable price with good quality and on-time delivery, should he be called “evil doer”?

Obviously, to the extent of Nationality, jobs that are forbidden by the law should not be done such as drug trafficking, organization of gambling, prostitution intermediary, etc. The Buddha had never accepted any practitioners who attempted to break the national law and regulations.

Siddha Tilopa

Buddhism centers on mind cultivation and wisdom-based liberation rather than what job to be done. Thirteen jobs that the Buddha advised not to follow play a certain, but not decisive role in the path of liberation. There is an antidote to all bad karmas through the law of compensation and the law of retribution…

An attained lama, the story goes, when being asked who he was in his previous life, he said he was a sheep. A lama had eaten this sheep together with mantra chanting and praying, thus this sheep was reborn into human realm, practicing Vajrayana and got enlightenment. The lama’s action of eating sheep meat cannot be blamed as a lack of compassion or virtue!

Practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism often chant a purification mantra before consuming meat and pray for the animal to be reborn in a higher realm. A doctor can turn poison into a miracle for a certain disease with proper dose, let alone the Dharma mind of a Buddhist practitioner. This reminds me the case of Mat Duong and Mat Nga (my disciples) who are residing in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. They live by making fish- hook. One day, Mat Nga told me she was afraid that this work would cause indirect killing and her sisters told her to leave the job. Mat Nga sadly said:” You know that I am getting old now, poor health, physically small, low education. Who wanna hire me? I have two children who are suffering from autism. They are sent to a specialized private school with a tuition fee two times higher than that of other schools. So how can I leave this job which is raising my family now as advised by my sisters and some monks?!.

On the advice of mine, they practiced Buddhist Dharma, regularly prayed and dedicated merit to all beings who are indirectly killed by their work. Then once they have enough good virtue and spiritual power, they would know what should do to obtain utmost liberation. They will understand that a thorough planning for next rebirth is far more important than this karmic body!

Master Marpa

Among five precepts for Buddhist laymen, the first one is not killing the human being (while that for monk also includes not killing animal). Come  back to the case of Mat Hung’s mother who has yet taken refuge to the Three Jewels, I think they will know what should do next to accumulate good karma (in relation to Dharma practice). In case that a person has taken refuge in the Three Jewels and undertaken five precepts, if he breaks the first (1) precept but makes his best endeavor in observing the rest four ones: (2) no stealing, (3) no sexual misconduct, (4) no lying that harms others, and (5) no abuse of intoxicants;surely good karmas will quickly grow to compensate for bad karmas, not to mention the support from practices of Mantra chanting and Bodhicitta generation.

The Buddha said those who commit one of five cardinal sins (Pañcānantarya) (killing Arhat, injuring a Buddha, killing parents, defaming Dharma, and causing disunity in the Buddhist Sangha) will not be able to practice Buddhism. So don’t fear your job is inferior but instead diligently practice Buddhist Dharma as the means of karma compensation and retribution. The story told that in the past, King Ajatasatru killed his father. Then he felt deeply regretful and practiced Buddhist Dharma strenuously, supported Buddhism with his whole heart. He was reborn in Deva realm after death.

In the past, King Ajatasatru killed his father. Then he felt deeply regretful and practiced Buddhist Dharma strenuously, supported Buddhism with his whole heart. He was reborn in Deva realm after death.

Once we are determined to cultivate in line with the orbit of Dharma (right practice), all bad deeds or wrong livelihood will gradually fade out and finally vanish. Once we thoroughly understand the Buddha’s teachings, we will make our own decision in relation with our spiritual destiny. Right Practice (Right Diligence) will lead to Right Livelihood in a reverse process.

Phuoc Thanh Village, October 4, 2013


Translated by Mat Hue Phap

Vietnamese version: Thư gửi các trò 42: CHÁNH TU VÀ CHÁNH MẠNG

  1. Tantra Mahadeva says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    Thank you for this meaningful article. I value the teaching that we should share the merit of our practice with all beings. Our source of livelihood should benefit community and we should ensure that we don’t harm anyone.

    With diligent practice and mindfulness we can bring positive changes in the circumstances of our lives and progress on the path.

    Grateful for your constant guidance through enriching articles.

    May all beings be happy and filled with love and compassion

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    • Kính bạch Thầy!
      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Mahadeva sang tiếng Việt như sau:
      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!
      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết ý nghĩa này. Con trân quý những lời dạy của Thầy dạy chúng con nên chia sẻ công đức có được nhờ thực hành pháp cho tất cả chúng sanh. Chánh mạng là chúng con nên mang lại lợi ích cho cộng đồng và chúng con đảm bảo rằng chúng con không làm tổn hại bất kì ai.
      Bằng việc tinh tấn thực hành pháp và chánh niệm, chúng con làm thay đổi cuộc đời chúng con tốt hơn và tiến tu trên đạo lộ giải thoát.
      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì luôn nhiệt tâm, kiên nhẫn chỉ dạy chúng con thông qua những bài viết trí tuệ và phong phú về nội dung.
      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh được hạnh phúc, tâm tràn đầy yêu thương và từ bi.
      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  2. Mô Phật!

