In January’s newsletter talked about developing joyful effort in our lives in accordance with the Noble Eightfold Path. One aspect of joyful effort is Right Livelihood. We caught up with Lion’s Roar member Ellen Wolfe who is working with Lama Jinpa to rekindle Lion Roar’s Right Livelihood Programs and asked her to share more information about the program and why she is so passionate about it.
Can you tell us a little more about Right Livelihood and Lion’s Roar new program?
Right Livelihood is part of the noble eightfold Buddhist path and in the most simplistic sense pertains to how one earns their bread and butter. It has to do with doing ones work in life that is “right.” In that sense it is not unique to other aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path. It has to do with bringing your love and devotion to our life tasks, to conscientiously choosing our work, using right speech to relate compassionately to others, taking right actions to do the work without being attached per se to the results, keeping constantly engaged and learning in our right effort for example. The Right Livelihood Program at Lion’s Roar deals with these efforts. It’s a place to walk the middleway between one’s dedicated practices and real world living.
What is the seminar series that you are planning to do as part of the LRDC Right Livelihood program?
Right Livelihood Program will be a 4-week seminar which will focus on particular aspects of Right Livelihood. For example, in the first series on Thursday nights in March, we are offering Living Fully, Living Joyfully. This series is designed to help tap into one’s values and passions and aligning one’s actions to those values and passions. It’s about appreciating the value of meditation and other mindfulness practices to improve one’s connection between their heartfelt desires and one’s actions. Future Right Livelihood series will focus on similar subjects designed to help the people in everyday situation.
You seem passionate about this work, can you share with us what makes you passionate about the program?
Yes, I am passionate this work in particular for a couple of reasons. Even though I have dedicated practices I often feel confused about how to act in my job and family life. So personally I benefit from conversing with others about these matters and learning from those before me who have offered keys for thinking about how we tap into our Buddha nature in daily life. Secondly though, I have great passion for the Buddhist path, the quality of experience it can offer us in our lives and the potential it offers for shifting societal ways of being to improve the conditions of the world. Yet many of the people that work with do not have access to the teachings that they can access easily and relate to in their busy lives. With the seminars I hope to bring the concepts and practices to people – even those that feel they have very limited time – in a manner whereby they can relate to and turn toward these practices right away. To me this offers limitless potential to sets of people that currently may not be engaged at all or may not feel they have any sort of support system.
Is the Seminar Series targeted particularly to certain LRDC members or to non-member?
We believe that the seminar series and the Right Livelihood Program generally will be beneficial to both members and non-members. For deep practitioners the seminar series will provide a venue to consider and discuss the application of the Buddhist path in real life in a sense closing the experience of that we sometimes have between the nirvana of enlightenment and the alternative experience of day-to-day life in the relative world. For those without a deep practice or strong connection to Lion’s Roar, the seminar series offers a hopeful way to new ways of being in the working world and daily life in a way that feels more in accord with your individual values. And through this work such individuals can also experience the benefits of meditation and other aspects of the path.
What is your vision for the future of the Right Livelihood Program?
My hope is that the program will provide ongoing practice sessions for those interested in applying Buddhism in this way and also that the focus on Right Livelihood focus will spread into everything we do at our dharma center and in our own personal and work lives.
Ellen Wolfe is a Lion’s Roar practice leader and is a certified Search Inside Yourself instructor. In her “spare” time she runs an energy consulting company, and enjoys her sons (ages 13 and 30), husband, dog, 5 chickens, one-acre suburban home, and 900-acre ranch.