Simply, marriage is a process that helps to unite two people. In a marriage, two people get together to starting a new part of their lives. That’s why it is consider as “the second birth of one’s life”. In such moment marriage a marriage connected cultures, religions and communities. Normally, marriage has two types.
- Love Marriage
- Arranged Marriage
Though both are marriages, the actions which happen before and after are different. After the marriage it becomes a part of couple’s lives. This article on “Buddhism and Marriage” will give you to valuable advice which can help you to lead a happy married life.
The Buddhist view
Every man who lives in this world, have to face several cut-offs from birth to death. Among such cut-offs the marriage is very important point. At the present, it seems to be failure among more ones. With the busy and more competitive lifestyles, some are dwelling at this point.
To success one’s life, marriage is very most important fact. As the Buddha says, when the exact time comes, a young girl and a boy should marry according to their procedures. A marriage is civilized unite of a couple. In Buddhism, Marriage is not regard as a religious duty nor as a sacrament that is ordained in heaven. It is considered as a personal and social obligation.
Sex and love
some people fall in love with each other with their beauty. According to the reality of the impermanence, one’s beauty fade away with aging. When beauty and youth start to fade away, as a flower becomes to fade away, one who considers only the physical aspects of love may think of acquiring another young one. This type of love is lust. If a one really develops love as an expression of human concern for another being, he or she will not lay emphasis only on the external beauty and physical attractiveness of their partner. Their beauty and attractiveness should be in their heart and mind, not what they see. The important thing is how much one can get rather than how much can one gives.
Sex is not an evil deed in Buddhism, but the temptation and craving for it invariably disturbs the peace of mind. In the ideal situation, sex is the physical culmination of a deeply satisfying emotional relationships, which both partners give and take equally.
When we look at the animal world, when they want to have sex, they show their love, but after having experienced sex it just forgets about love. Not as animals, we have much more to offer in the concept of love as human being. In here, duties and responsibilities are important ingredients to maintain unity, happiness, harmony and understanding in a relationship between human beings.
A married couple, does not be slave to sex. Those who have become slaves to sex would only ruin love and humanity in their marriage. Both can be equal in their necessity. Marriage for the satisfaction of the sexual appetite is no marriage.
Try to understand that, Love may indeed be a product of sex, but the reverse is likewise true sex is an expression of love. For a happy married life both love and sex are inseparable.
In the five percept if Buddhism, the third one is “I observe the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct”. They have responsible to abstain from sexual misconduct. Otherwise if one does sexual misconducts, his or her family will be a hell. Happiness, peace and harmony don’t reach to them. They have to suffering from physically as well as psychologically. Sexually transmitted infections bother them physically and with these suffering their mental health becomes zero. Such people can ruin other’s lives, families as well as a society.
Naturally young people like to indulge in worldly pleasures which can include both good and bad things. They do many good things like the enjoyment of music, poetry, dance, good food, writing and similar pursuits do no harm to the body. Every day they plan and think out ways and means to experience some kind of pleasure. According to the nature of existence, one will never be completely satisfied with whatever pleasure one experiences and resultant craving in turn only creates more anxieties and worries.
If one can realize the truth, he can understand that the life is nothing but a dream. In the end, there are only more worries, disappointments and frustrations. we may enjoy brief moments of pleasure. Therefore, we must try to find out what the real purpose of our lives is.
The need of marriage does not arise, when one ceases to crave for sensual pleasure and does not seek to find physical comfort in the company of others. Therefore, the outcome of craving, attachment and emotion of suffering and worldly enjoyment.
It is worth, if we try to control and suppress our emotions by adopting unrealistic tactics we create disturbances in our mind and in our physical body. So we must know how to handle and control our human passion. We can tame our same desires without abusing or misusing the passion, through proper understanding.
Don’t be slave to Emotions
There is a saying that “Love is blind”. Is it true? People in love, it tends to become completely oblivious of the darker side of each other’s natures.
In practically, a couple will try to highlight his or her sterling qualities to the other and being so engrossed in love, they tend to accept each other at “face value” only. Then they will not disclose the darker side of his or her nature for fear of losing the other.
Any personal shortcomings are discreetly swept under the carpet. But when people blind with emotions, they tend to ignore their partner’s faults, thinking that they will be able to correct them after marriage. Further they think that they can live with these faults, that “love will conquer all “. After marriage, as the romantic mood wears off, the true nature of each other’s character will be revealed. Then there will be much of disappointment of both parties. If the proverbial veil that had so far been concealing the inner most feelings of each partner is removed to expose the true nature of both partners.
Before the marriage, young girls should know about this
The Buddha has given advice to young girls. The Anguttara nikaya explains this valuable advice. The advice is still valid, though it old more than twenty five-centuries.
