Questions re: right livelihood - samma ajivo

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
maranadhammomhi
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Questions re: right livelihood - samma ajivo

Postby maranadhammomhi » Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:43 am

I am a 20 year old who has been a Buddhist for 3 years. I am for the first time since developing a serious practice looking for a job. In doing so I naturally have some concerns about the ethical quality of such a job, especially as relates to right livelihood. I am aware of the following definition of right livelihood for laypeople:

"A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison."

— AN 5.177


My primary concern here is regarding "business in meat". I myself am vegan; ideally I would prefer to not work anywhere that serves or sells animal products of any kind. But I live in San Francisco, a large city with a high cost of living, and jobs which both pay well and conform to these ethical standards are hard to find. For that reason I am willing to forsake the demands of strict veganism, but I am not willing to breach right livelihood. Therefore I am curious as to what exactly constitutes business in meat - does this include working as a server in a business which serves meat, or a delivery person who brings meat from one place to another? I have been working for postmates, a 3rd party delivery app, and while I am neither selling nor buying meat, in doing so I am a middleman who helps customers purchase meat. There is also a cafe just a couple blocks from my apartment which I would very much like to work at but they serve meat.

So essentially my question is does this category of wrong livelihood only apply to those who own businesses in meat or does it include anyone who works for such businesses? I would like to assume the strictest interpretation possible, I don't want to be overly lenient & assume I am exempted if that may not be the case.

Thank you.
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Dhammanando
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Re: Questions re: right livelihood - samma ajivo

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:02 am

maranadhammomhi wrote:Therefore I am curious as to what exactly constitutes business in meat


Maṃsavaṇijjā refers to the trade of butchery, but in the older rather than the more recent sense of the word. In the older usage a butcher was one whose trade was slaughtering tame animals and selling their flesh. Nowadays most people called "butchers" (at least in the industrialized countries) are really only meat traders who don't actually kill the animals whose flesh they sell. This occupation would not be included in the term maṃsavaṇijjā.

dhammarelax
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Re: Questions re: right livelihood - samma ajivo

Postby dhammarelax » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:57 am

Dhammanando wrote:
maranadhammomhi wrote:Therefore I am curious as to what exactly constitutes business in meat


Maṃsavaṇijjā refers to the trade of butchery, but in the older rather than the more recent sense of the word. In the older usage a butcher was one whose trade was slaughtering tame animals and selling their flesh. Nowadays most people called "butchers" (at least in the industrialized countries) are really only meat traders who don't actually kill the animals whose flesh they sell. This occupation would not be included in the term maṃsavaṇijjā.


What about gambling? Is is allowed to work in a casino? Or an online gambling site?

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Dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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Dhammanando
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Re: Questions re: right livelihood - samma ajivo

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:52 pm

dhammarelax wrote:What about gambling? Is is allowed to work in a casino? Or an online gambling site?


It wouldn't be included under wrong livelihood unless it was of a kind that involved cheating the patrons.


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