    Mật thúy rất hoan hỉ với thiện hạnh dịch bài viết của vị Thầy sang tiếng Anh của huynh Mật Huệ Pháp cầu nguyện cho huynh luôn tin tấn thực hành pháp để được tha lực hộ trì cầu mông tất cả chúng sanh luôn có duyên lành biết đến chánh pháp OM ah hum.

  3. Elana Dower says:

    Thank you guru

    om mani padme hum

  4. Salvatore Antonio Fois says:

    Venerebol Guru.

    My name is tantra siramitra.

    Very interesting points to know about our jobs, and daily activities, and of course our practice of the Holly Dharma, it comes to common sense been a Buddhist we do our best not to harm no one not to opset no one, and trying our best to help athers.

    The comments of our venerebol Guru the are very well expressed in a very supportive manner for practitioners, and i do believe in the and it comes to a good common sense, and good faith! In our venerebol Guru and the Holly Dharma.

    May Avery one be happy.


    • Kính bạch Thầy!
      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Siramitra (Salvatore Antonio Fois) sang tiếng Việt như sau:
      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!
      Con là Tantra Siramitra.
      Bài viết này hay và ý nghĩa. Bài viết giúp chúng con hiếu được cách ứng dụng thực hành pháp trong công việc, trong các hoạt động hàng ngày của chúng con. Điều quan trọng con hiểu được rằng là Phật tử, chúng con không làm hại ai, không gây tổn thương cho bất kỳ ai và chúng con cố gắng hết sức mình để giúp đỡ người khác.
      Những lời dạy của Thầy tôn quý rất rõ ràng và chi tiết với những ví dụ sinh động giúp cho Phật tử dễ dàng ứng dụng lời Phật dạy trong công việc hàng ngày. Con hoàn toàn tin tưởng lời Thầy dạy và những lời dạy của Thầy rất ý nghĩa với con. Con giữ vững niềm tin kiên cố vào Thầy tôn quý và giáo pháp Phật đà.
      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh được hạnh phúc.
      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  5.  Tantra Mahavita says:

    Dear Holy Guru : I bow my head to the feet of the Holy Guru . Many thanks  for sharing this article.The correct practice is fundamental in the spiritual journey with diligent practice and full attention we continue on the path to liberation. May our beloved Guru live happy and have a long life for the benefit of all sentient beings .May all beings find the happiness of the Nature of Budhha .OM MANI PADME HUM

    • Kính bạch Thầy!
      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Mahavita sang tiếng Việt như sau:
      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!
      Con xin cúi đầu đảnh lễ dưới chân Thầy tôn quý.
      Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết này.
      Con hiểu rằng thực hành đúng theo quỹ đạo chánh pháp là nền tảng vững chắc cho hành trình tâm linh. Tinh tấn hành pháp với sự chánh niệm sẽ giúp chúng con vững bước trên đạo trình giải thoát.
      Con cầu nguyện Thầy tôn quý thân tâm an tịnh, trụ thế lâu dài vì sự lợi lạc của tất cả chúng sanh.
      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh.
      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  6. Dear Holy Guru,
    I am delighted to read your wonderful article. I would like to express the deep gratitude towards you for your noble teachings in this article in the very easy and interesting explanation. I have learnt a lot from your teachings.
    I have learnt that starting a spiritual path, the most importance is right view and right practice. If practitiners make wrong practice with wrong view, they will get in vain no matter how diligently they practice. In this article, you help me understand the nature of right livelihood to benefit self and others in the present time. It proves that Buddhist teachings can be applied well in every times. The importance lies on how to apply them correctly in daily life in accordance with the times, circumstances and certain conditions for the benefit of all beings.
    The purpose of Buddhist teachings is to bring happiness for all beings at present and everlasting happiness next life. All applications making difficulties in practicing Dharma and in getting happiness is not harmony with the Buddha’s teachings. The Lord Buddha advised us to follow the middle Path. And he taught us to take wisdom as the only concern. With the 6 maverlous practices of Pure Mind yoga you have invented, you provide us the wonderful methods to practice with joy to get inner happiness, success in life and social achievement this life then getting everlasting bliss in the Pure Land next life.
    May you and your consort have a good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.

    I also rejoice in the good deed of Mat Hue Phap who has translated your article into English. Her beautiful English version supports to spread your teachings all over the world for the benefit of all beings.

    May Mat Hue Phap get her legitimate wishes and be joyful on the path of liberation.
    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature.
    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  7. Ahmed Khan says:

    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for sharing this article. It is very beautiful.

    May all sentient beings become enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Ahmed Khan sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết này. Bài viết rất hay và ý nghĩa.

      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh đạt được giác ngộ.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  8. Alphonse Kpehonou KOI says:

    Dear Guru, thank you very much for all your works tawords us by
    enumerating the principles bhukkini and simple budhist practioners
    must respect. May you be enlightened !

