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Marriage or no marriage. - Dhamma Wheel

Marriage or no marriage.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
grasshopper
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Marriage or no marriage.

Postby grasshopper » Sun May 09, 2010 5:19 am

Greetings folks,

I am a 29 year old guy, single and straight. I have been in love and in a relationship ages ago, that is no longer there now, so I want to have a clear mind regarding the above topic before I start and/or fall into a relationship again if at all.

Unfortunately I am in a situation where I can not ordain so the 'dao' - so to speak - is that I will have to be living the life of a lay man. If one is going to live a life as a lay man, do you think it is best to live it as a married person as opposed to an unmarried one? I definitely am spiritually inclined.

Just like all humans I too am a social animal so I'd like to have a family to come back home to after work. Spend weekends together etc etc. But I can also see what I think are 'aadinawa' of a marriage. Two individuals sharing stuff is going to create conflict at least in a few things because everyone has their own individuality. If children come alone the way, then hardly any time is left to spend on stuff I want to do you know etc etc. Childrens' issues, in-laws issues can become another headache. Also, I feel life is boring at the core but people tend to add layers on top of it by doing stuff and marriage is just another layer to mask it. If my partner dies then I am back to square one giving me a double whammy dukka as then I will have to bear the grief of the loss of my partner. And there are 101 other things that could go wrong in a marriage. Why should I knowingly put myself in such a risky situation?

But on the other hand, if u live a single life you have this truck load of time to do nothing and that can get really lonely. I have been on retreats so I know how fun and lonely it can get at the same time. If you are a monk then at least you have fellow monks and lay ppl to hang out with etc. Sure one can engage in social work in your free time but then it becomes horribly boring day in day out dont you think? I mean how much social work can you do as a lay person?

So all the married and unmarried ppl out there, what do you think? Or is this not a black or white question like most other things in life?

Thanks very much in advance :)

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oceanmen
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby oceanmen » Sun May 09, 2010 5:51 am

marriage can give a spiritual booster to your life, at least the sexual needs(not desires) of the body are fulfilled,
and the time you spend meditating afterwards are much more powerful (thats my experience - before and after marriage)
not to mentioned how much skillful words and actions you can do within a marriage by relfecting on your disagreements should there be any
or by educating your kids about skillful and unskillful intentions, words and actions.
freedom is a state of mind - good luck with it and all the best

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun May 09, 2010 5:55 am

neither one is inherently better, they both have their share of suffering, i would recommend just finding what is right for you, finding what causes you more suffering and what leads you out of that suffering. the four noble truths can be applied to pretty much any direction in life, this is stress this leads to stress this is the ending of stress this is the path to ending stress.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Ben
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby Ben » Sun May 09, 2010 5:56 am

Greetings grasshopper and welcome to Dhamma Wheel!

My advice to you is, and this is the advice of a married man with children, make best use of the opportunities in your current situation to practice Dhamma deeply. And don't worry about the future.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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grasshopper
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby grasshopper » Sun May 09, 2010 6:43 am


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Wind
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby Wind » Sun May 09, 2010 8:04 am


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Ben
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby Ben » Sun May 09, 2010 11:13 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Mukunda
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby Mukunda » Sun May 09, 2010 5:34 pm


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oceanmen
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby oceanmen » Sun May 09, 2010 7:44 pm


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Dhammakid
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby Dhammakid » Sun May 09, 2010 9:13 pm

Sex is a need?

The definition of need is pretty straight-forward: necessary for survival. We can lie to ourselves all we want and justify fulfilling a desire by calling it a need, but the fact remains that, for the individual, sex is not necessary for survival, and therefore it is not a need.

Sex is the activity of samsara. It is the result of attachment to sense pleasure as well as an obvious representation of our craving for further becoming. The Buddha didn't command celibacy, nor did he discourage the laity from sex, but the Pali Canon is chock full of praises for the celibate, homeless life.

Keep in mind also that at a certain point in the path to liberation, one will develop a strong will to ordain.

