Author Topic: Marriage  (Read 5318 times)

Offline Myles

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Marriage
« on: March 07, 2011, 05:37:43 pm »
Hello everyone.

I'm about to get married in a couple months and my recent advent to Buddhism has raised some question about such things. How does Buddhism view marriage? Should my spouse die, is it possible to take up Monkhood, or does being married in the past keep a monastic order from accepting you? In my readings I have seen much on the subject of detachment. Whats your take on how this would tie into a marriage (as in how I or another would obviously be attached to their spouse)
I walk through a vast desert. The air is dry and there is a swift wind. grains of loose sand fly away from their dunes A trudge on in the direction of the eastern sun though I see nothing ahead of me. The end of my tattered face wrap whips back and forth in the swift wind and I must shield my face with my arm. The bright eastern sun shows in a brilliant orange, It beats down and scorches the dry desert. My tattered clothes are littered with dust and the air around me is thick with its earthen smell. I am alone. However it is here in the grand solitude of my desert that I find my happiness, my peace is in this journey, and my journey is unending.

Offline Disney Land

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2011, 06:30:16 pm »
Traditionally, most Buddhist schools and methods take the self-power approach: progress along the path of Enlightenment is achieved only through intense and sustained personal effort. Because of the dedication and effort involved, schools of this self-power, self-effort tradition all have a distinct monastic bias. The laity has generally played only a supportive role, with the most spiritually advanced ideally joining the Order of monks and nuns. Best known of these traditions are Theravada and Zen.

Parallel to this, particularly following the development of Mahayana thought and the rise of lay Buddhism, a more flexible tradition eventually arose, combining self-power with other-power – the assistance and support provided by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to sincere seekers of the Way. Most representative of this tradition are the Esoteric and Pure Land schools. However, unlike the former (or Zen), Pure Land does not stress the master-disciple relationship and de-emphasizes the role of sub-schools, roshis/gurus and rituals. Moreover, the main aim of Pure Land – rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss through the power of Amitabha Buddha’s Vows – is a realistic goal, though to be understood at several levels. Therein lies the appeal and strength of Pure Land.
n Elder Master once said:
Those who skillfully discourse on Mind and Self-Nature surely can never reject Cause and Effect; those who believe deeply in Cause and Effect naturally understand the Mind and Self-Nature in depth. This is a natural development.
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Offline Myles

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2011, 06:37:31 pm »
I'm not sure how this ties into the idea of marriage but thank you :)
I walk through a vast desert. The air is dry and there is a swift wind. grains of loose sand fly away from their dunes A trudge on in the direction of the eastern sun though I see nothing ahead of me. The end of my tattered face wrap whips back and forth in the swift wind and I must shield my face with my arm. The bright eastern sun shows in a brilliant orange, It beats down and scorches the dry desert. My tattered clothes are littered with dust and the air around me is thick with its earthen smell. I am alone. However it is here in the grand solitude of my desert that I find my happiness, my peace is in this journey, and my journey is unending.

Offline t

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2011, 06:59:52 pm »
==Buddhist Views on Marriage ==
In Buddhism, marriage is regarded as entirely a personal, individual concern and not as a religious duty.

Marriage is a social convention, an institution created by man for the well-being and happiness of man, to differentiate human society from animal life and to maintain order and harmony in the process of procreation. Even though the Buddhist texts are silent on the subject of monogamy or polygamy, the Buddhist laity is advised to limit themselves to one wife. The Buddha did not lay rules on married life but gave necessary advice on how to live a happy married life. There are ample inferences in His sermons that it is wise and advisable to be faithful to one wife and not to be sensual and to run after other women. The Buddha realized that one of the main causes of man's downfall is his involvement with other women (Parabhava Sutta).Man must realize the difficulties, the trials and tribulations that he has to undergo just to maintain a wife and a family. These would be magnified many times when faced with calamities. Knowing the frailties of human nature, the Buddha did, in one of His precepts, advise His followers of refrain from committing adultery or sexual misconduct.

The Buddhist views on marriage are very liberal: in Buddhism, marriage is regarded entirely as personal and individual concern, and not as a religious duty. There are no religious laws in Buddhism compelling a person to be married, to remain as a bachelor or to lead a life of total chastity. It is not laid down anywhere that Buddhists must produce children or regulate the number of children that they produce. Buddhism allows each individual the freedom to decide for himself all the issues pertaining to marriage. It might be asked why Buddhist monks do not marry, since there are no laws for or against marriage. The reason is obviously that to be of service to mankind, the monks have chosen a way of life which includes celibacy. Those who renounce the worldly life keep away from married life voluntarily to avoid various worldly commitments in order to maintain peace of mind and to dedicate their lives solely to serve others in the attainment of spiritual emancipation.
Although Buddhist monks do not solemnize a marriage ceremony, they do perform religious services in order to bless the couples. Divorce Separation or divorce is not prohibited in Buddhism though the necessity would scarcely arise if the Buddha's injunctions were strictly followed. Men and women must have the liberty to separate if they really cannot agree with each other. Separation is preferable to avoid miserable family life for a long period of time.
The Buddha further advises old men not to have young wives as the old and young are unlikely to be compatible, which can create undue problems, disharmony and downfall (Parabhava Sutta). A society grows through a network of relationships which are mutually inter-twined and inter-dependent. Every relationship is a whole hearted commitment to support and to protect others in a group or community. Marriage plays a very important part in this strong web of relationships of giving support and protection. A good marriage should grow and develop gradually from understanding and not impulse, from true loyalty and not just sheer indulgence. The institution of marriage provides a fine basis for the development of culture, a delightful association of two individuals to be nurtured, and to be free from loneliness, deprivation and fear. In marriage, each partner develops a complementary role, giving strength and moral courage to one another, each manifesting a supportive and appreciative recognition of the other's skills. There must be no thought of either man or woman being superior -- each is complementary to the other, a partnership of equality, exuding gentleness, generosity, calm and dedication. Birth Control, Abortion and Suicide