  9. Boying Baguio says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    My greetings to you and all brothers and sisters in chanhtuduy.

    Thank you for such a wonderful article. It gives enlightenment and clarifications for questions regarding the consumption of animal meat as a food. It is indeed a knowledgeable page that explains the sides consumers of living beings for a purpose of either for market or for survivals.

    I remember one time, not long ago after I begun to grasp the concept of Buddhism regarding animal realm as a phase of samsara for souls of the past humans gone before us. I am about to take the life of  tilapias (kind of fresh water fish) for our dinner with my cousin. They were healthy and alive as I chose them well from the market. I put them in a basin while I was waiting for the rice to be cooked. I was watching them swimming, their bumping each other moving around like talking and telling each other how fresh cool the water they are now, after a while of just being out from a crowded basin from the market. As I stare at them, they are staring me back. I see their mouth gasping that makes me think they are telling something to me. Then I look at their eyes, and they keep on staring at me. That makes me.think then and say to my self ” oh man, how could  I end up the life of these creatures for my stomach thinking that they are not doing anything harm to me. They are so helpless!”…

    I took a chance to message my friend then, Mat Dieu Hang, who’s on line in messenger, asking what am I gonna do with this helpless fish. She told me to make a prayer for them that they will be born into a higher realm for their next life. She said, I should thank them for their presence and let the nutrients I am going to take from them be shared to all sentient beings. So, I spoke to them while they are swimming. Giving them my respect and wishes for a more better destination for their next life. So, as I choice that I chose, after talking with them, I waited for my cousin to arrived and do the task to take the life of this fish. I do the cooking, though. And I make sure to close the caserole well for them not to stare at me while they are boiling.

    Scenarios like I had might not make that senseful enough but my point is, every being deserved each ones respect since we serve all purpose in this world. Things that I haven’t learned from my previous belief. I used to think that animals are stomach fillers, and they serve a money making purposes, like for traders and marketers, without any sincere respect to them. I happened to enjoy looking at pets when I pass over a pet shop, specially when I see those dogs or cats wiggling their tails when I get near them. But now things sounds different. I understand their needs and silent words now. I pity them so much that I wanted to buy the pet shop and free them to the world where they belong to. But surely I can’t. And indeed, the article is right, they too are in the phase of their karma. A situation that they need to go through. So I pray for them instead with my silent concern behind my smile saying, “All things come to pass. Be strong, my friends.”

    Thank you for a wonderful article. May the holy Guru always have a good health to share more more inspiring stories and knowledge.

    May all sentient beings be free from sufferings

    I am Tantra Maruta, from the Philippines.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  10. Dr. C H Lakshmi narayan. says:

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    I bow my head at the lotus feet of Guruji.

    Respected Guruji,

    By this article, I realized that based on the Time, Nationality  and Ethnicity, good job or bad job,  or good action or bad action , our’s is right view or wrong view  is to be judged in the background of Buddha’s  teachings. And not to go by words but to go by meaning in respect of Buddha’s  teachings.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Dr CH Lakshminarayan.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Yes, I agree with your ideas!

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của CH Lakshminarayan sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Om Mani Padme Hum

      Con cúi đầu đảnh lễ dưới chân sen của Thầy.

      Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Sau khi đọc bài viết này, con nhận ra rằng, dựa trên tính thời đại, tính quốc độ và tính dân tộc, thì nghè nghiệp tốt hay xấu, hành vi thiện hay ác và chánh kiến hay tà kiến đều được minh định, quán xét dựa trên lời dạy của đức Phật. Và việc này không chỉ dựa trên câu chữ từ lời dạy của Ngài mà phải đi vào thực nghĩa của những lời dạy ấy.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.

      Con – CH Laksminarayan.”


  11. Tantra Mikaya says:

    dear holy guru. Thank you very much for your interesting and insightful article, Dharma teaching. I conclude that we experience joie de vivre on our Buddhist path and with the right practice. Our attitude and practice makes us a Buddhist. Not a stature in the living room or the clothes. Our Buddhist practice is guided by the Buddha’s experiences, the Dharma, and our own experiences through knowledge that we have also learned through you holy guru in your wise articles. Integrating Buddhist mindfulness and customs into everyday life and practicing the Dharma requires patience and the will to insight and acceptance of one’s own inadequacy. The Dharma can help each of us find our own things in life. Mindfulness of the body, mindfulness of our feelings and emotions, mindfulness of mind and mindfulness of our thoughts. All this gives us just as much joy of life when we practice the Dharma properly. May our holy Guru life long for the sake of all sentient beings. May all beings achieve the happiness of Buddha s nature. OM MANI PADME HUM

  12. Tantra Sutradaka says:

    Revered Gurujee

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    I bow before your

    I am grateful to  my holy Guru  and my friend , from the core of my heart, for sharing  and sending this article  respectively, to me. This brilliant lesson not only serves the pragmatic needs of the modern mind but also unlocks the riddles of the life today which is bewildered between the dilemma of Religion and reality, Ethics and Morality as well as theory and practicality and paves the path of Buddhist Religion to become a smooth way of life, without bumps and obstacles, as it spots light on the Right Practice and right livelihood for the people of modern mechanical civilization.

