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Saturday, April 15, 2006

The third aspect of the limb of Sila, and the fifth branch of the Eightfold Path is Right Livelihood. With the awareness of globalism, this has become a truly challenging practice. Remember, we are not looking for some ideal perfection. We use these trainings in order to lessen the harm we cause in the world, and to ease the suffering that we can.

The following is the Eleventh Mindfulness Training of the Tiep Hein Order (The Order of Interbeing) established by Thich Nhat Hanh in the midst of the Vietnam War, and of which I am a Lay Brother:

"Aware that great violence and injustice have been done to our environment and society, we are committed not to live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature.
We will do our best to select a livelihood that helps realize our ideal of understanding and compassion.
Aware of globel economic, political and social realities, we will behave responsibly as consumers and as citizens, not investing in companies that deprive others of their chance to live."


When I became seriously involved in Ayurveda, I was still working in a restaurant that was not serving the healthiest food. The cognitive dissonance between what I was learning from Ayurveda and Meditation, and what I was serving to people became so great that I gave up the restaurant job. To do so I had to face insecurity and fear, but this is why we practice, isn't it?

For some, the proper response is not to change jobs, but to learn ways to make the job they are doing less harmful, or to "balance" the harm they create in their livelihood in some other way (volunteerism etc). I am not saying one way is the way. I am asking what you think.

As well, when we contemplate Right Livlihood, we are asked to consider how we spend our "leisure time." Is spending an average of 6 to 8 hours a night (the US average) watching television the best way to spend our time? Are we sure that when we are practicing asana or even sitting meditation, we are practicing in the spirit of Yoga? These are the kind of questions that we need to ask ourselves as we practice this pathless path. And we -- each and everyone of us -- are the only ones who know the answers for ourselves.

May you be well.
frank jude

.: posted by Poep Sa Frank Jude 1:09 PM


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