The concept of 'Right Livelihood' is an ancient one. It reflects a belief that each person should follow an occupation consistent with the principles of honest living, treating with respect other people and the natural world. It means being responsible for the consequences of one's actions, living lightly on the earth and taking no more than a fair share of its resources. The term has a specific meaning for Buddhists, for whom Right Livelihood is the fifth stage on the Noble Eightfold Path to Enlightenment. It enjoins them to avoid 'ignoble trades', such as warfare, making weapons and dealing in poisons and drugs – an ethical standard that could be commended to all societies, whether religious or not.
The Right Livelihood Award was introduced in 1980 to honour and support work which squarely faces the crucial problems of contemporary humanity – war and the arms race, poverty and unemployment, resource depletion and environmental degradation, human repression and social injustice, inappropriate technologies and potent scientific knowledge untempered by ethics, cultural and spiritual decline. Since then 58 people and projects have received awards "for vision and work contributing to making life more whole, healing our planet and uplifting humanity". The collective message of these initiatives is one of hope and reassurance. The aim is to stimulate a debate about the values underlying our society and goals.
Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
If you do something right once, someone will ask you to do it again.