Although man has freedom to plan his family according to his own convenience, abortion is not justifiable. There is no reason for Buddhists to oppose birth control. They are at liberty to use any of the old or modern measures to prevent conception. Those who object to birth control by saying that it is against God's law to practise it, must realize that their concept regarding this issue is not reasonable. In birth control what is done is to prevent the coming into being of an existence. There is no killing involved and there is no akusala kamma. But if they take any action to have an abortion, this action is wrong because it involves taking away or destroying a visible or invisible life. Therefore, abortion is not justifiable. According to the Teachings of the Buddha, five conditions must be present to constitute the evil act of killing. They are:
- a living being - knowledge or awareness it is a living being - intention of killing - effort to kill, and - consequent death

When a female conceives, there is a being in her womb and this fulfills the first condition. After a couple of months, she knows that there is a new life within her and this satisfies the second condition. Then for some reason or other, she wants to do away with this being in her. So she begins to search for an abortionist to do the job and in this way, the third condition is fulfilled. When the abortionist does his job, the fourth condition is provided for and finally, the being is killed because of that action.
So all the conditions are present. In this way, there is a violation of the First Precept 'not to kill', and this is tantamount to killing a human being. According to Buddhism, there is no ground to say that we have the right to take away the life of another.
Under certain circumstances, people feel compelled to do that for their own convenience. But they should not justify this act of abortion as somehow or other they will have to face some sort of bad karmic results. In certain countries abortion is legalized, but this is to overcome some problems. Religious principles should never be surrendered for the pleasure of man.
They stand for the welfare of the whole mankind. Committing Suicide Taking one's own life under any circumstances is morally and spiritually wrong. Taking one's own life owing to frustration or disappointment only causes greater suffering. Suicide is a cowardly way to end one's problems of life. A person cannot commit suicide if his mind is pure and tranquil. If one leaves this world with a confused and frustrated mind, it is most unlikely that he would be born again in a better condition. Suicide is an unwholesome or unskillful act since it is encouraged by a mind filled with greed, hatred and delusion. Those who commit suicide have not learnt how to face their problems, how to face the facts of life, and how to use their mind in a proper manner. Such people have not been able to understand the nature of life and worldly conditions. Some people sacrifice their own lives for what they deem as a good and noble cause. They take their own life by such methods as self-immolation, bullet-fire, or starvation. Such actions may be classified as brave and courageous. However, from the Buddhist point of view, such acts are not to be condoned. The Buddha has clearly pointed out that the suicidal states of mind lead to further suffering.
What Buddhists Believe-The Late Ven Dr K Sri Dhammananda

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2011, 07:12:35 pm »
I'm not sure if this is the same text that t cited above, or a different text from the same author:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/dhammananda/marriage.html

Overall, you can still become a monk at a later time, but ordination requirements are different from one sect to another.

Offline t

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2011, 07:31:01 pm »
Quote
Should my spouse die, is it possible to take up Monkhood, or does being married in the past keep a monastic order from accepting you?
From what I have read, heard and seen...
Yup it's possible to take up Monastic Ordination after one's spouse is deceased and even when one's spouse's is still alive, if they have given their consent for the dissolution of marriage or some just come to a mutual consensus between themselves without having to file the legal papers for divorce. So legally, they are still husband and wife but in real life, they have ceased to function as parties to a marriage. Normally this is done by couples who have advanced in age or have settled their marriage responsibilities of raising their children/other spouse up to the level of independence. 
'Ordination' when used in the traditional Buddhist sense, normally implies a Monastic setting and way of life where celibacy is a norm. But in some Buddhist Traditions, like the Tibetan and Japanese Buddhist based situations, 'Lay Ordination' is also possible where one can be an equivalent of a lay minister in a church, regardless of marital status. In the Buddhist environment, these are the Laity conferred with/entrusted with a certain level of commitments/vows/precepts like the Bodhisattva Vows in an Ordination context and service, empowered and authorised to do teaching of Dharma, some presiding over weddings and funerals and so forth. 

