I am a business woman and my job is stressful. It is entirely motivated by greed. I want to leave my career but I have a dream to help poor people in my country and also to make my parents proud of me. Could anyone please tell me what kind of career is compatible with Buddhism?

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    That does not depend on job much, more on your motivation. See what you can do with pure heart. If you can't see it, practice insight meditation, and you will. I am researcher myself, and see no problem in compatibility.
    – eudoxos
    Jul 28, 2015 at 15:10

6 Answers 6


Most business is stressful and it's not entirely motivated by greed. You want to make your parents proud and you want to help poor people, that is not as bad as you think. All occupations have upsides and downsides.

The less harmful your job the better. But, if you are not doing business in weapon, human being, meat i.e. slaughter animal in order to sell its meat, intoxicants and poison, your job is compatible with Buddhism. If your job is not breaking any of the five precepts, your job is compatible with Buddhism. Try your best.


In my opinion and experience, a job of a manager or executive/director is pretty compatible with Buddhism. If you apply all teachings of Buddha to managing people, you can be both very successful and help people under you grow.


Potentially, any job that doesn't violate the precepts is Right Livelihood.

The actuality of it though is that if you want to practice vipassana, the heart of the Buddhist practices, it is better to do a job that does not have consideration of profit/loss and does not have too much thinking/abstraction involved (slow manual labor is fine for developing vipassana and samatha through daily life).

Your question though I believe is aimed more towards not vipassana cultivation, nor the "potential" of any job but ... what job is most stress-free?

And for that, the answer is "it depends."

It depends on the person and their character, inclinations, and tendencies. I would look at what you like to do in your free time and consider what jobs pay you to do that?

For some people, due to their natural inclinations and habits, they may enjoy a jack-of-all-trades job, and would be able to squeeze in some meditaiton practice along with it. For others, that are not so chronically intellectual, they may look for a job within a wide range of choices including: grocery bagging, greeting, sign-waving, farming, etc.

It really depends on the person and there is no high or low.

All that matters is that you enjoy life without harm and gain some lasting benefit from it, especially in the form of mindfulness practice.


You can pick anything other than what is forbidden under Samma Ajiva of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Here are few options:

  1. Teacher/Principal
  2. Doctor/Nurse
  3. Farmer
  4. Engineer(Civil/Mechanical/Software etc.)
  5. Architect
  6. Librarian
  7. Accountant
  8. Seemstress
  9. Baker
  10. Babysitter

Within the Noble Eightfold Path is a thorough description of what qualifies as an acceptable career for a Buddhist. Also in this teaching are some examples of such a career. See right livelihood for a basic idea; you can use this as a framework for judging potential career choices in the future!



giving up ones carrier (that what is carry one on in the wheel of love and suffering) is already a beginn for a good "Buddhist" carrier and to start this Dhamma-carrier with Generosity and giving ones wealth is the normal right fist step, but be careful to do not use Bussiness with Generosity as a means for exact the same way as before just by changing the company to this modern one which has stolen the original trademarks of the Buddha.

At least, why would you like to help the poor if not out of love again?

If willing to wander on in the world pleasant, chose a rightious lifelihood and don't be a trader in generosity and Dhamma

One should not make an effort everywhere, should not be another's hireling, should not live dependent on another, should not go about as a trader in the Dhamma.


maintain a right livelihood, do as much as possible Dana, observe Silas, best 8 and do Bhavana.

--> "Purification through Wandering-on"

As for the real and final carrier, that excels all others, here introduced in a talk between a King, the Buddha about a carrier of even a tidays slave:

"Suppose there were a man of yours: your slave, your workman, rising in the morning before you, going to bed in the evening only after you, doing whatever you order, always acting to please you, speaking politely to you, always watching for the look on your face. The thought would occur to him: 'Isn't it amazing? Isn't it astounding? — the destination, the results, of meritorious deeds. For this King Ajatasattu is a human being, and I, too, am a human being, yet King Ajatasattu enjoys himself supplied and replete with the five strings of sensuality — like a deva, as it were — while I am his slave, his workman... always watching for the look on his face. I, too, should do meritorious deeds. What if I were to shave off my hair and beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?'

"So after some time he shaves off his hair and beard, puts on the ochre robes, and goes forth from the household life into homelessness. Having thus gone forth he lives restrained in body, speech, and mind, content with the simplest food and shelter, delighting in solitude. Then suppose one of your men were to inform you: 'You should know, your majesty, that that man of yours — your slave, your workman... always watching for the look on your face... has gone forth from the household life into homelessness... content with the simplest food and shelter, delighting in solitude.' Would you, thus informed, say, 'Bring that man back to me. Make him again be my slave, my workman... always watching for the look on my face!'?"

"Not at all, lord. Rather, I am the one who should bow down to him, rise up out of respect for him, invite him to a seat, invite him to accept gifts of robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicinal requisites for the sick. And I would provide him with righteous safety, defense, and protection."

"So what do you think, great king. With that being the case, is there a visible fruit of the contemplative life, or is there not?"

"Yes, lord. With that being the case, there certainly is a visible fruit of the contemplative life."

"This, great king, is the first fruit of the contemplative life, visible in the here and now, that I point out to you."

Samaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative Life


(Note: This answer is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purposes or other wordily gains)

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