    Revered Gurujee, any classical religion and philosophy deals with the human situation. It takes into account the cause, condition and existential situation which are historical social, cultural and temperamental in nature. In historical process the political, social, cultural and economic institution suffer change. This also has its impact on the thinking mode of the people, which results in the change of approaches, ideals and modification of the concepts and precepts of the religion and philosophical condition of the land, as it has to keep pace with the process of change. Thus, any religion can remain relevant only when it modifies its ideals, principals, precepts and concepts from time to time in accordance with the changing situation, condition, culture and climate. For that it is also necessary to recognize the ethos of the people and their reactions to the changes all over the globe. In order to preserve the vitality of any religion it is essential to be adaptive and adoptive so that it may cope with the changing situations. In fact, a religion which does not absorb the fresh ideas of the time will lose its vitality and significance as it is incapable of providing solutions to the problems faced by individual and society, where as an adaptive religion is sensitive to the changes in contrast to that which is un-adaptive and thus impervious to the transformations which the individual, society and nation undergo relentlessly. Here there are two significant assumptions:

    1. A religion cannot remain isolated from changing times,
    2. A religion can be made to order

    The second assumption has again two more assumptions. If a religion and philosophy is lagging behind the change it can be made up to date, firstly by rejecting from its store what would not just go with the changed condition, and secondly, by adopting the fresh new ideas of the time and thus making a religion in accordance with prevailing condition. Since Buddhism is a living religion it has always absorbed the fresh air and ideas of the time that is why it is fast flourishing religion of the world. And the entire global population are looking at it as the last ray of hope to save the humanity from the future shock which appears to be impending  as the end of the Civilization. The present comment on the article spots light on the elasticity, and adaptability of Buddhist religion that may provide equal opportunity to the right to work for the  global human population with dignity.

    It is evident from perusal of early Buddhist texts that Buddha himself changed certain rules of the Vinaya from time to time to suit the law of the land. In early period Buddhism, in order to lighten the burden of poverty and slavery, made poor people monks. Some loaned people in order to escape from their moneylenders became Buddhist monks. Those days’ moneylenders had the legal right to purchase everything of the loanee including his body, in case of his incapabile and ity to pay off his debt. When the Buddha came to know this law of the the state he declared, “A loanee must not be given Pabajja“. In the same way when slaves and solders started taking refuge in the Buddhist Samgha in order to escape from their masters and impending war against the law of the land. when the Buddha came to know about the gross violation of the state law by making them Monks, He amended the Vinay rules by declaring that slaves and solders will not be given Pabajja or ordained as monks in the Bhikkhu Samgha, as it violets the law of the land. Not only this, the Buddha had Himself allowed some changes in the Vinaya rules. In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta it is mentioned that when the Buddha was on the death bed He asked Ananda, his devoted disciple, if needed, he may make certain minor changes in the Vinaya Rules for the smooth functioning of the Samgha.

    After 100 years of the Buddha’s Mahaparinibbana the situation changed. Dissension among monks erupted regarding Buddha’s actual words and their proper interpretation. This gave birth to different schools in Buddhism which took up its cause with great zeal and tried to popularize it in India and abroad. In the second Buddhist council many modifications were not made in the principle and the rigour of the rules of conduct were not relaxed. Shortly another council, which is known as great council (Mahasangiti ) was called. It was attended by 1000 monks. Now the Buddhist Sangha was divided into, broadly, two schools, Theravada and Mahasanghika. It is also considered to be the division between conservative and liberal, the heretic and democratic. The different schools of Buddhism that sprang up are mainly known as Hinayana and Mahayana. Mahayana underwent several modifications in the Buddhist rules taking into consideration the changing atmosphere. With the variation of place and climate certain changes were also made in some of the principles, which could suit the people of certain place and time.

    Before I conclude the comment I cannot check my temptation to narrate at list one moral precept related to right livelihood that was modified at the hand of the Buddha himself. It is widely known that non killing (Panatipat veramani) is the first precept. The Buddha has given much emphasis on its strict observance. He denounced killing and asked not o harm any living being. That is why he categorically banned flesh trade under Right livelihood. But surprisingly enough, He was not against meat eating. He has allowed a Bhikkhu to accept if someone has put meat in his alms bowls, as purity does not depend upon the food only but also on the mental state and right food vision. In the Jeevaka Sutta of Majjhima Nikaya He has prescribed the rules of meat eating under the heading Tikotiparisiddham Mansani wherein He has said in three cases meat can be used, if it is not seen, heard and suspected to have been killed for the purpose of a monk, because such meat is unblemished.  Perhaps this is the reason the Buddhists do not find any sin accruing to monk if someone is procuring flesh food for him. Not only this, Buddha has allowed using animal flesh, blood and oil in case of sickness or ailment in form of medicine. The cooking and eating of the kills of lion, tiger, hyenas and wolves have been allowed to the Bhikkhus. This in fact, indirectly support trading in flesh too and stealthily legitimizes the modification in some of the principals of Right livelihood.  Since this learned article is well articulated and meticulously prepared in a smooth and easily approachable language that its import and information’s have percolated even in the dull and ignorant mind like mine, I dare not comment and mention the rest of the information shared by our holy Guru.

