Right livelihood

Right livelihood is a factor on the noble eightfold path.


  • 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.
  • Selling poison, selling weapons, selling living beings, selling alcohol, selling meat, and, without having inspected (first), pounding sesame and mustard seed (and so on) is wrong livelihood, abstaining from it is right livelihood.
    • Arthaviniścaya Sūtra, as translated by Bhikkhu Ānandajoti (2016)
  • Herein, monastics, right livelihood is what?
    A monastic is (1) scheming, (2) ingratiating, (3) hinting, (4) extorting, and (5) longing for gain upon gain.
  1. Herein scheming is what?
    A monastic, having seen a benefactor, after crossing his legs, sits down in an empty place along the path: (thinking:) There will be gain and respect for me (if they think:) This meditating monastic is an Arhat.
    This and so forth is said to be scheming.
  2. Herein ingratiation is what?
    Here a monk in order to get gains and respect (says): You are my mother, you are my father, you are my sister, you are my daughter, and speaks these and other loving words.
    This and so forth is said to be ingratiation.
  3. Herein hinting is what?
    A monastic, having eaten his almsfood, repeatedly says: Almsfood like this is not found in other devotees’ houses. If spoken with a mind free from (wanting) gains or respect, it is not a fault.
    This is said to be hinting.
  4. Herein extorting is what?
    A monastic, who does not receive almsfood at a house, desiring that it be given, says this in that place: Those who don’t give go to the underworld, you are certainly one of those who don’t give, and will reappear in the underworld. Out of fear and fright of the underworld they present almsfood, and he receives and enjoys it.
    This is said to be extorting.
  5. Herein longing for gain through gain is what?
    A monastic, from his own wealth purchases beautiful robes and shows them to devotees (saying): We receive such woven garments. They, being shamed, present such garments and he enjoys them.
    This, monastics, is said to be longing for gain through gain.
    This is the monastics’ wrong livelihood, [refraining from it is called right livelihood].
  • Arthaviniścaya Sūtra, as translated by Bhikkhu Ānandajoti (2016)

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