In a meditation a week ago we considered how Fox News is opposed to the Buddhist teaching of “Right Speech” and the Christian teaching of Love of Neighbor and Love of Truth and how truth is necessary for building a society and democracy.

“The Right Speech in Buddhism- Ep09,” The Buddhology on YouTube

Fox News may also be an affront to Right Livelihood. 

The Buddha teaches that speech can be wrong and bad for the soul, and so too can be the way we make our living. 

Here is how Thich Nhat Hanh puts it: 

To practice Right Livelihood, you have to find a way to earn your living without transgressing your ideals of love and compassion.  The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others….Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or erode them.

“Deepest Desire / Right Livelihood | Thich Nhat Hanh Answers Questions,” Plum Village on YouTube

These are wise and foundational teachings about good work.  It is echoed in Christianity by Thomas Aquinas’s admonition to “always rejoice in the good work that you do.”  The good work–not the bad work.  The work of making every effort to find the truth and spread that as opposed to settling for lies and falsehoods if you are a media organization and spreading that.  The work that leads to compassion, not to more lies and insurrections and violent movements to tear apart a society striving to be a democracy.

Thich Nhat Hanh advises us to find work “without transgressing your ideals of love and compassion.”  How can it be said that anyone is spreading love and compassion if they are selling lies?  Lies that result in violence. 

“Jake Tapper fact-checks Fox News narrative on Jan. 6 attack,” CNN on YouTube

Even Murdoch, the head of Fox News, admitted in our previous DM on “Right Speech” that the lies led to the January 6 violence.  And surely much that has followed since.  His organization, his “livelihood” was a principle propagator of such lies.

Thich Nhat Hanh warns us that our work can be a “source of suffering” for others.  According to Murdoch himself, 25% of the population are suffering from lies and untruths that result in resentment and rage toward neighbors and truth.

Thich Nhat Hanh warns us that our work can “erode” our understanding and compassion. 

Fox News is involved in lots of eroding.  And all workers there—including its sponsors—should heed Thich Nhat Hanh’s guidance, that we “should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.”


See Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work, pp. 91ff., 309-312.

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “The eight-spoke Dharma wheel symbolizes the Noble Eightfold Path.” Wikimedia Commons

Queries for Contemplation

Is your livelihood a right livelihood and a practice of good work that makes you rejoice in the good you are doing?  Can others rejoice because of your good work?


Recommended Reading

The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time

Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter

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7 thoughts on “Right Livelihood and Good Work vs. Fox News”

  1. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    All of humanity can benefit, if we learnt to practice what is taught in the noble truth of Right Speech. This practice is not easy to do, as often our speech is not in harmony and alignment with the wisdom ways of Right Speech. As I listened to these teachings in today’s DM of this noble truth, I realized the unconscious subtle ways I miss the mark and how much I still have to learn in relating nobly with others, through Right Speech. Awareness of this fact, is the first step in developing the practice of this noble truth.

    This practice also takes a radical willingness to be vulnerably honest with oneself and others, in the ways in which we relate in our speech, with ourselves and each other. I’ve discovered over the years that the negative self-talk that takes place internally, is often projected externally and outwardly onto others. This negative inner dialogue, for me personally, has been the main area to work on in practicing the noble truth of Right Speech… which I try to keep tethered to my practice of self-compassion.

    It is through this daily practice that I am learning to hear that inner voice that speaks a deeper truth of who I AM. As I learn to respond to these noble truths inherent within me, I slowly find myself evolving, emerging and converging with the natural essence of being in right relationship with… present to that deeper truth, often hidden, yet there to be seen within myself, others, Spirit, and the all and the everything of creation.

  2. Avatar

    My simple prayer/mantra:

    LOVE(Compassion, Peace, Justice)~LIGHT(Wisdom, Truth, Transformation)~LIFE(Beauty, Joy,
    Creativity)… in the Eternal Presence and Divine Flow of Loving Diverse Oneness….

    ????

  3. Avatar
    Carmen Rumbaut

    Since I don’t know any way to contact Matthew Fox except through this, please forgive me if the topic is not on topic. But this morning I was looking at a page of Stations of the Cosmic Christ when this poem appeared and I wanted to share:

    Experiencing the Cosmic Sense
    Who experiences it? When?

    The ethical atheist
    The artists with their Muse
    The athlete in the zone
    The mother whose river of love flows through

    The healer who invites the healing
    The gardener learning the dance of growth
    The ecumenist diving deeply into all faiths
    The scientist wondering what we don’t yet know

    The peace activist for justice
    The justice activist for Mother Earth
    The ecological activist for peace

    At the light in their student’s eye
    the teacher is thrilled
    With passionate love for mystery,
    the hermit’s solitude is filled

    The mountain climber at his height
    the scuba diver at her depths

    All of us are capable.

  4. Avatar

    Right speech is also described in the letter of James, one of my very favorites. In the old words of KJV, after noting how small a member of the body is the tongue : “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire from hell.” (James 3:6) This seems to describe the consequences of wrong speech not only to the individual but also to those who are damaged by it–and comes from “hell”, i.e. the hatred in one’s own heart. Sometimes the bible gets it right, and the wisdom is deep. Regarding gossip, an old friend and I used to say that if we provided some fodder for the gossipers, we were doing them a service. One has to maintain a sense of humor, after all.

    Right livelihood reminds me of Frederick Buechner’s definition of vocation as the place that God calls you to where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger. And this does not have to be some lofty, exalted work. Menial work does not have to be meaningless if the worker does it with spirit and the work is received with gratefulness. Even if it is not rewarded with thanks, the work itself and the doing of it well can be sufficient. We should never overlook those who are behind the scenes and are working to keep machinery or anything else in good order.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Thank you,Sue, for this important reminder: Each of us called, All are needed. Reminds me of a poster I read years ago:
      Grow Where You Are Planted! Yep, I feel green! Yep, I feel routed! Yep, I feel one with the Universe! I’m washing the dishes! So good to know I am called to exactly where I am: NOW!

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