Quote
In my readings I have seen much on the subject of detachment. Whats your take on how this would tie into a marriage (as in how I or another would obviously be attached to their spouse)

Detachment has many levels of understanding and practice and progresses with one's spirituality. If some who feel that the path of marriage is what's best for their life, they are not compelled to think any less of themselves nor render themselves are incapable of practicing detachment. Some partners to a marriage have been known to be great examples of spirituality and virtue.
See: Samajivina Sutta       

Offline Myles

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2011, 07:38:24 pm »
Thanks youguys :D this is really helpful.  :hug:
I walk through a vast desert. The air is dry and there is a swift wind. grains of loose sand fly away from their dunes A trudge on in the direction of the eastern sun though I see nothing ahead of me. The end of my tattered face wrap whips back and forth in the swift wind and I must shield my face with my arm. The bright eastern sun shows in a brilliant orange, It beats down and scorches the dry desert. My tattered clothes are littered with dust and the air around me is thick with its earthen smell. I am alone. However it is here in the grand solitude of my desert that I find my happiness, my peace is in this journey, and my journey is unending.

Offline Caz

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2011, 07:43:34 am »
Hello everyone.

I'm about to get married in a couple months and my recent advent to Buddhism has raised some question about such things. How does Buddhism view marriage? Should my spouse die, is it possible to take up Monkhood, or does being married in the past keep a monastic order from accepting you? In my readings I have seen much on the subject of detachment. Whats your take on how this would tie into a marriage (as in how I or another would obviously be attached to their spouse)

Firstly congratulations Myles,  No certainly not monastic orders dont have a prohibitation on accepting people whom where previously married.
Detachment primarily deals with not letting your mind become disturbed by delusional afflictions it doesnt mean one should be cold or distant from others and nor does it prevent relationships from functioning but it is rather a training that helps us overcome suffering in the event that we should be faced with difficult circumstances and thus our mind will be undisturbed by things we like or things we dont like occuring and we shall keep our calm.  :pray:
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Offline J. McKenna

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2011, 06:58:48 pm »
Do what your Heart and Mind lead you to do.
 
Why matter what others think, they are 99.99% wrong.
 
See, even this is probably wrong ..... but no more than the other beliefs on the matter .........  :wink1:
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline pickledpitbull

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2011, 09:23:30 pm »
Interesting...not married yet, but already making plans to be a monk. 

Well, which is it?

If you plan to be married, then that should be your life plan.  Any and all plans you make for the future should include your spouse.
What if she dies?  Well, what if she dies and you're left with 5 kids?  What if your parents get sick?  What if you get sick?  What if, indeed?

My point is, if you plan to get married, that should be your devotion.  Not with "plan B", and not with your hand on the doorknob.  A marriage takes work and dedication.  There will be plenty of times when you will ask yourself, "Why didn't I become a monk?" (:teehee:), but you need to stay focused on your relationship with your family.

However, that doesn't mean that you can't be involved with your temple or community.  You can get married and still do many "monk-like" things.  For instance, the temple I go to has a food pantry, a project which builds homes in Central America for hurricane victims, Dharma courses, Inmate correspondence programs, and many other activities.  It's like having the best of both worlds.

Good luck with whichever path you choose.
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Offline heybai

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2011, 09:54:06 pm »
Interesting...not married yet, but already making plans to be a monk.  

Well, which is it?

If you plan to be married, then that should be your life plan.  Any and all plans you make for the future should include your spouse.
What if she dies?  Well, what if she dies and you're left with 5 kids?  What if your parents get sick?  What if you get sick?  What if, indeed?

My point is, if you plan to get married, that should be your devotion.  Not with "plan B", and not with your hand on the doorknob.  A marriage takes work and dedication.  There will be plenty of times when you will ask yourself, "Why didn't I become a monk?" (:teehee:), but you need to stay focused on your relationship with your family.

Ha.  The same line of thought crossed my post, but I think Myles has just been put in mind of Buddhist attitudes toward the marriage/non-marriage question since his upcoming wedding plans coincide with his interest in Buddhist tradition.

Congratulations, Myles.  Much happiness to you both.

Offline Myles

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2011, 09:22:45 pm »
I didn't mean to imply that I am waffeling between becoming a monk and marrying. I am new to Buddhism becoming a monk would take long consideration and I'm not ready for that. But I may want to in the future should I find myself without anyone else and I wanted to know the rules about that, but thank you for your input :)
I walk through a vast desert. The air is dry and there is a swift wind. grains of loose sand fly away from their dunes A trudge on in the direction of the eastern sun though I see nothing ahead of me. The end of my tattered face wrap whips back and forth in the swift wind and I must shield my face with my arm. The bright eastern sun shows in a brilliant orange, It beats down and scorches the dry desert. My tattered clothes are littered with dust and the air around me is thick with its earthen smell. I am alone. However it is here in the grand solitude of my desert that I find my happiness, my peace is in this journey, and my journey is unending.

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Marriage
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2011, 11:22:18 pm »
Not to mention, in this modern world of Buddhism, there are lay ministers. A Buddhist minister officiated my wedding. Heck, a lay priestess was my second preceptor... So marriage and the religious life are not mutually exclusive.

 


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