    However, with the changing time and rapidly growing population job opportunities are sinking down. Gross unemployment is growing all over the globe. Privet job and self-employment is the only way to solve this problem. Now one does have time to ponder over the auspiciousness or inauspiciousness’ of any trade. Shortage of job opportunities has created a rat race to grab any occupation whether good bad or evil in nature from traditional way of thinking. Modern man does not have time to take respite and brood over these trivialities. Hence people are concentrating even on those occupations which were forbidden by the old masters of our religion, as wrong livelihood. The reason is simple. At 500 B.C.E. the population was less; life was not as complicated as is today. It was much simple as it was going on a set pattern. There was no unemployment because of the thin population and little wants. Concept of Right Livelihood emerged as the occupations were more than population. Buddha being omniscient could foresee the forth coming situation even after 2600 years of his death. This is why he gave permission even to change the Vinaya rules taking into consideration the changed time, culture, place and the internal or external situation.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    May all Sentient



  13. Tantra Upatissa says:

    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article.

    Thanks Also for reminding 5 percepts for Buddhist layman. Irrespective of our job we should try to practise Dharma deligiently and continuously. We should try to make the best use of every situation that comes in our life for others liberation and for our enlightenment. Sometimes we have to pickup the odd jobs but it should not bring down our spirit of practicising dharma.

    May our Dharma friends get good jobs they wish which can help them to stay in touch with Dharma. Their children and family members may stay healthy and get enlightened.

    May Guru and his consort live long and protected and get enlightened.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum..

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Upatissa sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết này.

      Con cũng cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã giảng cho chúng con hiểu về 5 giới cấm mà cư sĩ cần tuân theo. 

      Con hiểu rằng dù làm bất kỳ công việc nào, chúng con cũng nên thực hành pháp tinh tấn và không dừng nghỉ. Chúng con nên tận dụng mọi hoạt động thường nhật để thực hành pháp vì sự giải thoát cho tất cả chúng sanh và vì sự giác ngộ của bản thân.

      Đôi khi chúng con phải làm những công việc vặt tạm thời để chờ tìm công việc tốt hơn thì chúng con không nên mất tinh thần mà buông lung trong việc thực hành pháp.

      Con cầu nguyện cho các huynh đệ đều có được công việc tốt  như ước nguyện và họ luôn tinh tấn hành pháp.

      Cầu nguyện cho gia đình các huynh đệ nhiều sức khỏe và đạt được giác ngộ tối thượng.

      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh đoạn trừ khổ đau và đạt được giác ngộ tối thượng.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  14. Ashutosh Shah says:

    I am a photographer and I love my job. Most of the time I photograph animals which is fun, but I photograph the animals for a big company and sometimed their goals and expectations are so high I am afraid we sometimes give the animals a difficult time just to meet our goals. I think stressing the animals is bad karma but how do I tell my boss? I need to meet my goals and make the photos looks great even if the animal is unhappy. Thank you and many blessings.

  15. Chris Larson says:

    Dear Guru

    Thank you for this. I indeed am trying to do my work in right practice of Darhma, as well as all aspects of life. Thank you.

    Om Mani Padme Hom

    Chris Larson

    • Kính bạch Thầy! 

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Chris Larson sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      Kính bạch Thầy! 

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết này. Con thực sự đang cố gắng thực hành chánh pháp ngay trong công việc.  Đồng thời,  con cũng cố gắng thực hành pháp trong mọi khía cạnh của cuộc sống. 

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy. 

      Om Mani Padme Hum. 

      Con – Chris Larson. 

  16. Tantra mishataru says:

    Dear Guru. Thank you for this article I now know what jobs we should do and which we shouldn’t.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    • Kính bạch Thầy! 

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Mishataru sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      Kính bạch Thầy! 

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con đọc bài viết này. Bây giờ con đã hiểu những công việc gì chúng con nên làm và những việc gì chúng con không nên làm. 

      Om Mani Padme Hum. 

  17. Abrar Bhatti says:


    Dear Guru JI,

    Thank you for letting us know which livelihood are right for Buddhist laymen. Indeed man is the only species who destroy nature to fulfill his desires/sensations and greed. He create such conditions for others to break the precepts. Not our will to choose wrong profession but we are surrounded in unfavorable conditions. we should live as one, in balance, according to the Middle Path. When step off the Middle Path out of Greed, we are in conflict with our own nature and nature, us becoming a threat to the planet- to other humans, the environment and ourselves.

