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Buddhist Views on Marriage

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In Buddhism, marriage is regarded as entirely a personal, individual concern and not as a religious duty.


arriage 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 interdependent. 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

there is a violation of the First Precept 'not to kill'. Abortion and Suicide Although man has freedom to plan his family according to his own convenience. abortion is not justifiable. calm and dedication. There is no reason for Buddhists to oppose birth control. people feel compelled to do that for their own convenience.But if they take any action to have an abortion. Therefore. So all the conditions are present. each manifesting a supportive and appreciative recognition of the other's skills. After a couple of months. and to be free from loneliness. each partner develops a complementary role.intention of killing .consequent death When a female conceives. deprivation and fear. Committing Suicide Taking one's own life under any circumstances is morally and spiritually wrong. exuding gentleness. she knows that there is a new life within her and this satisfies the second condition. A person cannot commit suicide if his mind is pure and tranquil. There is no killing involved and there is no akusala kamma. Those who object to birth control by saying that it is against God's law to practise it. this action is wrong because it involves taking away or destroying a visible or invisible life.understanding and not impulse. the fourth condition is provided for and finally. it is most unlikely that he would be born again in a better condition. Suicide is a cowardly way to end one's problems of life. and this is tantamount to killing a human being. They are: . five conditions must be present to constitute the evil act of killing. Under certain circumstances. So she begins to search for an abortionist to do the job and in this way. and . Then for some reason or other. a partnership of equality. If one leaves this world with a confused and frustrated mind. There must be no thought of either man or woman being superior -. she wants to do away with this being in her.knowledge or awareness it is a living being . In this way. They stand for the welfare of the whole mankind. must realize that their concept regarding this issue is not reasonable. the third condition is fulfilled. In birth control what is done is to prevent the coming into being of an existence. According to the Teachings of the Buddha. the being is killed because of that action. Suicide is an unwholesome or unskillful act since it is encouraged by a mind filled with greed. Taking one's own life owing to frustration or disappointment only causes greater suffering. In certain countries abortion is legalized. They are at liberty to use any of the old or modern measures to prevent conception. there is no ground to say that we have the right to take away the life of another.a living being . there is a being in her womb and this fulfills the first condition. Religious principles should never be surrendered for the pleasure of man. But they should not justify this act of abortion as somehow or other they will have to face some sort of bad karmic results. Birth Control. The institution of marriage provides a fine basis for the development of culture. generosity. hatred and delusion.effort to kill. In marriage. a delightful association of two individuals to be nurtured. Such people have not been able to understand the nature of life and worldly . from true loyalty and not just sheer indulgence. giving strength and moral courage to one another. but this is to overcome some problems. how to face the facts of life. Those who commit suicide have not learnt how to face their problems.each is complementary to the other. According to Buddhism. and how to use their mind in a proper manner. When the abortionist does his job. abortion is not justifiable.

Thankful Reference: http://www.conditions. such acts are not to be condoned.buddhanet. Such actions may be classified as brave and courageous.htm . The Buddha has clearly pointed out that the suicidal states of mind lead to further suffering. or starvation. from the Buddhist point of They take their own life by such methods as self-immolation. bullet-fire. However. Some people sacrifice their own lives for what they deem as a good and noble cause.