Young girls should realize that there could be difficulties with the new in-laws. The girls should give every respect to their mother in-law and father in-law. They should serve them lovingly as their own parents. They should honor and respect their husband’s relatives and friends. They have a major role to create a congenial and happy atmosphere in their new homes.
The Buddha has advised to them to study and understand their husband’s natures, characters and temperaments and to be useful and cooperative all times in their new homes. They should kind, polite and watchful to their husband’s earnings and see to that, all household expenditures were property administered.
Expectations of a husband and wife
The Buddha thought following expectations of a husband from his wife
- Family obligations
- The provision of meals
- When he is upset wife should be calm down down.
- Sweetness in everything
When a wife treats her husband from these expectations, husband should return,
- Good companionship
- Moral support
These emotional and sensual aspects are the solutions of every family problem. Mutual consultations between the husband and wife on all family problems would help to create an atmosphere of trust and understanding in solving whatever problem that may arise.
The Buddha’s advice to a wife,
A wife has major role in her married life to protect the peace and harmony. The Buddha’s advice was realistic and practical even today. according to Buddhism, a wife should,
- Not harbor evil thoughts against her husband.
- Not be cruel, harsh or domineering.
- She should be economical and live within her means.
- She should protect her husband’s hard earned earnings and property.
- Always should be attentive and chaste in mind and action.
- She should be faithful
- She should be refine in speech and polite in action.
- She should be kind, industrious and hardworking.
- She should be thoughtful on his husband as a mother.
- Should be modest and respectful.
- Should be cool, calm and understanding, serving not only as a wife but also as a friend and advisor in a need.
In the Majjima Nikaya, Sigalovada sutta, The Buddha advised to a wife as following,
- Performing her duties well.
- Showing hospitality to relatives.
- Being faithful to him.
- Watching over the wealth
- Discharging her duties with skill and industry.
These duties of a wife towards the husband were laid down in the Confucian code of discipline, it did not stress the duties and obligations of the husband towards the wife.
Some are very particular about having a son in the family. According to what the Buddha taught about the law of karma, one his responsible for one’s own actions and its consequences. When a son or a daughter is born is determined not by a father or mother, but the karma of child. As well as the well-being of a father or grandfather does not depend upon the action of the son or grandson. there, is it correct to blame a wife or for a man to feel inadequate why a son is not born. This point of Buddhism helps to correct the views of many people and naturally reduce the anxiety of woman who are unable to produce child to perform the “rites of the ancestors”.
The Buddha’s advice to a husband
The sigalovada sutta, further explains the duties of a husband to his wife,
- Showing her respect.
- Being courteous towards her (refraining from disrespect)
- Being faithful to her.
- Harding over authority to household management.
- Providing her with adornments.
That’s how a husband should always honor and respect his wife. He has a responsible to win his wife’s faith. Naturally women are clever at manage household duties. Therefore, husband should give her relevant authority to manage their house hold duties. She can do her duty as a home economic administrator. Husband should gift wife ornaments to make her happy. That’s how he should show his love to her.
When a husband providing her with adornments it is a symbolic of the husband’s love, care and attention showered on the wife. This symbolic practice has been carried out from time immemorial in Buddhist communities. Aren’t these valuable for today?
Do you wish your partner in next lives?
There was a couple in Buddha’s same period. They are Nakula Mata and Nakula Pitha. They spend a successful marriage life. They always lived in peace and healthy till their old. They never make problems among them. They never opposed their thoughts. One day they came to the Buddha and asked a question. They asked him “what they should do to live peace and harmony in their lives after the death like present life”. The Buddha replied with a great answer. He said that a couple should have same level of following noble qualities.
If one has discipline and other hasn’t, the disciple one cannot live with him. Both of husband and wife should have good morality. Both of them should abstain from killing living beings, abstain from stealing, abstain from sexual misconducts, abstain from lying and abstain from intoxication. That is the way to boosts their morality for successful family life.
Both of them should have wisdom in same level. wife as well as husband should honor to their religious teachings. Though husband strong physically that wife, in wisdom they should be in same level. If husband wise and wife is silly, then they cannot keep good household management. Husband’s earnings can be waste. It badly effects for their economic development. If wife is wise and husband is silly, it also an obstacle. Then husband cannot manage their economy. But he has a hesitation to accept wife’s advices. He pretends to make problems with wife and wife also concern he as a fool. The start to annoy them. If they have children, in such a situation it badly affects to them. And husband cannot his job properly. Then his mental health become loss day by day. That’s why they should have same level of wisdom in a marriage. Both of them should deal with wise, affection and honesty. Then they can build unshaken confidence among them.
