SuttaCentral

"Right Livelihood" Idea

I am thinking to start a for-profit/not-for-profit hybrid organization at some point in the distant future.

I would like for the sole foundation and head of the organization to be the “Dhamma-Vinaya.”

Beyond this “non-negotiable,” I wish to remain open-minded regarding how the organization evolves over time, perhaps based on the interests and skills of those who join the organization.

Would anyone be interested in discussing to assess whether joining this potential organization might be a suitable fit for everyone involved based on whether our interests and skills align or complement each other?

And if it does, perhaps brainstorming ideas regarding how to most suitably proceed from here on forward?

:slightly_smiling_face: Thank you in advance for considering. :pray:

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I would like to see some some Buddhist old-folks homes. Can you do that?

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Can you describe what you have in mind regarding this?

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It would probably good to link these 2 topics :slight_smile:

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It is a great aspiration to want to work furthering the Dhamma.
May you be successful, in what ever shape or form it comes to be :pray: :slightly_smiling_face:

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Old folks homes run by Buddhists, for Buddhists?
All dozing off in the meditations… :laughing:

Such a hybrid might be like running a three-legged race with two people each having one leg bound together. How would conflicts over money be resolved? Profit organizations collect while non-profits distribute.

Can you delete that thread?
I am planning to close down that organization and re-open another one at a later date.
The overall idea is still similar (but evolving), so I copied and pasted the OP and comments from that thread below:

Compete how and for what purpose?

Well not really… The thread has been active, with multiple posts. The only time we’d delete a thread is pretty much soon after it is posted and before others have made comments or engaged.

This is one of the reasons why we keep emphasising that this site archives topics, and as such to be careful about what one writes, knowing that it will stand in the future.

But we can ‘lock’ the thread, so it gets no more responses, and as such will sink down the list, unless someone is specifically looking for it through search. Let me know if this is what you’d like :slight_smile:

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Compete against organizations to the extent that they undertake activities contrary to the Dhamma-Vinaya by potentially (if it is actually suitable to do so) undertaking same or similar activities in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya.

I have found that criticizing the mistakes of others is often significantly easier than actually putting the effort oneself to do the right thing in the right way.

The purpose of doing so would be to guard against futilely criticizing and speaking badly about the way things may be done currently (“the system is xyz…”) and instead trying to demonstrate how they can be done more suitably in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya, which may not or may persuade others - but either way, one tries to live one’s own life in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya professionally or otherwise, inspiring those who are receptive to follow suit.

It also seems like a more suitable alternative than retaliation and punishment - instead of punishing the wrong-doings of others, simply try to lead the way by actually trying to do it in the right way - that’s where the challenge (fun) begins. Sadness follows those who live contrary to the Dhamma-Vinaya and happiness follows those who live in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya…in due time.

Thank you for explaining. Yes, please. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thank you in advance. :pray:

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No Problem :slight_smile:

I find this a bit concerning. Competition inclines towards arguing. A Dhamma-Vinaya organization should follow the Dhamma, not compete with the world.

SN22.94:1.2: “Mendicants, I don’t argue with the world; it’s the world that argues with me. When your speech is in line with the teaching you don’t argue with anyone in the world.

For example, I am currently creating a device to help blind people move about without support canes. If someone chooses to make a cheap knockoff and sell that to everybody, I will not argue. I will wish them well. I will not compete. I will not patent. I will work with non-Buddhist organizations.

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In one discourse, the Buddha says:

“If a tamable person doesn’t submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild-and-harsh training, then I kill him, Kesi.”

Kesi expressed his concern:

“But it’s not proper for the Blessed One to take life! And yet the Blessed One just said, ‘I kill him, Kesi.’”

The Buddha clarifies:

“It is true, Kesi, that it’s not proper for a Tathagata to take life.
But if a tamable person doesn’t submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild-and-harsh training, then the Tathagata doesn’t regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing.
His knowledgeable fellows in the holy life don’t regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing.
This is what it means to be totally destroyed in the Dhamma-and-Vinaya, when the Tathagata doesn’t regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing, and one’s knowledgeable fellows in the holy life don’t regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing.”

Similarly, I wish to “compete” against other individuals, groups, and organizations - in whatever way it would be in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya to do so. Perhaps, competing with others in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya could look precisely how you described it when you said “If someone chooses to make a cheap knockoff and sell that to everybody…”

In fact, I would like to go further and compete with any and all harmful and unbeneficial actions of other organizations by doing in better similar to the manner described in the discourse above.

Is patenting contrary to the Dhamma-Vinaya?
It seems contrary to socialism and communism.
But Buddhism seems to acknowledge the existence of private property - if there were no such thing as private property, there would be no such thing as stealing.
Proper patenting seems to be a mechanism by which intellectual property is protected.
Do you sense any dangers of patenting? I am curious for my own understanding.

I agree. :pray:

Whether an organization calls themselves nonBuddhist or Buddhist seems irrelevant in terms of collaboration.

But the reason that I do find it important to prioritize collaboration with those organizations to the extent that they try to accord with and adhere to the Dhamma-Vinaya as their standard and criterion is due to previous dukkha that I have experienced trying to associate with those who are unsuitable to associate with.

The Buddha most closely associated with the Sangha the most: the female and male monastics primarily, the female and male laypeople secondarily, and only after that, the female and male “outsiders.” By his example, he doesn’t discriminate (based on external factors such as caste, gender, status, etc.) but he definitely does seem to discern who is worthy of associating with.

Associating with the foolish, one lives unhappily.
Associating with the wise, one lives happily.

