Question: I am a nutritionist who educates on healthy eating through talks and cooking demonstrations. As the company I work in produces animal-based foods, I am tasked to promote their benefits too. Does my job create positive or negative karma, as I am teaching people to eat healthy, though it involves animal products? A few Buddhists said the Buddha will understand my current conflict. What do you think?
Answer: It is unfortunately definitely not good to encourage eating of sentient beings and their products which come about from slavery, exploitation and eventual killing. For your benefit and that of many beings, do work towards refraining from promoting animal products as soon as you can.
It is not a matter about the Buddha understanding or not, as the impartial law of karma works naturally and impartially according to what we do. Remember this – there is no one forcing you to encourage others to eat animals, while your encouragement will force many animals to be killed in the long run. As compassionate Buddhists, who also understand how negative karma can gather and manifest bitter fruits in time, we should stop creating it quickly.
Question: I will pray to the Buddha to help me find a more suitable job, and chant for the animals caught by the company. I am attending your ‘Project Makan: Veganism In The True Sutras’ course and am getting more affirmed on switching to veganism. Do you know any job opening for a nutritionist in the vegan field?
Answer: If I were you, I would immediately quit the job and find other harmless work first, challenging as it might be. The negative karma is just not worth it. Just as the Buddha taught on how any livelihood that harms sentient beings to be directly unskilful (unwholesome), any livelihood that encourages sentient beings to be harmed is similar. It is surely too close for comfort. I know no vacancy at the moment, but it is surely possible to become trained as a qualified vegan nutritionist: http://nutritionstudies.org/courses/plant-based-nutrition This is one of the best online vegan nutrition courses around. To do better, we have to re-carve to reshape our niche in work!