Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Stiphan
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Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby Stiphan » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:28 am

Is selling cigarettes a kind of wrong livelihood? It is not explicitly mentioned by the Buddha as wrong livelihood, but that may be because probably there were no cigarettes during his time. Certainly tobacco smoking is harmful to health, so maybe business in cigarettes should be counted either as "dealing in poison" or "dealing in intoxicants" (two things explicitly mentioned as wrong livelihood).

What's your take on this?

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retrofuturist
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:45 am

Greetings Stefan,

My take is that it wouldn't literally be a violation of the precepts, but I think it is something you would want to avoid if possible, and if you must do it, then don't compound the negative outcome by ruminating over it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Stiphan
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby Stiphan » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:51 am

Last edited by Stiphan on Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cooran
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby cooran » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:52 am

Hello Stefan,

Is tobacco a drug
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1912

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Stiphan
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby Stiphan » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:05 am

Thanks Chris.

PeterB
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby PeterB » Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:12 pm

It is not clear to me to what extent we can be guided by ethical principles formed in a very different culture and 250 centuries ago...the Buddha did not know about tobacco. Neither apparently was it one of things he forsaw as posing a danger to his spiritual descendants. This is not surprising.
However WE know that smoking is linked to a range of cancers, not just lung, but eye, mouth, sinus, oesophagus ,larynx, stomach, kidney and bladder.
It is also strongly implicated in a range of heart diseases, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, infertility, babies who are small for dates, glaucoma and is a contributory factor in a whole host of other conditions including tooth decay, gastric ulcers and asthma.
We do not need to refer to culturally determined ideas of right livelihood.
Our own sense of what constitutes ethical behaviour should be sufficient.

Nori
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby Nori » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:14 pm

Its made explicit in the Suttas - a right livelihood is harmless (for both oneself and others).

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bodom
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby bodom » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:32 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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tiltbillings
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:39 pm


PeterB
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby PeterB » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:12 pm

True.

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Ben
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:40 pm

Hi Stefan,
As Peter and Paul have stated - sometimes you'll just need to use your judgement.
The fact is that tobacco does kill and it kills very many people annually.
The guiding principle that seems to support the precepts and the path factor of right livelihood seems to be that of ahimsa (do no harm). That is - knowingly doing no harm to oneself or others. In which case I think any reasonable person can defend a decision not to sell tobacco because it breaches this moral principle.
All the very best.

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

chownah
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby chownah » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:41 am

To support Ben's post here is the definition for ahimsa from Nayanatiloka's Dictionary:


Avihimsā, ahimsā, avihesā: harmlessness, nonviolence, absence of cruelty. The thought of harmlessness or non-cruelty; avihimsā-vitakka is one of the three constituents of right motivation sammā-sankappa, i.e. the 2nd factor of the 8-fold path see: magga. In the several lists of elements dhātu appears also an element of harmlessness avihesā-dhātu, in the sense of an irreducible elementary quality of Noble thought, speech & behaviour. See Dhp. 225, 261, 270, 300.

chownah

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Ben
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Re: Selling cigarettes and right livelihood

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:44 am

Thank you, Chownah!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..


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