future, or some ideal world on another plane; it tries to create the ideal society,
the ideal community, here and now on this earth. It tries, therefore, to
transform, to transfigure, this society and this world into the image of the
future, into the image of the Ideal; and it tries to do this in a number of
different ways. One of these ways is the teaching of Perfect Livelihood, the fifth
step of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.
The preceding stages of the Noble Eightfold Path have been concerned with
our initial spiritual experience of insight into the nature of existence, including
ourselves, and the transformation by that experience of our emotional life, our
communication with one another, and our ordinary everyday behaviour. In
other words the Eightfold Path, so far, has been concerned with the
transformation of our separate, individual selves. With this step, Perfect
Livelihood, we are concerned with the transformation of the collective life, the
life of the community, the life of society. This is an aspect of Buddhism which is
not very much emphasized, in fact it is sometimes rather played down; but the
idea that we should transform not only our individual lives but also society at
large is very definitely a part of the total teaching" - Sangharakshita, from Vision and Transformation, his book on the Noble Eightfold Path.
We are presently exploring the area of "Right Livelihood" in the Thursday class - look forward to seeing some of you there!