The Buddha thought the way we make our livelihood so important that it is number five in his noble eightfold path; the non-linear series of steps that one needs to take in order to get enlightened.
Our Dharma study group discussed ‘perfect livelihood’ at our most recent Sunday morning study and I was challenged by just how fundamental this truth is. It gets right to the core of our being in the sense that so much of our precious live’s time and energy is spent engaging in it. Sangharakshita (the founder of the order I belong to) makes the point that for most of us by far the greatest portion of our lives will be spent working in our livelihoods.
And if this is the case then it follows that what we do in order to make a living is likely to have both a very formative and ongoing influence on us. Buddhist doctrine says that all livelihoods are not equal and we should make effort to work in ethical pursuits and ones that do not run us so ragged that there is little time and energy left to grow and develop as spiritual beings.
Of course the ideal is to be able to set up a vocation: a livelihood that is so integrated with one’s growth and development that there is no distinction between work and play:
“You enjoy your work so much, and are so immersed in it, that you do not mind if you spend the whole of your waking life doing it”
The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path Sangharakshita
For most of us this will mean a careful analysis of your personal situation and a gradual movement toward such a scenario ….
And meditation can be a very potent way to work with the complexity and habits of one’s life; to find ‘the still point in the turning world’ as someone has once said.
I hope you can join us for meditation this week:
Thursday 7 – 8.30 pm and Sunday 8 – 8.50 am
Noel will be leading the sit this Thursday and the practice will be The Mindfulness of Breathing