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Right Livelihood

Episode No. 41

Right livelihood is a well-known teaching about ethics and earning a living from the Shakyamuni Buddha. Nowadays, people in the U.S. ask “What should I do?” with a desperation that partly derives from our compulsion to achieve. Shambhavi dives deeply into the specific meanings of right livelihood for our times. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi.


Today I want to talk about right livelihood. Right livelihood is about what should we do. Most of us have to earn money to live. How can we make decisions about what to do? This is a question that I get very often when people want some kind of personal advice. There are lots of different levels from which people ask: “What should I do for a living?” Sometimes they are asking for direction. Other times, unfortunately, they are asking what would be the absolute greatest thing for me to do: the one thing I was brought here and born here to do. That is an approach to the question that leads to suffering for sure. And it’s part of our titan culture. In my book, there is no mandate that we all have to be great at something, or that we all came with our one special gift, and if we don’t find that our life is a failure. These are all pressures that get put on us by our society that is so focused on rising above others in some way or another.