First some introduction:

I am in my ending teen years and like a normal teen would aspire for success, I aspire for it too. But there is a catch... I don't want to get too lost into material world, such that, at the end of the day I will be lost. In a sense I don't want to waste time.

I have desire to be a little above mediocrity which can take lots of time(and there is no guarantee that I will succeed), so I believe it would be better if I realize the pointlessness of it as(many gurus claim).

Some say to realize pointlessness of money(and any such desires like higher social status) it is important to have them first.

So is it like I have heard that at the end of tough road is a steep fall and for me to realize it I have to work hard and see for myself, is there no better choice?

Can't I move towards it(worldly successes) and in the meantime practice something so I realize it is not that important?

Right now I don't have courage to live like a monastic and even if I do, I'll be thinking of worldly pursuits most of the time and will have this sense of failure with me, that, I chose this path(spiritual) because I would fail in material path(this idea of choosing spiritual path because of failure in materialistic path is frowned upon where I live).


I know that I have to try to keep precepts and be moral, I want little bit advanced practice(while I try to build my career)

Thank you!

4 Answers 4


You can definitely pursue materialistic happiness while following the Noble Eightfold Path. Please see this answer for the question "Can a Buddhist own and run a billion dollar business?". Also, please see this answer on the pursuit of happiness in Buddhism.

The first step in the Noble Eightfold Path is developing Right View and you need to do this by studying the Dhamma.

At the same time, you should learn about developing virtue (sila) and wholesome qualities, and practising them with heedfulness.

The most minimum set of training rules to undertake are the five precepts. But developing skillful living and skillful thinking exceeds the five precepts by far.

Meditation can come later.


You can always build your "worldly success" while practicing Buddhism. There is no conflict of each other.

If you are talking about go the monastic direction and live like a monk, that's a totally different story.

  • Yes I know there is no conflict. But generally advanced practices are kept for monks and it is them who get insights. For example when asked how do I get some pleasure out of meditations the common reply is you have to ordain as a monk and have to spend 12 hours meditating. I do keep my precepts to my best possible, what else do I need? 12 hours of meditation? There ought to be some way! Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 3:47
  • 1
    I don't think you need to be a monk in order to realize the benefits (pleasure is not a good word) of Meditation. The time for meditation depends entirely up to you. If you feel your current allocation isn't enough, allocate more. Benefits can be realized but there is no "short-cut". The whole practice is step by step. There may be a time where you reach a plateau, in this case try retreat camps. The path of learning never ends. Keeping the 5 precepts are great too, keep it up. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 6:17
  • Aside meditation and keeping with the 5 precepts. You can also keep up with the 5 virtues. I.e. do the opposite of the 5 precepts. Consider different types of volunteering works. You may gain new insights through actual practicing of the virtues, if you haven't already done so. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 6:25

Live your lay life according to the Singalovada Sutta. Dedicate one hour a day or as much as you can spare for meditation, listening to the Dhamma. When you get vacation, visit a meditation center and practice intensively. This way yo can succeed at both.


Open yourself up to the world. Let the possibilities excite and draw you in. The greatest gift you can bring to the world is yourself, enlightened by your own spiritual practice. Whichever path you take, you will end up where you were meant to be. The lessons you need will find you, where ever you are. Allow yourself to look towards what inspires you, not only what is safe and has good financial prospects. Youth has magic to it (even if being young is not an accomplishment), you can breathe in possibility. Don't allow the disappointments of others to guide you to a lesser path with the idea that it is safer. There is nothing safe in unhappiness.

As you walk along your path, keep checking on whether your path has the aspects you need most.

Here is a list that I think is well worded, but you can craft your own. (I welcome edits if someone can make Right Livelihood clearer)

• Is what we are doing causing harm to others or suffering for ourselves?

• Is the way we live and the way we support ourselves causing harm or suffering?

• What are the purposes for which we work?

• What values do we express in our work?

• What consequence does our work have on the quality of our inner life?

• What consequences does it have on the world?

• Is the way we live our life satisfying and meaningful? If it isn’t, what can we change to create greater joy, satisfaction, and meaning?

(I copied it from here: https://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-buddhism-helped-me-find-a-better-career.html )

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