Right Livelihood? Mr. Cassidy, aka Tulku Tenpa Rinpoche, has had a sordid past that includes trading in weapons. According to a Las Vegas Sun article, “Cassidy embroiled in another caper,” (April 13, 2000, http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2000/apr/13/cassidy-embroiled-in-another-caper/ ) Cassidy, in 1987, “founded the Triad Armaments Corp., a short-lived Westminster, California, company that sold a classified weapons system to a foreign government.” The interviewer remarks, “This is one of those topics Cassidy declined to discuss in detail, other than to say that the sale was legal under federal arms export laws and was approved by the U.S. government. He said it was the company’s only transaction.”
In teachings about the Eightfold Path, the Buddha explained the importance of Right Livelihood. One’s livelihood affects one’s mindset, which affects one’s spiritual path. For that reason, Buddhist practitioners should not engage in professions that cause harm to others. The Buddha outlines the five types of livelihoods that should be avoided. These include:
Business in weapons: trading in all kinds of weapons and instruments for killing.
Business in human beings: slave trading, prostitution, or the buying and selling of children or adults.
Business in meat: “meat” refers to the bodies of beings after they are killed. This includes breeding animals for slaughter.
Business in intoxicants: manufacturing or selling intoxicating drinks or addictive drugs.
Business in poison: producing or trading in any kind of toxic product designed to kill.
Buying and selling weapons that are meant solely to harm others is not right livelihood, Mr. Cassidy.