Since I do not wish to live unhappily, I wish to carefully choose the individuals, groups, and organizations that I try to associate with. And I think an organization that is truly based on the Dhamma-Vinaya would do so as well based on impersonal principle and by policy.

Many successful secular organizations already use some sort of standard of (secular) ethics to decide who they would associate with and often publicly distance (disassociate) themselves from organizations, groups, or individuals that they perceive to be harmful, unethical, unlawful, etc. to protect their organization.

This would be similar, except the standard and criterion in the case of this particular potential organization would explicitly and implicitly be the Dhamma-Vinaya exclusively or at least primarily.

In short:
Whether an individual, group, or organization calls themselves Buddhist or not does not matter.
The degree to which individuals, groups, or organizations try to not act contrary to and act in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya would be the extent to which the organization would try to associate with them.

I wish you much success in your efforts to provide the SightSabre device to help the visually impaired! :pray::slightly_smiling_face:

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AN4.111:4.1: “Sir, what do you do with a person in training who doesn’t follow these forms of training?”
“In that case, Kesi, I kill them."

Kesi and the Buddha were discussing monks in training rather than everybody in general. To have gone forth and then reject the teaching is spiritual suicide. The Buddha doesn’t argue or compete–he simply turns away having taught all he can and that is death to one who has gone forth.

Laity can just keep dying and coming back forever. Gautama Buddha himself in a prior life rejected Kassapa Buddha before he eventually went forth. He went forth because his preceptor had sharply grabbed his freshly washed head of hair while admonish-encouraging him. So, yes, there are circumstances for “kicking another’s butt”, however, they’re a bit narrow. In this case, it was in the context of a teacher/student relationship rather than a peer relationship with others.

Patents give rise to patent trolls and that is one drawback. Another drawback is they promote the pursuit of gain for gain as well as dissension.

The value of patents is also somewhat questionable. I personally have patents that are of no use except to lawyers.

In Your Quote the Buddha is talking specifically about people who have the potential to progress in learning the Dhamma, not the general population:

But if a tamable person doesn’t submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild-and-harsh training, then the Tathagata doesn’t regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing.

Thank you for pointing that out.
How would it be different for the general population?
If the general population is unreceptive, doesn’t he simply “kill them” as well? Or does he apply a different standard to those who are not monastics, yet are unreceptive?
If anything, I thought he might “kill them” even more readily, because they may simply not be as invested as and more fickle than monastics who have made a commitment to the monastic life?

I shall consider these perspectives and modify the one that I’m holding accordingly.
But my underlying point still holds: “competition” could be like “killing” or “destroying” or “annihilating” or any number of “bad deeds” that the Buddha metaphorically accepted and admitted that he does and endorses - i.e. redefine what it means to “compete” in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya.

That being said, it will likely require the development of some level of understanding to figure out just how this might look.

I think you are referring to the discourse with Ghaṭīkāra.
Ghaṭīkāra seems like he was not an ordained monastic and thus could not have been Jotipāla’s (who Siddhartha was in that previous life) preceptor or teacher.

Then Jotipāla said to Ghatīkāra, ‘Dear Ghaṭīkāra, you have heard this teaching, so why don’t you go forth from the lay life to homelessness?’

‘Don’t you know, dear Jotipāla, that I look after my blind old parents?’

‘Well then, dear Ghaṭīkāra, I shall go forth from the lay life to homelessness.’

Furthermore, it seems not only not a teacher-student relationship, but also not even a peer relationship, since it seems like Jotipāla did not even consider Ghaṭīkāra to be his peer (socially):

Then Jotipāla thought, ‘It’s incredible, it’s amazing, how this potter Ghaṭikāra, though born in a lower caste, should presume to grab me by the hair of my freshly-washed head! This must be no ordinary matter.’

It seems to me that Ghaṭīkāra was neither his teacher nor even his peer (socially), and Jotipāla was struck by how someone who was his “inferior” could go to such extremes to persuade him to go see the Buddha.

What do you mean “pursuit of gain for gain”?

How do patents promote dissension?
If anything, I was under the impression that they mitigate dissension because it protects intellectual property, the same way laws against stealing seem to aim at mitigating dispute over tangible property.

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Does anyone have ideas regarding how to earn their living based on and in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya?

They are not in training. As Karl says,

People who go forth have made a commitment to follow the path because they have reached a point of readiness to do so. The Buddha holds them to a higher standard than he does ‘ordinary’ people, so he judges them more strictly.

We would also want to know whether the English word used in the translation is being used in its literal sense of ‘executing/murder’ or its poetic sense of ‘cut them out of my awareness’ ‘have no further contact with’. It would be necessary to consult a Pali scholar about the basic meaning of the Pali word ‘kill’ is used to translate and (importantly) how the context it is used in effects its meaning.

I see. So someone who is unreceptive is as monastic is held to a higher standard and thus might be “killed” for something that a layperson is not “killed” for? That seems to make sense.

Sounds like it would be worth inquiring about this to get a more certain and definitive answer.
From the context of the discourse, the word “kill” in the sense of “take life” seems to fit because it seems more likely that a horse-trainer who could not tame a horse would euthanize and kill it rather than simply “‘cut them out of my awareness’ ‘have no further contact with’.”
Furthermore, it seems to fit the horse trainer’s surprised reaction to the Buddha upon hearing the Buddha state that he would kill a monastic, saying that that would not be appropriate.
However, a linguist would definitely be in a better position to clarify this issue.

I had in mind other discourses where the Buddha parries and re-interprets an accusation that he is an nihilist and (in the same or another discourse) says that he “destroys,” “annihilates,” and all other sorts of emotionally-loaded, even jarring negative words - but redefined them clearly to mean the destruction, etc. of harmful qualities of mind.