I’ll say it here and I’ll say it clear: A good chunk of my need for self-care stems from years of not practicing Right Livelihood. What I did for a living caused other people harm. There is no question. While I never did anything illegal, I did things I considered to be unethical if not downright immoral because my employers required me to. The guilt of that left me with anxiety, depression, and ulcers. What is Right Livelihood? Right Livelihood is the fifth step along the Buddhist Eightfold Path, and the third moral virtue. Don’t earn your living doing things that create harm. The examples in the early texts talk about not engaging the slave trade, selling weapons, or dealing[…]

Do the right thing. Easy to say, harder to do. Who defines what that is? If you do the wrong thing for the right reasons, does that count? How about if you do the wrong thing for the right reasons? Right Action can be about results, yes, but it’s more about intentions. If you’re aware that what you’re doing is going to hurt someone, including you, don’t do it. More importantly, think about what unintended consequences might arise before you act. Never do anything that you know could end up causing harm. What is Right Action? Right Action is the fourth step along the Buddhist Eightfold Path. It’s also the second moral virtue, after Right Speech. This one is pretty[…]

At this moment in history I struggle over whether to speak up or stay silent. There is pain to be found in the exercise of Right Speech. There are atrocities going on, egregious violations of human rights. Its seem immoral to not state that I am against those things. Anyone with a functional conscience should be. The thing is, I’m not naming those issues because I’d like this post to be “evergreen” and not become dated by specific references. The tragedy of it all is that on any given day there is something awful going on that I could be referring to, now, a year into the future, or a decade after this was written. The humanity’s moral compass has[…]

If I have one big button that gets pushed on a daily basis, it’s people doing things that they know will result in harm to others. Sometimes they don’t care; they’re not suffering, so it isn’t their problem, even though they could choose to not cause pain. Too often they set out to hurt people on purpose, because it makes them feel powerful to do so, or feeds the cancerous hate residing within them. This willful infliction of misery includes everything from terrorism to bullying, but there are so many iterations of this concept it’s maddening. Systemic bigotry, which strips humans of their dignity and respect. Pseudo-meritocracies that determine who is and isn’t “worthy”, in order to deny necessities like food,[…]

Whether you’re a Buddhist or not, you have to accept the First Noble Truth: suffering exists. We all experience it to some degree. It could be serious in nature, like a major illness or the loss of a loved one. There might be a tragedy on a broader scale beyond ourselves, like war, a terrorist attack, or a natural disaster. Suffering could be something small and trivial that causes us frustration or discomfort. We need to honestly assess the scope and scale of our suffering. We need to employ Right View. Then we can use that perspective as a catalyst for self-care. What is Right View? Right View is the first step along the Buddhist Eightfold Path. It’s not meant[…]