HeLA Economics


right livelihood

Hela Economics is based on the practice of Right Livelihood. Right Livelihood is an important part of the Buddhist tradition. Right Livelihood Economics has been practiced in Heladiva for over 2500 years.

To understand Right Livelihood Economics, one must know the terms of dhamma and dukkha, the four Noble Truths and the Nobel Eight Fold Path.

Dhamma is the doctrine of reality. Dhamma is the original Pali term for Buddhism, which closely translates to English as 'that which upholds and sustains'. Dhamma is to be self-realised by oneself or a teaching to be practiced until self-realisation (enlightenment) occurs.

The foundations of Dhamma are the four Nobel Truths: 1. The existence of dukkha ('sorrow'), 2. Attachment - the cause of dukkha ('sorrow'), 3. Nibbana - the reality of the complete cessation to dukkha ('sorrow') and 4. The eight fold path to the cessation of dukkha ('sorrow'). [dukkha means 'that which is difficult to be endured' and can be simplified as 'sorrow']

Right Livelihood is a part of the Noble Eight Fold Path that leads to the cessation of dukkha ('sorrow').

The Noble Eight Fold Path:

  • 1. Right Speech, 2. Right Action and 3. Right Livelihood - SILA ('Morality and goodwill')
  • 4. Right Effort, 5. Right Mindfulness and 6. Right Concentration - SAMADHI ('Focused attention')
  • 7. Right Understanding and 8. Right Thoughts - PANNA ('Wisdom' or 'Open awareness')

The don'ts of Right Livelihood are the trade in arms, the trade in human beings, the breeding of animals purely for slaughter, the trade in intoxicants and the trade in poisons. The do's of Right Livelihood are broad and can be collectively described as Right Livelihood Economics.

Right Livelihood Economics

Right Livelihood Economics is based on the principle of 'Right Livelihood'. Right Livelihood Economics is characterised by simplicity, moderation and non-violence. Efficiency in this economic system can be defined as maximum wellbeing with minimum consumption. The acquisition of wealth righteously and diligently is encouraged in Right Livelihood Economics.

Wealth in Right Livelihood Economics enables a person to:

  1. Be financially independent with sufficient income to support one's needs and wants, and that of one's family and employees.
  2. Share one's wealth with friends and associates.
  3. Ward off unexpected events such as natural disasters, theft etc.
  4. Share wealth with relatives and guests, and be charitable.
  5. Help those who have strayed from morality (SILA) to rise.

“Buddhist economics must be very different from the economics of modern materialism, since the Buddhist sees the essence of civilization not in a multiplication of wants but in the purification of human character. Character, at the same time, is formed primarily by a man’s work. And work, properly conducted in conditions of human dignity and freedom, blesses those who do it and equally their products.” - E.F.Schumacher (Small is Beautiful).

Right Livelihood Economics also serves to:

  • Gives a person a chance to utilise and develop his or her faculties.
  • Enables the person to overcome his or her ego centeredness by joining with other people in a common task.
  • Bring forth the goods and services for a becoming existence.

In Right Livelihood Economics, work and leisure are complimentary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.

Sovereign Enterprise

A sovereign enterprise enables a person to practice the concept of Right Livelihood freely. A sovereign enterprise is a small business where the owner (a Sole Trader) is free to utilises and develop his or her own faculties to bring forth goods and services for a becoming existence. A sovereign enterprise uses intermediate technologies on a human scale to achieve this end.

Right Livelihood AWARD

The Right Livelihood Award (Sweden) honours and supports people and organisations that offer exemplary solutions to root causes of global problems. The award is presented annually in Stockholm and it is usually shared by four recipients.

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2007 Right Livelihood Award. Among the laureates was Christopher Weeramantry (Heladiva) "... for his lifetime of groundbreaking work to strengthen and expand the rule of international law".

Today our world is at the brink of a mass extinction event due to anthropogenic climate change. The root cause of this imminent catastrophe is the economic system of the West that sees the essence of civilization in a multiplication of wants rather than the purification of human character.

Right Livelihood Economics provides the elegant and sustainable solution.

Wisdom of the elders

Acknowledgement: Kanghi Duta and R. Means (Sioux Nation)