Question: Since I got in touch with the Buddha’s teaching, I’ve been questioning the meaningfulness of my career path. While my job could not be categorised under ‘wrong livelihood’, I feel that my job, which is to market luxury interior furnishing products, seems to indirectly induce people to crave for things they don’t really need.
Right now, a job well done would mean that I have successfully convinced people to crave for and buy material goods that don’t really do them much good. Instead of promoting material goods which give only fleeting happiness, should I perhaps be promoting things that are more substantial, and less worldly? Sometimes, I feel that I should be doing something more meaningful. People whom I have spoken say I think too much. Do you think this is so, that I’m trying ‘too hard’ to follow the Buddha’s teachings?
Answer: Personally, I don’t think you’re thinking too much. If I am in your shoes, I would seriously consider changing to a more meaningful and fulfilling job too. That you feel disturbed means you are spiritually growing, becoming more sensitive to purposefulness in life, that is more aligned to spirituality. There is indeed a high possibility that that which is bought through you is used for sensual indulgence, while neglecting spiritual improvement.
Wrong livelihood, however, refers to occupations that involve harming sentient beings. If the luxury goods include those directly derived from the suffering of sentient beings, e.g. leather sofas, non-vegan foods and such, it would be slanted towards wrong livelihood. Here is another article about jobs to share: http://thedailyenlightenment.