How do you deal with irrational fear?

I would like to ask Ajahn Brahmali / Venerables a question.

This problem has crippled me for quite some time. I hope I can become my original self again and do what I want to do. I used to enjoy creating or experimenting with a variety of foods, creating new recipes. I enjoyed cooking or baking. My current occupation has caused me a lot of distress, I think it’s a good idea if I can start a business in foods and beverages. Fried foods increase the risk of cancer, chocolate drinks increase the risk of diabetes and so on. I am afraid the foods or beverages I sell cause people to become diabetic, cancerous, hypertensive or suffer from other diseases or illnesses. I know the fear is irrational but how can I deal with it? Thanks.

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Right livelihood guideline would suggest you go for vegan restaurant, with no alcoholic beverages. That way also, the customers at your place would be healthier. Go for healthy vegan diet, with less or none fried food. There’s a market for that. You can reduce salt, sugar etc in the food, specially made to be healthy.

Eat too much, people can get sick; not eat, people will die. So well, you’re not in the business of stuffing people with too much food. And people in general knows or should know their own moderation in food. It’s not your responsibility to moderate their food intake.

Fear is aversion towards a certain future. Just don’t let your mind wander in to the future. Practise mindfulness, back to the present moment. Fear itself is often worse than whatever you fear. Fear itself makes it more likely for you to make mistakes to actualize the unwanted future. So relax, see that fear doesn’t help. And just do your best to make healthy vegan food.


Just keep in mind the Middle Way with everything. Serve others with respect and apply what is needed per the individual like a good doctor, like the Buddha. Remember how Buddha found the Middle Way after Sujata offered Him milk and rice, instead of a deep ascetic, He turned openhearted preacher of the Middle Way and the Law of the Dhamma.


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Thanks venerable for your reply. So when Buddhists want to do business in food and beverages they should choose nothing but vegan or vegetarian food. Not many choices, the competition can be quite tight and saturated. The market is also quite small.

Business in meat means having raised pig or chicken, they kill them for their meat. If someone opens a non vegetarian restaurant and only buy whatever meat is available on the shelves and never ask the butcher to kill anything, I believe this is still in accordance with right livelihood.

Right livelihood is just no trading in meat.

Since buying doesn’t earn money for oneself, trading means selling.

So to me, it doesn’t matter how one gets the meat. As long as one sells meat, that’s wrong livelihood.

There’s no bad kamma for buying meat of the supermarket, but if say a person buys too much meat, then decides to sell to neighbors, that particular instance, i would label as wrong livelihood.

As long as whatever that allows you to survive, earn money is build upon needing these animals to die.

Although lab grown meat is considered as ethical, it could be debatable if the wording would also include that.

Veganism is a fast growing movement. Join in. You will be enabling the people around that area the ease of transitioning into vegan lifestyle easier. Our future needs this too, for the reduction of global warming.

You should research more on vegan recipe. Join r/vegan and ask for tips on opening a vegan restaurant. There’s so many. And much more variety as there’s also attempts to make plant based meat. So basically anything meat can do, vegan meal can do and more. Cause you cannot use meat to simulate vegetable taste.


Irrational fear is the fourth hindrance, restlessness and scruples/anxiety, and therefore needs to be overcome:

“He cleanses his mind of restlessness and anxiety.”—AN 9.40

There are specific measures for doing so:

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Ajahn Brahmali probably won’t see your question unless you tag him like this, @Brahmali. The same with most of the venerables.


With much Metta, have you checked with a mental health professional? Sometimes irrational fear can be rooted in trauma. There are more effective approaches to dealing with trauma than Buddhism. And there are some great tools for dealing with anxiety.

If you are interested in discussing, please feel free to DM me. I’m not a counsellor, but I work for an organization that delivers mental health services. So I can you at least a bit of an overview of what’s out there.

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