Earning a living is ok, if done properly
Buddha taught; the acquiring of material wealth in proper proportion is good. It is only when this becomes excessive or greedy is it not desirable. Conversely not working diligently to provide the requirements of life is not acceptable either. Having enough to ensure a safe home for our family, ample nutritious food, clothing, education, the ability to enjoy the arts, nature and fellowship with our relatives, friends and neighbours brings pleasure that lasts.
Buddha gave us four guidelines to examine our desire for wealth as it pertains to happiness.
Firstly, that we earn our wealth through diligent work in a moral and legal method.
Secondly, that we make proper use of the wealth we accumulate. Being miserly while our family has poor nutrition is not a proper application of our wealth.
Third, that we avoid debt. This does not mean not borrowing to buy a home. Rather that we live within our means. We all have known people who scramble to pay their credit card balances every month. They just make the minimum payments, with rates that can exceed 25% this is effectively meaning they are living on less then ¾ of their after tax income. Avoiding this is easier than trying to get a 25% raise or taking a second job, which takes us away from our families.
Fourth, the feeling that comes from knowing, that our wealth has not come at the expense of others health, or well being. The knowledge, we have not impaired nature’s ability to sustain life.