What, if anything, did the Buddha teach about following the most secure path vs venturing out on an unknown but possibly more fullfilling path?

To start off, I am very new to Buddhism but am putting great weight into its teachings. This means I am unfamiliar with many teachings.

This question is meant to be general but the context in which I began meditating on it was this:

  • I work at a company which has been stable and provided decent livelihood for my family
  • I have been all but offerred a job at a new employer in the same field
    • It is possible that it will provide me with more opportunities for my family in the long term
    • It is also possible that it will not degrade but not improve our situation

The internal debate I am having is over the right course of action in these situations. I tend to favor safe bets/routine against taking chances. This is where I would like some guidance if it can be provided.

  • I'm finding it difficult to approach this question. It seems your looking for advice for a lifestyle decision. Perhaps read here and here
    – user14148
    Nov 11, 2018 at 20:06
  • 3
    Do a careful contemplation on the pros and cons of Safe (stability but no growth) vs. Risky (unknown but potential for growth). Ultimately, it might be as simple as asking if you have a fallback plan in case the new opportunity doesn't pan out? Taking risk is good as long as it's a well thought out educated risk.
    – santa100
    Nov 11, 2018 at 20:19

2 Answers 2


Making good decisions is hard. Let's take a look at a Buddhist perspective.

Good decisions are unprejudiced (AN4.18):

Making decisions unprejudiced by favoritism, hostility, stupidity, and cowardice

Good decisions are ethical, so mind your chosen precepts (e.g., working in a slaughterhouse doesn't satisfy "do not kill"). Follow the Noble Eight-Fold Path:

right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion.

Your post implies that you have already considered the above and are asking perhaps for deeper advice.

Personally, I have found that if you can look at all choice outcomes with equanimity, then life unfolds well. This means that one accepts the consequences of failure.

Sariputta hints at this in saying that there are these three choices ( SN12.51, DN33):

good choices, bad choices, and imperturbable choices

You have already researched the risk and benefit of your choice. If you now sit and meditate, settling into non-grasping equanimity, you will most likely arise from meditation with a spontaneous answer arising from wisdom and equanimity.

Best wishes with your choice!

Note: from a non-Buddhist perspective, consult peers in your field. They will have direct personal experience with your particular job market and future prospects. Consider their advice as you meditate.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. I very much appreciate the resources you have provided which was the intent of my question (I will have to read the last one later). Obviously I must make my own decisions but seeking more knowledge first seemed the right action. Thank you again! Nov 12, 2018 at 15:54
  • Thank you. I've edited the answer to offer SN12.51 for more information on choices. You will find that one can go beyond imperturbable choices! DN33 is a massive summary of most of the teachings and would be less helpful for this particular question.
    – OyaMist
    Nov 12, 2018 at 16:03

A lot of the teaching was for monks not laypeople, though e.g. a book like this one summarises what he did teach to laypeople -- e.g. about working for a living, cooperating and so on.

Rather than "venturing out on an unknown path" perhaps you could investigate more thoroughly -- this answer for example summarises advice (from the book I referenced above) on choosing a marriage partner.

I think that the Sigalovada Sutta suggests being dutiful ... maybe prudent or sensible, sober, too ... and being careful about the effect on you of friends.


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