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right livelihood & big city life dilemma...

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i have a rather silly & entwined question about keeping my moral code...

today, i have been asked to design an online shopping website for a well known fast food chain. one that treats chickens like sh..t.

i design. i make my living by selling my design skills. on the other hand i don't feel comfortable working for a company that i dislike & never buy anything from.

does that break my sila?

i mean, i have lots of clients and every single one of them has negative effects on mankind one way or another... small or big... none of them is clean. they are large corporations. we know about them.

but if i choose not to work with them, how can i pay my rent, or my bills?

so this dilemma has always been bothering me.

any opinions?

RE: right livelihood & big city life dilemma...
Answer
4/12/14 7:54 PM as a reply to Ufuk C..
Are you vegetarian? If it were me I would listen to my inner vision.. I don't believe in a moral code other than what is dictated by my conscious, which has many elements and is subject to flux.

So I could just as easily tell/advise you to quit your job than to go along with your client. I had a job once. Working as a cashier was so traumatizing on my system that body started splitting open from the inside. It scared me so bad I eventually had to spend three weeks in the mental hospital.
There are others who manage this type of thing much better, so if you have doubts I'd say there are always lessons to be learned. Some are just nicer than others.

RE: right livelihood & big city life dilemma...
Answer
4/13/14 7:08 AM as a reply to Ufuk C..
Utku C.:

does that break my sila?


I think the answer to this is in your question. Since you don't feel comfortable working for these companies, it's having a negative effect on your mind. It's going against what you personally think is right and good. Regardless of what the official rules of sila might be, this is what's going on for you. (Also: see the teaching on Right Livelihood in the Eightfold Path.) Note that a primary purpose of sila is to protect your mental state.

but if i choose not to work with them, how can i pay my rent, or my bills?


Yeah, tough question. Well, obviously, you'd have to find another employer or line of work. Which might be difficult and take a lot of time.

For the sake of your inner peace, I think your mind will be happier as soon as you form an intention to change the situation and start taking concrete steps to do that, like looking at job listings and networking. At that point your mind will think: "Ok, this may take a while, but I'm doing everything I can." As long as you keep your intention and keep taking steps to try to find a more suitable position, I think your mind will be satisfied.

Best of luck.

RE: right livelihood & big city life dilemma...
Answer
4/13/14 5:05 PM as a reply to Ufuk C..
Utku C.:
i have a rather silly & entwined question about keeping my moral code...

today, i have been asked to design an online shopping website for a well known fast food chain. one that treats chickens like sh..t.

i design. i make my living by selling my design skills. on the other hand i don't feel comfortable working for a company that i dislike & never buy anything from.

does that break my sila?


Hm. Which list of precepts are you training to keep?

The big five - not killing, not stealing, not lying, not raping, and not drinking?

Training in these results in a non-violent lifestyle.

Is your web-shop-design job violent in nature?

i mean, i have lots of clients and every single one of them has negative effects on mankind one way or another... small or big... none of them is clean. they are large corporations. we know about them.

but if i choose not to work with them, how can i pay my rent, or my bills?

so this dilemma has always been bothering me.


Training sila has this effect of rubbing one's nose in all the dirty secrets, whether we consider them our own or someone else's.

It also shows the limits of what we can do.

But don't let the fact that there's always a dirty secret, that it is not possible to live a completely blameless life, keep you from doing what is in your power right now. I don't think a single web developer has the power to change a corporation's business plan. So don't feel bad because you can't single-handedly stop what this corporation is doing.

Best to focus on what one can change. I can abstain from eating meat produced under cruel circumstances (or from eating meat at all, if I'm comfortable living that way - after all, my own body is a living being, too, and deserves being treated well). So that's less demand for such products. I can be a reference for other people who might consider doing the same. That's not bad at all.

I would not like to earn my money killing, or selling weapons or drugs. If I can earn it in non-violent ways, that's not bad at all, either. The life of a web-developer isn't particularly violent, judging from those web-developers I know.

If you are into ancient texts, here is a nice selection on the subject of "right livelihood": Right Livelihood: samma ajivo

Cheers,
Florian

RE: right livelihood & big city life dilemma...
Answer
4/13/14 11:28 PM as a reply to Ufuk C..
It's not possible to live a completely moral life, in the way that you wish. If you knew that stepping on microbes killed them, would you stop walking? If you knew drinking medicine would kill a tapeworm in your body, would you not do it?

Morality is a trap, in the sense that it conduces to wandering on. You won't reach Awakening by worrying about whether or not your meat is fair trade, or whether or not your electricity is being generated in a fair way.

The Niganthas fell into this trap.

Cut the root.

And don't let it grow back.

RE: right livelihood & big city life dilemma...
Answer
4/14/14 3:49 AM as a reply to Florian.
Florian Weps:

Hm. Which list of precepts are you training to keep?

The big five - not killing, not stealing, not lying, not raping, and not drinking?


Yep, the big5 (with occasional leak on drinking/smoking...)

Florian Weps:

Best to focus on what one can change. I can abstain from eating meat produced under cruel circumstances (or from eating meat at all, if I'm comfortable living that way - after all, my own body is a living being, too, and deserves being treated well). So that's less demand for such products. I can be a reference for other people who might consider doing the same. That's not bad at all.


they want to hire me because they know i can make a kick ass design that may increase their online sales, which will result in more demand for mass produced meat...

"if i don't do it, someone else will and they will get the money" is a common reaction to these entangled situations, but does that way of thinking lead to any beneficial results?

i read the suttas a bit, but imho, the ancient texts reflect their era when people were not living in such complex communities. you simply don't sell intoxicants and you keep your sila clean. these days you can work as a simple barista in starbucks and you are a part of an organisation that is destroying the amazons. it might sound a bit on the extreme, but it depends where you are in the food chain.

so, i guess you're all right. it's about introspective. deciding how deep you want to be on that spiral...