Both should be faithful to each other. Trustworthy plays very important role in marriage life. If a couple living with mistrust, it will be a curse due to lack of understanding. They must ensure their trustworthy for each other. There should not be any secret, between husband and wife. When one creates a secret, it creates suspicion, suspicion leads to jealousy, jealousy leads to anger, anger causes enmity and enmity may cause to separation, suicide or even murder. Therefore, this is a very important point to marriage life. Therefore, both of them have a responsible to build an unshaken confidence.
Ones the Buddha said “that the trust is the best relative.”. You haven’t meet any relative than the “trust”. So both should have equal faith to defeat the mistrust.
A couple should have same level of generosity. If one has a generosity thought, other one should help to do it. for instance, if you help poor people as you can, it highlights your good morality of generosity. When one has such good thought if other one prevent you from it, then both them cannot cultivate a good morality. Such a thought will be an evil thought. That’s why you both should have same level if generosity.
If a couple live with this same levels, they can build a strong and successful marriage life. It makes you happy in this life. If you wish your partner in next births, that’s how you can reach to your wish.
The Buddhist view on Divorce and Liberty
Among the followers of different religions, Divorce is a controversial issue. Some believe that marriage is already recorded in heaven, therefore it is not right to grant a divorce. However, marriage life should not be a curse to someone. If a husband and wife really cannot live together, instead of leading a miserable life and more jealousy, anger and hatred, they should have the liberty to separate and live peacefully. without cursing other.
when we consider the view of marriage in Buddhism there is no low stating that a husband and wife should not be separated if they cannot live together harmoniously. But, if people can follow the above advice of the Buddha, to fulfill their duties towards each other, then divorce or separation will never happen in the first place.
In recently, divorce has become such a common practice. It has become fashionable. But, some seems to be proved of it. The main cause of the failure in marriage in today, is the abuse of freedom and too much independence and individualism on the part of the parents. They must have a limit to their freedom. Otherwise husband and wife will go astray very easily.
If a couple has children, they should try to make the divorce less traumatic for the children and help them to adjust to new situation. The most important thing is to ensure that their future and welfare will be taken care of. They have responsible no to lead children to a miserable life.
Have you seen in the animal world, some mothers and fathers who killed or maim their own babies? Are they deserve to be called mother or fathers? But in our human world, children are concern as symbols of parents’ love.
Parents’ and children’s relationship is the basis of all human society. They show their love on children from the day of their birth. Buddhists are taught parents should care of the child as the earth covers for all the plants and its creatures. Therefore, when we consider the marriage in Buddhism parental duties are very important point. The welfare of their children’s is the patents’ hope. If parents are worthy, children also become worthy.
There are Five duties that should be performed by parents according to Sigalovada sutta.
1. Dissuade Children from bad
Buddha named parents as the first teachers of children(pubbacariya). Children usually take elementary lessons in good and bad from their parents. Careless parents directly or indirectly import an elementary knowledge of lying, cheating, dishonesty, slandering, revenge, shamelessness and fearlessness for bad and immoral activities to their children daring childhood.
2. Exhort them to virtue
Parents are responsible for the future well-being of the children. They are, and they will be, what the adults are. They follow parents’ footstep. Therefore, children are influenced by parent’s thought, words and deeds. Simplicity, obedience, cooperation, unity, courage, honesty, service, self-reliance, kindness, good manners, religious zeal and other more virtues should be added to their minds.
3. Train them for a profession
A proper education is the best legacy that parents can give their children. There is no more valuable treasure. It is the best blessing that parents could give their children. Education should be imported to them, preferably from youth in a religious atmosphere. This will be a far-reaching effect for children.
4. Contract suitable marriage for them
Marriage is a solemn act that pertains to the whole lifetimes. Therefore, this union should be one that cannot be dissolved easily. Hence, marriage has to be viewed from every angle and in all its aspects to the sanctification of all parties before the wedding.
5. Hand over the inheritance in due time
Parents can’t keep their children for long time. They have to free them from their custody, when the time came. Therefore, they make preparations for children’s future comfort and happiness. They should hoard up treasure at personal discomfort and give them as fair to their children.
The point of marriage in Buddhism is not limit to a couple. It turns to the parents. That’s why The Buddha has given above advice for parents. That’s how parents teach their children and escort them to the society. If some seeds are dropped under a tree, plants might grow after some time. But if you want those plant to grow healthy and independent, you must transplant them to open ground somewhere else to grow separately, so that they are not hampered by the shade of the parent tree.
As responsible people in a society, parents should not neglect the ancient wisdom based on advice given by religious teachers, wise people and elders who have developed a knowledge of the world through their own trial and errors.
As the conclusion, a successful marriage is always a two-way path, just like “humpy-bumpy” It is always a mutual path. Husband and wife both should balance their married life with equal capabilities. when we became parents they should fulfill their responsibilities for the better world.
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