How to create a sane world: a Buddhist View (part 5)

September 7, 2020   |   10 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 6:35

Hello there, I hope you are well and that your loved ones are, too. As we make our way through this incredibly intense time. I’m sharing with you some thoughts on the noble eightfold path, the eight actions we can take to liberate ourselves and others from suffering. To recap, what we have covered so far is:

Right View

Right Intention

Right Speech

Right Action

And this week, Right Livelihood. I’m always interested to hear your thoughts during this time of uncertainty, anger, and possibility.

Love, Susan

P.S. A reminder: when the pandemic began in the US, the Open Heart Project began offering free daily meditation gatherings. They have proven to be a really useful way to fit meditation into your day, connect with fellow practitioners, and receive regular reminders that you are not alone. Sittings happen at 9a ET and 6p ET, Monday-Friday. Each 30-minute gathering is lead by an experienced meditation teacher who is qualified to guide you in the exact practice we do in these emails. Each meditation is 20 minutes long, followed by a 10-minute discussion.


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  • Posted by:  Claudia St. Peter

    Thank you Susan, for today’s talk on right livelihood. I am about to go off to my job, on Labor Day, one that I struggle with every day. It is not glamorous, it is hard physically and I rarely feel that what I do is appreciated. But I am always trying to bring a sense of dignity to work and attempt to not gossip and also to speak up for justice for the group I am in. But I fail constantly. This practice helps tremendously.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank goodness we have our practice to rely on! <3 S

  • Posted by:  Kevin J Waters

    Good Susan ! It’s a Pleasure to be listening, especially in these times, For me Susan, &, what I’ve been taught, “Right Livelihood” is “Ending DUKKHA, Which actually defines the entire Spiritual Path, but a common translation is to eliminate Suffering! This doesn’t work to well in the broadest of Buddhist Teachings, because there are so many feelings that cross over, or can actually change. So in my learned way, Right Livelihood, is based on understanding the / my perception of the nature of Change …. suffering in the Mind, Feelings of Fear, Jealousy, Anger Anxiety, a Long List. Some Teachers call this a list of “Afflictions” …… Until I Understood This I was always getting Lost ! What ever Nature gives to Arising Will Also Pass Away …… For a Time to Simple to Comprehend …. The Western Term …. “The Only Thing Constant Is Change” I more than Likely made this Comment Confusing in it’s Self !! People like You Call This A Practice For That Very Reason. Peace be With You Susan!!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      And with you, Kevin.

  • Posted by:  Sharon Greene

    Thanks, Susan, for this helpful talk on Right Livelihood. I’ve forwarded it to a friend on the path who’s in a misogynistic and politically hostile work environment. I think she’ll appreciate your discussion. As for myself, I was unaccountably blessed to work in the non-profit sector, where I knew for a fact that my efforts contributed to the greater good. Not everyone is that fortunate. Although some of us may be a “practitioner of one” in a less than hospitable work environment, this step on the path encourages us to bring our own sense of dignity and value to whatever we do. Thanks, Susan, as always, for guiding us to a deeper understanding.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      You are so welcome. May you and your friend be well! xo S

  • Posted by:  Sandra Stefan

    Covid has forced me into retirement I then took a job with the census, something I believe in, but was given the job of enumerator. It was very difficult job during a pandemic not to mention it was 107 degrees out! Anyhow 2 day’s in I decided this job brought no joy. Only misery. I resigned. Would you say that is right livelihood ?

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Whatever you’d call it, it sounds like you made the right decision! <3 S

  • Posted by:  Sue May

    I am so grateful that there can be a shift in the meaning of “livelihood,” from a vocation to any action or interaction that one does/has. I’ve been retired (from social work) for six years, and have been volunteering in schools and working part time as a naturalist. In the Covid world, neither of these is possible, so my income source is still remote (pensions and Social Security) but there is no way that I have found meaningful to “better the world.” Here, however, I can see that being a source of kindness, decency and equanimity in anything I do can be of benefit – even a masked-and-distanced trip to the store or greeting others on the trail. Somehow, I feel relieved and heartened.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Me too! As always, very glad we are practicing this together. xo S

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