Defending Dharma: Confronting Misguided Monastic Discourse on Marriage in Buddhism
Posted on June 6th, 2024

By Palitha Ariyarathna

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From the Buddhist point of view, marriage is neither holy nor unholy. Buddhism does not regard marriage as a religious duty nor as a sacrament that is ordained in heaven. A cynic has said that while some people believe that marriage is planned in heaven, others say that it is recorded in hell also! Marriage is basically a personal and social obligation; it is not compulsory. Man and woman must have the freedom either to get married or to remain single. This does not mean that Buddhism is against marriage. Nobody in this world would say that marriage is bad, and there is no religion that is against marriage. Practically all living things come into being as a result of sex life. Among human beings, the institution of marriage has come about so that society guarantees the perpetuation of the human species and also ensures that the young would be cared for. This is based on the argument that children born through the pleasure of sex must be the responsibility of the partners involved, at least until they have grown up, and marriage ensures that this responsibility is upheld and carried out.

However, a few current Buddhist Monks almost four to Six are advocating in society that one should not seek to get married, as they believe that after becoming parents, children do not take good care of their parents, rendering marriage a waste of time. Conversely, some monks assert that Sinhala Buddhists must not marry due to the belief that the sexual organs of women contain unnecessary impurities.

In Buddhist teachings, impurity is not solely associated with any specific gender or sexual organs.The concept of impurity is more broadly linked to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara) and the inherent suffering (dukkha) that comes with it. In some cases, certain monks may hold patriarchal attitudes that prioritize men over women, leading to discrimination or objectification of women.

However, it’s essential to recognize that such attitudes are not inherent to Buddhism or any other religious tradition. The core teachings of Buddhism emphasize compassion, equality, and non-discrimination. The Buddha himself advocated for the full participation of women in the monastic community and taught principles of respect and kindness towards all beings.

In Buddhism, the concept of “impurity” or “impure birth” is often associated with the idea of samsara, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. According to Buddhist teachings, every being in samsara is subject to suffering due to their attachment to the impermanent and ever-changing nature of existence. The idea of impurity at birth can be interpreted in several ways within Buddhist philosophy, Karma, Ignorance -Avidya, Attachment and Desire. So, the birth of every single human, within the Buddhist framework, is marked by the impurity of being born into samsara, with its inherent suffering and impermanence.

the Buddha did not explicitly state that the sexual organs of women (or men) contain unnecessary impurities. In fact, the Buddha’s teachings emphasize a compassionate and egalitarian view of all beings, regardless of gender.

However, it’s important to note that ancient Buddhist texts, particularly those from cultural contexts influenced by patriarchal norms, might contain passages or interpretations that appear to discriminate against women. These passages are often reflective of the societal attitudes prevalent at the time rather than the core teachings of Buddhism.

The Buddha’s teachings focus on the universal nature of suffering, the causes of suffering, and the path to liberation from suffering, which are applicable to all sentient beings regardless of gender. The Buddha encouraged his followers to cultivate qualities such as loving-kindness, compassion, generosity, and wisdom, without distinction based on gender or any other characteristic.

According to popular Buddhist beliefs, there are no such restrictions described by Buddha under the Dhamma about Familty Life, but when deeply observed about these type of Buddhist monks we can see These differences can arise due to various factors such as cultural influences, individual interpretations, or the emergence of new movements or schools of thought within Buddhism.

Many traditional Buddhist monks do not advocate for abstaining from marriage, as it’s a concept deeply ingrained in several religious traditions, even during the time of the Buddha. Unfortunately, if Sinhala Buddhists cease to exist, or if they do not sacrifice their lives to protect Buddha Dharma, it is feared that the essence of Buddha Dharma, especially Theravada Buddhism, will disappear.

In contrast, Buddhist monks currently depict the challenging reality of family life, emphasizing the importance of following a devoted path exclusively and not even considering married life, forming partnerships, or engaging in sexual conduct in order to attain enlightenment. However, within this context, these newly emerged ‘New Type Monks’ believe that having children from such family life is considered antithetical to achieving Nirvana.

These new perspectives suggest that bearing children contradicts the pursuit of “Nirvana,” a concept not explicitly outlined by Buddha. The absence of offspring could potentially challenge the essence of Buddha Sasana, as it may signify a lack of successors to continue the tradition of becoming Buddhist monks.

It is imperative that these monks suffering from a possible delusional syndrome seek mental health treatment and governmental intervention to address this collective problem against Buddha Sasana. Mainstream Buddhist monks and leaders must scrutinize these emerging Buddhist monks and question the validity of their assertions, as abstaining from married life and procreation is not synonymous with achieving Nirvana. Finally, they must take immediate action to remove monks advocating against marriage for the sake of sustaining Buddha Sasana, under the law of the Bhikku and under the law of Buddha Sasana Law.

The Anguttara Nikaya contains valuable advice given by the Buddha to young girls prior to their marriage. One important aspect of Buddhism is that the Buddha did not impose any religious laws or commandments. The Buddha was a unique teacher who had set out a number of disciplinary codes for us to uphold according to our way of life. One should try to understand the nature of worldly life. According to Buddhist teaching, in a marriage, the husband can expect the following qualities from his wife: love, attentiveness, family obligations, faithfulness, child-care, thrift, the provision of meals, to calm him down when he is upset, sweetness in everything. In return, the wife’s expectation from the husband is: tenderness, courtesy, sociability, security, fairness, loyalty, honesty, good companionship, moral support.

Moreover, the Buddha offered profound advice to Nakula Matha and Nakula Pita, an elderly couple devoted to each other. When they expressed their concern for each other’s well-being, the Buddha advised them on the impermanence of the body and the nature of aging. He encouraged them to support each other in their spiritual journey, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect, understanding, and companionship in marital life.

Apart from these emotional aspects, some religions are not in favor of family planning, stating it goes against the will of God. Buddhism does not interfere in this personal choice. Laymen are advised in the Buddha’s Teaching to avoid sexual misconduct. Buddhism or Buddha never says you shouldn’t marry and you will become Nirvana. This is a misconception spread by uninformed new monks seeking popularity, which can potentially endanger the very existence of Buddha Sasana.

By Palitha Ariyarathna

Analyst of Buddhist affairs, Desha Abhimani Surya Vansa Ratna Vibhushan Palitha Ariyarathna from Senkadagala Sinha Dwaraya
TCFBI PEC President Unethical Conversion of Buddhist
TCFBI International Co-ordinator
JBB Convenor and President and Founder Sinhala Buddhst Policy Centre
Hela Abimani National Foundation-Secretary
Author Publisher and Journalist

In this thought-provoking video by Dr. Rathansiri Babdara, a topic related to the misleading concept of family life led by Buddhist monks is briefly summarized.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L53yFtoyk_Q&t=5s

ඉදිරි දස වසර තුල භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේලා 25000අහිමි වන ලක්ෂ 4.5 ඡනයා අහිමි කරවන උපත් අඩුවීම www.youtube.com

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