Buddhist related careers

I’m looking for a new career in life and would like some advice on which direction I should go that would be fulfilling to my Dhamma practice. I know professions that heal are always beneficial and I do Plumbing now which is also beneficial but I have a tough time fitting in and socializing with the mechanical/engineering minded types. Would anyone disagree with psychic work such as a paid Empath or an Acupunturist who uses the profession to bless people. How about teaching Yoga with Buddhist principles. Also is there a need for paid Pali translators/deciphering/uncovering old texts? I’m at odds with where to go in this big world. Any advice would help :confused:


There’s nothing wrong with working in plumbing. It is good honest work and people need it. Don’t worry about not fitting in with people or use it as a method of trying to connect and understand people who are different. Try volunteering your services to monasteries! I know most monasteries come up against a need for a plumber.

If you mean “psychic” as in reading peoples minds, looking at crystal balls, “energy healing”, or other such activity which you would be paid for, you would do well to stay away from that since it is wrong livelihood and full of charlatans. :confused:


When I read this sentence, the first thought that came to my mind was, “Flight Attendant.” It’s not an easy job to get (lots of people are attracted to the perks), the pay is not terribly great, it requires extensive training, and the hours can be challenging. On the other hand, providing a needed service to people can be very gratifying and would seemingly engage many of the skills one brings to a contemplative Buddhist practice (effort, concentration, confidence, wisdom, etc.). Depending on the airline, it also provides an opportunity to visit different parts of the world and explore how people live in a variety of cultures.


I thought that psychic work was wrong livelihood, but I wasn’t sure. Thanks for clarification. I do give dana quite a bit to monasteries, family, etc through plumbing and it is fulfilling in a material way. One thing I admire in mentoring type professions, even if they’re telling the person to let go of their deceased relatives as a psychic(maybe I’m giving them more credit than they deserve) or as a therapist listening carefully to a patient is that there’s a more wisdom being able to express itself from the provider’s point of view. Being able to express the wisdom of Dhamma is more of where I’m coming from. Also from an entertainment point of view by being a fantasy writer who writes about buddhist cosmology and the lessons learned throughout the realms I think would add amazing color to people’s psychology. What do you think?

The mechanical/engineering types use their brains too much and their bodies suffer. Learn bodywork (e.g., Rolfing, Feldenkrais, etc.) and we will turn to butter in your hands. :smiley:

I was looking for a sutta on SuttaCentral when I saw this post in passing. I am replying because OP wrote, “any advice would help.”

I’m a mid-career changer, currently trying to switch career to work as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I chose it because I believed that it would give me peace of mind; I thought it was a Right Livelihood (wholesome, honest money without killing/harming/hurting; lying/deceiving/flattering; stealing/robbing/exploiting; sexual exploits/temptations, and socializing through wine-and-dine). Although I have spent years and hundreds of thousand dollars making this career transition (currently in my last year of graduate school in the United States), I am not fully confident that I will find the peace of mind I crave-- the Right Livelihood – through working as a certified, licensed speech pathologist.

I’ve been taking some yoga classes as an amateur and I thought you had a good idea there when you wrote about working as a yoga teacher who lives his/her life expounding and living Buddhist teachings. Your post made me think of Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra. I am under the impression that yoga for both the body and the mind will help you find the career satisfaction you crave. If you work as an independent yoga teacher and own your own yoga studio, you won’t have to deal with your colleagues. Nonetheless, you’d still have to deal with people: your clients/students. I know for sure that I cannot work as a yoga teacher because I lack samādhikkhandha and I don’t want to be wrongfully accused by people of sexual crimes I did not commit.

Ultimately, I am under the impression that the best form of Right Livelihood for me might be to live out the rest of my life as an ordained Buddhist monk. (No money though.)

So there you go. Sorry for the novella. Just my two cents’ worth. Not really advice, I guess.

P.S. TBH, I found it quite interesting to read that you want to switch career because of the personality types of your plumbing colleagues. I had thought you wanted to stop working as a plumber because you were done with the stench of dirty water and having your skin soaked in dirty water or because plumbing had become too taxing for the aging body. At the risk of sending you on a wild goose chase, I am mentioning the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I was kinda like you. I thought that speech pathologists would have personalities less repulsive to me. The speech pathologists I observed and shadowed before I fully committed on the career transition had personalities that I enjoy being around with but since I started grad school and working in practicums, I realize that the majority of the people have personalities that are opposite to what I value. For a helping, social profession, speech pathologists (in training) can be some of the coldest, unkind, insensitive people. Some can even be grossly unfair and mean.

P.P.S.: If you have access to a library or Amazon.com, maybe you’d like to get your hands on these two books: 1) The Pathfinder by Rockport Institute and 2) What Color is Your Parachute. FYI: I worked through every page of The Pathfinder diligently, but here I still am, miserable about my career choice (feels like I just jumped from one murky, stinky sinkhole to another sinkhole – and wasting lots of time and money and energy, not to mention suffering lots along the way). I did not complete working through “What Color is Your Parachute though.” Maybe you would like to start with “What Color is Your Parachute” because it is updated annually. Hint: you can’t just read these two books passively; you’ve got to really go out there and work through them like a work-out program. They are very hands-on. It will take lots of time and effort (and money), but don’t let these deter you, if you can afford them (I don’t know what commitments/responsibilities you have in life), unless you want to continue suffering in your current situation or you think your current situation will change for the better.

P.P.S. Shakyamuni Buddha was right. Existence is suffering. I will no doubt suffer no matter what I work as. Heck, I bet I would have my own set of problems and sufferings even if I do eventually make it to die as an ordained Buddhist monk in my monastic robes.


Just my 2 bits, but I would stay a plumber! :slight_smile: The other jobs you mention will be hard to maintain a living in and I don’t think are necessarily better. If you are a good plumber stick with it.


Acupuncturist might be an avenue worth looking into. You have an interest in understanding systems, and problem-solving/diagnostic skills. It would require a big outlay of money and time for the training, but acupuncture is a fascinating field.
Best of luck with whatever you choose to do. :smiley:

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This occurs to me: Perhaps training/career as a librarian? You could use some of the skills from your practice such as wisdom and concentration. Librarians these days have the opportunity to specialize (especially if they work in a research university library), so part of your training could involve researching Pali texts and resources. Just an idea.


How about creating a niche in plumbing; you are in demand and you don’t have to compromise your values. It’s less expensive. People like to have an ethical and friendly person in their houses. If you can get lots of positive feedback and you can put it up on your website.