Right Livelihood

What is Right Livelihood ?

Right Livelihood is part of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is under ethical conduct and provides guidance on what the Buddha taught was the best way to reach enlightenment. 

Right Livelihood involves not only what kind of business we're involved in but also balancing our expense vs our income so that we have a balance. We do not over or under spend. We do what we need to do to care for ourselves.  It's legal, ethical and good for all involved. There are five different business that the Buddha said we should avoid.

  1. Trading in weapons.
  2. Trading in human beings.
  3. Trading in meat.
  4. Trading in intoxicants.
  5. Trading in poison.
These would be occupations that conflict with the teachings of the Buddha. The notion of “Right Livelihood” mandates that we should engage in an occupation that not only earns us a living but also creates greater happiness, wisdom, and well-being, and relieves suffering in ourselves and others. Conversely, we should avoid occupations that produce harm.

How does this link to the Five Virtues of Hekate?

Just as our last look at Right Action, we can see that Right Livelihood can be found in all of the virtues of Hecate.  Our livelihood, the work we do to do the mundane, pay our bills, take care of ourself and family, we can see that each of the virtues of Hecate fit directly into them. 

  • Compassion
  • Courage
  • Temperance 
  • Justice
  • Wisdom 

 I work each day and use compassion to help others.  I use courage and temperance to be sure that I work hard but not too hard. I use justice and wisdom to help those around me in my professional capacity.  Each action I take in my livelihood will not harm myself or others.

What do you think?  How does Right Livelihood fit into the Five Virtues of Hekate? Do you see it directly relating to one of them? Does it cross them all?  Feel free to comment here or continue to reach out to me directly to continue our conversation.


Rev. Renee Sosanna Olson

Keybearer to the Covenant of Hekate

Founder of the Sanctuary of Hecate Brimo



Full content of the five virtues from the COH Website:

– Sympathy and/or concern for others who are suffering or find themselves in an undesirable position. A person attempting to develop the virtue of Compassion within their daily life and practice would desire to aid in the alleviation of any undesirable situation or at the very least not be a contributing factor towards it.

Real Life Example – You could try to help the homeless or less fortunate be they of the two or four legged variety. Volunteering at local shelters or organizing food drives are great ways to learn and show compassion.

– Strength or character or fortitude to stand firm in your convictions and face adversity or distress without fear. A person attempting to develop the virtue of Courage within their daily life and practice may chose to stand firm against those who would chose to undermine their beliefs or convictions or to speak out against those who hurt and undermine others.

Real Life Example – Try standing up for someone you or your friendship group may deem unpopular. Also when someone shows remorse for a wrongdoing some people will continue to be angry and unforgiving. Instead state your position calmly (in itself an act of courage) and then allow the situation to pass.

– Moderation and self-control are both acts of Temperance. A person attempting to develop the virtue of Temperance within their daily life and practice may chose to restrict some part of their life be that thought or action in an attempt to find a balance rather than choosing to allow extremes.

Real Life Example – Try abstaining from certain types of food or drink or showing restraint in discussions online. An example would be to learn to hold one’s tongue and listen a bit more before jumping into an argument.

– Moral and physical rightness are both aspects of Justice, as is the sometimes contradictory act of behaving fairly towards other people. A person attempting to develop the virtue of Justice within their daily life would strive to act fairly, truthfully and with personal integrity when dealing with others and themselves.

Real Life Example – Try to treat others fairly, in action and tone be it online or in person. Try to not pass judgement on another based upon your own feelings for a person, your understanding of the situation or hearsay. There are often two (or more) sides to a story and the truth lies somewhere between. If the truth cannot be ascertained then try being impartial.

– To have the common sense, foresight and understanding to think or act in a manner most objectively and beneficially to any given situation. A person attempting to develop the virtue of Wisdom within their daily life would strive to apply their knowledge and experiences in a prudent and practical way.

Real Life Example – Try volunteering to share on a topic that you are knowledgeable on with a local group or center. Offer to do a guest blog post or write an article for an eZine on a particular subject.


Karen said...

I am fairly new to Hecate worshipping and I didn’t know about these Five Virtues until I read your posts in FB. It all makes very very much sense why all the sudden I felt her call at this time in my life. It is funny too because I really love Thich Nhat Hahn’s teachings and have always found them extremely helpful and comforting whatever the subject he discussed. Regarding Right Livelihood, I can only say that it both includes and supports (nourishes) all Five Virtues imho. It is very interesting how the Eightfold Path and the Five Virtues interact really. Thank you for giving me lots of food for thought and making me even surer that I am definitely at home in the arms of Hecate.

Sosanna said...

Absolutely! I was really floored by it myself. My next series is going to be comparing the Hecatean path directly to the Buddhist path. Thank you for your comment. <3