    Om Mani Padme Hum,

    Tantra Rahlahu

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Rahlahu (Abrar Bhatti) sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã chỉ dạy cho chúng con biết về chánh mạng đối với Phật tử cư sĩ. Quả thật, con người phá hoại thiên nhiên để thỏa mãn mong cầu và lòng tham của mình. Chính con người cũng tạo ra môi trường làm cho người khác phá vỡ giới luật. Không phải chúng con cố tình chọn nghề sai mà do chúng con không được sống trong những điều kiện thuận lợi. Chúng con nên sống với tâm quân bình, theo con đường trung đạo. Khi chúng con vì tham muốn của mình mà đi lệch trung đạo thì chính chúng con tự xung đột với chính mình và gây hại cho thiên nhiên; chúng con trở thành mối nguy hại cho hành tình này, cho người khác, cho môi trường và cho chính bản thân chúng con.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.

      Con – Tantra Rahlahu.

  18. Abrar Bhatti says:

    Guru ji,
    Thank you for explaining to us the meanings Mani mantra, and what is importance of this mantra in order to have libration from our sufferings. how this mantra can play its role in transformation of unwholesome to wholesome. Recitation of mantra and visualization of Avalokiteshvara creates energy that connect us to Buddha.
    Om Mani Padme Hum,
    Abrar Bhatti

  19. Aman Prakash says:

    Dear guru

    Thank you for this article. I bow my head on your lotus feet.

    I am able to understand that by time,nationality and ethenticity the concept of any work is to be divided. It is the intention behind a particular work is given to be imphasis. Practising dhamma as karma compansation and retribution.

    We all need your blessings guru. May guru and dakini live long for the sake of all sensient being.

    May all sensient being attain true nature.

    Om Mani padme hum

  20. Giorgi says:

    Dear Guru

    Thank you for such useful article. integrating Dhamma practice in our daily lives is indeed interesting and difficult topic. This article makes relationship between jobs and karma much more clear and really helps me to understand the ideas behind percepts. Thank you.

  21. Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Giorgi sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì bài viết lơị lạc này. Pháp là cuộc sống, cuộc sống là pháp thực sự hay và lợi lạc; và không phải ai cũng thực hành được. Bài viết của Thầy đã luận giảng cho con hiểu được mối liên hệ giữa công việc và nghiệp; đồng thời giúp con hiểu được những ý nghĩa sâu sa đằng sau giới luật.

    Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy!

  22. John Mruk says:

    Thank you for sharing this article Guru. It has cleared up a lot of things for me and I learned so much.

  23. paul yawney says:

    Like this as it makes it clear that as long as we cause no harm in anyway we are doing righ twe must make sure that what we do is for right reason and for betterment.

  24. Mark Hamilton says:

    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for this article.Thank you for this insightful article. I often wonder how people can take jobs that harm others. But in reality all of our actions cause a positive and negative reaction. I just hope I can learn from my actions.

  25. Dareking says:

    Dear Guru thanks for this article

    I really appreciate

  26. Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Dareking sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã viết bài này.

    Con hoan hỷ tán thán công hạnh của Thầy.


  27. Rachel says:

    Dear Guru, thank you for your words today, i wish so much that their was more awareness of Buddhism, in my lifetime I have met good & bad people, people who purposely gossip to condemn others, cause harm & distress purposely, I only see the good In people but I understand that these ppl who cause pain to others have not been shown the right way in life & rebelled out of pure frustration. I have been lucky to have been brought up well, to know the essential rights & wrongs, I have reached out to others nievly believing they are in pain only to find violence & torment. I am fully grown now & I wish I had discovered Buddhism long ago, it’s brings peace to my often “anxious” mind & calms me as I go about my day, sending much gratitude & many thanks.

  28. Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Rachel sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì những lời dạy của Thầy trong bài viết con đọc hôm nay. Con cầu nguyện cho hữu tình học được sự tỉnh thức của đạo Phật.

    Trong cuộc đời con,  con đã gặp nhiều người,  cả người tốt và người xấu,  những người luôn gièm pha,  nói xấu người khác với mục đích làm hại người khác. Con không chỉ nhìn vào điểm tốt của con người mà con còn hiểu rằng những người gây ra đau khổ cho người khác bởi vì họ không được ai chỉ cho biết con đường đúng đắn trong cuộc đời và không được ai chỉ cho cách thoát khỏi sự thất vọng,  phiền não. Con may mắn được nuôi dưỡng tốt và được chỉ dạy cho biết những điều đúng,  sai cơ bản. Con thoát khỏi những nhóm người khổ đau và thích bạo lực,  muốn người khác khổ đau,  phiền não. Bây giờ con trường thành hơn nhiều. Con ước gì con được học Phật pháp từ trước. Phật pháp đã giúp cho tâm lo lắng,  phiền muộn của con được bình an và giúp con điềm tĩnh trong một ngày nhiều bận rộn của con. 

    Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy!

  29. Neerajkumar Sumaran says:

    Dear Dhamma Guru ,

    Thank you very much for this wonderful teaching, what to do & what not to.

    Long live Dhamma Guru.