Anjali,
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oceanmen
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby oceanmen » Sun May 09, 2010 11:31 pm


grasshopper
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby grasshopper » Mon May 10, 2010 12:05 am


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jcsuperstar
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon May 10, 2010 12:14 am

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Goofaholix
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby Goofaholix » Mon May 10, 2010 1:00 am

Sex is not a NEED, nobody died from lack of sex.

As to whether you should marry, do you know someone you'd like to marry? would they like to marry you?

If not the answer is easy, plan your life on the assumption you'll be single but be willing to change you plans should something come up.

Thebiggest difference you'll find once you have a family is that it is very difficult to spend a lot of time on retreat, or even in formal practice at home, so make the most of the time you have now.

plwk
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby plwk » Mon May 10, 2010 1:13 am


Anicca
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby Anicca » Mon May 10, 2010 1:17 am

The Buddha praises dispassion and renunciation. His dhamma is for those comfortable with being alone - not those uncomfortable with being alone.

Should you marry? Gotama did in the same lifetime that he reached enlightenment. In my mind - you should only if it is a kammic requirement. How will you know? Do not seek it - if it finds you - you will not be able to resist - but try to resist anyway! When you know you can't - marry.

Enjoy what life offers. Be as monk-ish a layman as you can be. Practice - practice - practice. Find wise company to socialize.

May you have a long life empty of regret.

grasshopper
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby grasshopper » Mon May 10, 2010 1:41 am


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Goofaholix
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby Goofaholix » Mon May 10, 2010 1:57 am

Being a renunciate does not prevent you looking after your parents in their old age, it can make living arrangements more complicated but it can be done.

Ajahn Viradhammo is a good example of a monk who has been looking after his mother for years.

Of course this doesn't do anything over their disappointment of not having grandchildren.

Looks like you might have a prospect worth looking into. For myself I realised that I probably would not be content as a monk unless I'd fully explored the possibility of having a married life, now it's too late.

I can't help but thinking that you are looking at all this back to front.

grasshopper
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Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 4:40 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby grasshopper » Mon May 10, 2010 2:05 am


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Dhammakid
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Re: Marriage or no marriage.

Postby Dhammakid » Mon May 10, 2010 3:45 am

I can't imagine how anyone would say that sleep is not a need. Sure, in the view of the Dhamma and the renunciate life, we probably don't need as much sleep as we currently get, but that doesn't mean we don't need sleep. Ariyans sleep. The Buddha slept. Without sleep, you will die. You need sleep.

Just as, in our practice, food is treated as a medicine for the illness of hunger, sleep is treated as a medicine for the illness of sleepiness. The patient should only take as much as needed.

Sex, on the other hand, is a sense pleasure. Attachment to sex comes from ignorance of the anicca characteristic of temporarily pleasurable phenomena. You don't need any amount of sex to survive in this lifetime. All the stress and tension released from sexual activity can be just as effectively released by other means, such as, oh I don't know, meditation.

"But not everyone has the luxury to be a renunciate."

I remember reading an article somewhere (can't remember the name or the author, sorry) stating that an Ariyan of any level will have already cultivated the good kamma to be born into a life situation favorable of the taking of robes. I have no proof or source, but if this is true, then that means my previous statement still stands: along the path to liberation, at some point one will ordain. I'm not saying one should take my word for it, but to me it makes sense: why would an Ariyan have any desire whatsoever to continue mundane lay life when they have tasted for themselves the freedom of renunciation?

I'm not dissing on lay life, but it's common knowledge among practitioners that ordaining is simply a better way to acheive the goal. This doesn't mean that all monastics are currently acheiving maximum benefit from the robes, because it definitely depends on the status of your practice. But there's no doubt that lay life presents many more obstacles to liberation than monasticism does. This is why the Blessed One spoke so highly of renunciation. He calls the Sangha the "incomparable field of merit for the world."

Again, no dogging on lay life, because I definitely enjoy the luxuries and privilege that goes along with being a householder (especially as a Westerner), but the challenges to my daily practice are too many to count. I yearn to one day take robes, even though I know it will probably never happen.

Just my thoughts.

:anjali:
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