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Ājīva (livelihood) is nonviolence (ahiṃsā) at a large scale. Whtever is done in order to support one's basic needs, it will consume a considerable amount of time and hence form our habits and our environment.
Some activities are incompatible with Buddhist practice and are therefore considered to be "wrong livelihood" (micchā-ājīva) in the canonical texts. These include
Of course, most work these days falls into the category of trickery and usury. It involves the production of useless goods and the creation of a market for those goods. Often this line of work specifically targets the most vulnerable of society.
This state of affairs poses two related questions:
Does material wealth really make us happy? How much do I need versus imagine to need? How much suffering am I willing to cause in order to fulfill those needs, in particular the imagined ones? How much time of my life am I willing to invest into the chase for more things that do not make me happy? How much is really necessary to support a fulfilled and meaningful life?
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