    Bhawatu Sabba Mangalang.

  30. Mật Diệu Hằng
    Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Neerajkumar Sumaran sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Kính bạch Thầy tôn quý!

    Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì những lời chỉ dạy quý báu trong bài viết này. Con đã hiểu những gì nên làm và không nên làm.

    Con cầu nguyện Thầy trụ thế lâu dài.

    Nguyện cho tất cả được hạnh phúc.

  31. Ashok Kate says:

    Dear Guru,

    The article you wrote to our disciples is very beautiful, you  have told how to live life and go to Arya Ashtanga route of Tathagat Lord Buddha and to do proper due diligence. It is a guide to how we should treat people of other faiths. Thank you guru

    Ashok Kate /Atthadassi

  32. Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Ashok Kate sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Bài viết của Thầy viết cho đệ tử thật hay. Thầy chỉ dạy cách sống, thực hành phù hợp với Bát Chánh Đạo mà đức Phật đã chỉ ra và hành giả cần thực hành đúng, thực hành tinh tấn. Đồng thời Thầy chỉ dẫn chúng con cách giúp đỡ chúng sanh linh hoạt dựa trên niềm tin và căn cơ của họ.

    Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy.

    Con – Ashok Kate / Attadassi. 

  33. Mark says:

    Thank you very much for this teaching.

  34. Mật Diệu Hằng
    Mật Diệu Hằng says:

    Kính bạch Thầy!

    Con xin phép được dịch comment của bạn đọc Mark sang tiếng Việt như sau:

    Con chân thành cảm tạ ơn Thầy vì những lời dạy của Thầy trong bài.

  35. Tantra Sagovana says:

    Dear Guru,

    My name is Tantra Sagovana.

    Thank you for sharing this article.

    In this article you have explained in detail the meaning of Right Livelihood in Buddhism.

    That Buddhist practitioners should consider aspects of Time, Nationality and Ethnicity to distinguish between right livelihood and wrong livelihood.

    Right livelihood is to earn a living without directly harming oneself and others including animals.

    Also you list 13 occupations the Buddha has advised Buddhist practitioners to not engage in.

    These 13 occupations are not decisive as all bad karma has antidote of law of compensation and law of retribution.

    Buddhism centers on mind cultivation and wisdom-based liberation not on what occupation a Buddhist practitioner does.

    May all sentient beings be healthy and well and be free from suffering.

    May Guru be healthy and live long for the benefit of all beings.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)


  36. Tantra Mishataru says:

    Dear Holy Guru, I am so thankful for this article once again as I can recall I read it when I was your newcomer. well  I am glad I am revising this again to catch up on ideas and teachings I forgot. Like the 13  jobs which a lay shouldn’t do. In my understanding their is a reason why Buddha told us not to adapt a certain lifestyle and to adapt a certain lifestyle for our wellbeing.

    May all sentient beings be freed from all sufferings.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  37. Tantra Sagovana says:

    Dear Guru,

    My name is Tantra Sagovana.

    Thank you for sharing this article.

    Thank you for explaining about Right Livelihood.

    You explain about 13 jobs that lay Buddhist practitioners should avoid, and that we should consider aspects of Time, Nationality and Ethnicity.

    You conclude the article by explaining that Right Practice (Right Livelihood) will lead to Right Livelihood.

    May Mat Tinh Phap overcome difficulties at present and get successful in the future.

    May all sentient beings be healthy and well and be free from suffering.

    May Guru be healthy and live long for the benefit of all beings.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)

  38. Curt owens says:

    Dearest Holy Guru,

    Thank you so much for sharing this article.  You are really a true blessing to us all.

  39. Tantra Amitara says:

    Dear guru

    I now my head before your lotus feet. I am thankful for this article.

    This article give teaching about right dharma practice. One should have to look inside ourselves and then doing any particular work. What the intension behing doing work is very most important. If someone doing good to others(in respect to others) but having deep selfish attitude then that work lead negative energy to him. The most important is to not  to prove others but to have great great honesty within.

    May guru blessings illuminate all over the world. May guru and his concert live long for well being of all.

    May all sensient being attain enlightenment.

    Om mani padme hum

  40. Daniel says:

    Dear Guru

    This was a very intersting article. The Buddha says we must have a right livelihood. We shall never harm other people or animals who have a soul like us. Otherwise we gather bad karma on us. We must to practice compassion towards all living beings. There are some occupations that are wrong like slaughterer and soldier. We must have an occupation that doesn’t cause harm. In modern word there are also many wrong occupations that weren’t existing during the time of the Buddha.

  41. Dear Guru,


    Thank you for this information.  I will study it and continue with right practice.


    Blessing to all

  42. Henrique says:

    Thanks for the article Guru, may the Buddhas bless you

  43. Prince saliu Abdulmumin says:

    Dear guru

    Thank you for this life changing article,I love you teaching.

    May guru live long and have good health for the sake of beings.

    May beings be free from suffering and have enlightenment.

  44. Saliu Abdulmumin says:

    Thank you the holy guru!

