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Right Occupation

It never occurs to me how important it is to choose a right job.  As far as my granny is concerned:

no need to study too much, just get a job and contribute to 家用 can already.

So that was my attitude for a long time until I was 18.  In between, I did not care what I will be and never seriously thought about what I will become.  I could be selling cigarettes, I could be opening small gambling dens or I could be making weapons.  I could help work in hawker centre, I could learn some carpentry and help as a general worker, as far as I was concerned, (almost like everyone else) I just want to bring in reasonable amount of cash.

When I made it to the University, career fairs and peers questioning lead me to think about this job thing a little more seriously.  But still thinking like my aunts and uncles, I was willing to take any job that I could land on.  I went to a career fair by the Defense Science Organization, but I did not take it.  Years later I was glad I did not take it (捏一把冷汗), not because it was a bad paying job, but it might have violated “Right Livelihood” and affect my 因果 (fruit of causality)。Many times, I even thought of applying for some kind of SAF scholarships that require signing up.

Something else must also be pushing me, because my 出离心很重(getting-out heart is very heavy).  “Getting out of what?” you may ask.  莫名其妙, as a teenager, I longed to get out of the common “go-to-work-earn-money-come-back-spend-money-enjoy” kind of life.  I could not explain what it was but I must be searching for something “easier”, perhaps something more “meaningful”.   Most people would dismiss it as common laziness, refusal to blend into society.  But I do not think that was it.  Because when I did anything, I did it with zest.  When I was told to scrub the house wooden stairs, I will did my best and actually enjoyed doing it and seeing it clean.  When I was in NUS, (except during exam time) I will spend so much time in what I learned in lectures, I never seemed to get enough at the end of the day.  But when the end of day comes, I will “let go” of everything I had learnt and literally called it a day (I don’t know how to say it well but in Chinese, I will say 把全部放下,犹如一切都没发生过。)

So day-in, day-out, I will do a lot in NUS, but at the end of each day, I would feel I did not do anything (or learn anything 什么都没有得到 ).  Eventually my student days ended and I had to look for a job.  I delayed my job search by going into the Honours year doing an extra year.  Even after graduating, with good job market, instead of securing a job, I still felt something was really wrong.  So I applied for a not-so-well-known university in Canada and continued my life as a student.

This postponement is not going to lead me anywhere.  I knew I was not depressed.  I was not 消极, because everything I do, I will only do my best.  But I will avoid fame, wealth or luxury if I sense it coming my way.  (but sometimes it came right at me; I usually gladly accepted it, but not have craving for it.)  Like in the part of ChenRiZig that I recite:

As is taught, detachment is the foot of meditation; attachment to food and wealth disappears

Today, I found the answers to all these whys 而且发现人生和世间真奥妙.  I continue to live simple and continue to simplify it even more whenever humanly and naturally possible (again not for any worldly reasons like telling people or showing off to them).  I am so glad I did not land a job that has gambling or casino involved because that would have affected and increased a person’s 贪念 many folds.  I did not work in a place that helped to build directly or indirectly weapons or tools for destruction of human, animals or sentient beings.  I was naturally in the “Right Livelihood” of the 8-fold Noble Path.  I did not have to cheat or lie (not even a tiny bit), or accompany customers 去花天酒地。I did not have to do overtime due to boss’ pressure.  And if I ever do overtime, it is usually because I want to do more (in my occupation) to help more people.  And usually, I ask my spouse for permission for something as small as working an extra hour outside my regular schedule.

Right livelihood is a bliss by itself:  愿生生世世都这样,再加上修行和出离心。

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.

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