Right livelihood or right vocation means to make a living without harming other living beings. In choosing a job or type of work, one should use moral consideration that is not harmful and detrimental to the existence of other beings. At the same time, any work that one does should show the attitude of respect for the welfare and safety of other creatures. Following up from this understanding, a good Buddhist will avoid work that could cause others to suffer.
The types of works include:
Selling living beings.
Selling meat that leads to murder of life being.
Selling Liquor or Narcotics
Selling toxic/ poisonous substance
These five types of works should be avoided because all of them will create suffering to other beings. At the same time, this will bring remorse for the offender because the welfare and enjoyment of life that resulted in the suffering of other creatures. However, from all of these works, one of the most reprehensible people is the one who do bad deeds for the sake of pleasure alone.
In the Dhammapada 103, the Buddha said, "Rather than to live a hundred years with immoral and uncontrolled manners, better to live filled with good deeds." Therefore, it is better to die as a civilized and respected person than to live as a bad person.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that the types of works outside those five categories above are automatically considered as right vocations. For example: If someone runs a business or work in government with dishonest, deceitful, corrupt, then that person also runs the wrong vocation. Therefore, the basic meaning of right vocation is a work that does not harm other beings and also not damage the morality of the offender himself. Whatever one does for his/her living, it is called the right livelihood if it does not harm other beings and does not harm himself.
Therefore, if the work brings prosperity and security of life for other creatures, which would also improve ones quality (loving-kindness, compassion, honesty, responsibility), then it is the right vocation.
August 10th, 2010.B. Saccadhammo.