  45. Jason says:

    Very good article !!😊🙏

  46. Tena says:

    Dear Guru, Thank you. This article has helped me understand further. I am also thankful for Tantra Sutradaka’s comments. I could not understand why my friend would agree to eat meat, but now I know.

  47. Tantra Mitsharuma (Petra) says:

    Dear Holy Guru

    Thank you for this lesson. Very helpful on my journey towards a better understanding of life

    May Guru be blessed always and be free from harm and suffering.

    May all sentient beings be free from suffering. May we all see an end to the covid-19 soon

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  48. Tantra Pramitdhita (Josh Hacker) says:

    Holy Guru,

    I bow my head before your lotus feet!! Thank you for sharing this article “Letter to Disciples No. 42: Right Practice and Right Livelihood” One of the things you teach us in this discourse is that: “Buddhism pays respect to the livelihood of others (who are not Buddhist). Nonetheless, the Buddha advised the Buddhists, particularly lay people, not to do the following 13 occupations:

    (1) Match-maker

    (2) Emissary

    (3) Soldier

    (4) Slaughterer

    (5)Arms dealer

    (6) Toxic chemical producer

    (7) Fortuneteller

    (8) Astrologer

    (9) Pharmacist

    (10) Slave trader

    (11) Brothel owner

    (12) Alcohol trader

    (13) Animal trader”

    As you mentioned above, when the Buddha advised these it was a very different time indeed. So therefore based on the aspects of time, nationality, and ethnicity, we need to distinguish between right and wrong livelihood by the consciousness or awareness of the doer, not by the job itself.

    I would like to express my deepest gratitude towards you venerable Guru! Your guidance has been very beneficial and I am so pleased to have been introduced to This website and your teachings have been and continue to be life changing. Thank you so much!

    Mat Hue Phap,

    Dharma brother I rejoice in your good deed of translating this article into English for the benefit of all sentient beings. Your translation is very good. May all of your legitimate wishes be granted within the right orbit of Dharma.

    May our Guru and his consort live a long and healthy life for the sake of all sentient beings

    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of Buddha’s nature

    May the global pandemic caused by the Corona virus soon end

    Om Mani Padme Hum


  49. Keanu says:

    Dear guru

    Thanks for the article today. It learn me a lot.

    I be every thankfull for send me every day one of this articles

  50. Thank for all these good reads I have reading they are showing me me I have finely found my home I feel this way in so many ways since I have started to read about buddhism I have never felt so relaxed and so happy thank you so much for being so welcoming 🙏🙏🙏❤❤❤❤🙏🙏🙏

  51. prem lal says:

    Respected guruji Namaskar

    The Article is very important please.Lord Buddha guided us not to accept 13 professions.It is right to follow the instructions of lord Buddha.It is very deep thought to understand this afvice of our Lord Buddha.We should not harm anybody.We should do best efforts to attain enlightenment.

    I bow my head on the lotus feet of Guruji.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  52. John says:

    Dear Guru,

    This was an interesting article about not living by the letter of Buddhist precepts, but by the spirit of them. I sometimes think about my occupation, which serves the wealthy (though I myself am FAR from wealthy) and if making the lives of the wealthy easier is admirable or righteous. I am not a monk, but a lay person trying to learn about Buddhism and how to incorporate it in my life. This article was helpful. Thank you!

  53. Felicia says:

    Dearest Guru, at first when I read this a sense of dread came over me. I was saddened my life’s career was one of the thirteen one should not do. I never felt right as an Army Soldier but my work was as a nurse to help heal those sick and injured. I came across many wonderful people from all sides of the war and reflect on those individuals and wht we were all here. I see now that each of our journeys was different and through ur intentions was the reason our paths crossed, some good, others not so much. Now that I’m removed from that and have set forth on a a different path I can use the practices you teach to heal and move beyond that. So in the end not such a sad tale after all.

    • Nguyên Thành
      Nguyên Thành says:

      Yes, that’s right. We must consider these aspects of time, nationality, and ethnicity to distinguish right and wrong livelihood. I am glad you understand. Please read more!

  54. Dean C. says:

    Thank you Guru,
    This article speaks much to me. As I’ve wondered in the past if i have done the right things. I think that for the most part I have always had the right moral compass in professions and such, even if I didn’t believe that the profession was right. Currently, I am trying to get into a new field, carpentry. I’d rather build instead destroying.

  55. Aaron Kravetz says:

    Wonderful article. No matter what has transpired We should work to share the Dharma. No matter what previous life. No matter what has happened in this life.
    Spreading the Dharma is the primary importance.
    I will continue my humble but sincere efforts.
    Violet, thank you for the article.

  56. Vivek S says:

    Wonderfully written article. It shows the importance of being compassionate in life and following morals in life that would not hurt others or oneself. In this world peace of mind is the most important thing. Practicing Dharma is the key to attain this peace of mind.
    Let the Guru live long and all the sentinel beings have the peacefulness and calmness attained by Buddha.

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