I Do?

A Buddhist struggles with impermanence vs. marriage

tamardaughterofdavid

06/28/2009 01:19:44 AM

Great article but why did it make me feel depressed? Is a husband/ wife just a boyfriend/girlfriend for this lifetime? I don't think so. Or why get married if death is just a divorce?

diamondgi

03/11/2008 09:30:49 PM

Tonite my lover and friend discussed this article; it was a fine foundation for a conversation… Yes, without a doubt, all who fall in love want it to last as long as possible… and yes any mindful person will also be honest with themselves knowing things change, my only question is… “does that mean change for the worse, fall apart, lost its beauty”… I don’t think so, it may, might, but this is not the end of all relationships… As for me and my lady we believe in the abundance, generosity, and love which is manifest in space and that it is up to us what will happen, not only in our next life, but in this very life and relationship… So we speak the things we desire, live awake, and walk with a purpose together, to do it well, very well indeed… So as for us, we have no choice, without fear, we love Big…

Togeika

12/07/2007 06:57:41 AM

Our late teacher, Dainin Katagiri Roshi performed our marriage ceremony. Our vows were simple. Went like this: We vow to be true to the Dharma. We vow to be true to each other. We vow to be true to ourselves.

Estheral

05/28/2007 12:22:19 AM

I found this article to be honest and beautiful. In fact, we may use some of the second page in our wedding vows in september!

sacreddance

10/10/2006 10:06:17 PM

Traditionally, Buddhism doesn't have a lot to do with marriages - it's considered a completely secular thing, like a business deal - "Buddhist marriage" makes as much sense as "Buddhist stock transaction". Still, it is possible to have Buddhist marriages. It is also possible to have Buddhist stock transactions.

mettakalyanamitta

09/03/2006 10:10:56 AM

This was a good article, but I don't feel it had a lot to do with Buddhism. The Lord Buddha felt it was wonderful to love but an unconditional love was most important. To not love the wrong things. On Buddhanet.net and Ajan has a great Dhamma talk about "What is love?" in the media files. This is off in terms of Buddhism but a good article otherwise.

etoro

08/21/2006 11:20:52 PM

This article does not reflect Buddhist wisdom but rather Buddhist confusion. To assume that there is no permanence of any kind within life itself is to totally misconstrue the wisdom of the Nirvana of the Buddha. Only when we live our lives in accord with the Buddha wisdom are we able to enjoy truly meaningful and permanent relationships. Here permanence means awakening to the meaning of deathlessness itself, a term which the Buddha employed often enough.

DeBernardi

08/16/2006 10:25:50 PM

Thich Nhat Hahn teaches a useful meditation. As you hold your lover in your arms, breath in "she is alive in my arms", breath out "she is dead in my arms." At first I found this to be a bit creepy, but soon I found it to be very soothing. It reminds me that I can love without harmful attachment.

zenmonk_genryu

08/07/2006 08:19:43 PM

This bit: "We were kind of embarrassed—yes, Buddhists are supposed to know that craving creates suffering, but I guess we still secretly hoped that a relationship could make us happy." A total misunderstanding of Buddhist teaching on relationships.

silence782

08/06/2006 05:18:17 AM

“Of course it can work. As long as you don’t expect it to make you happy.” Can anything in the sphere of human conscious make a person happy permanently? Better to kiss the joy as it flies, and enjoy the happyness you CAN get rather to expect total unending happines.

criddygaye

08/04/2006 03:20:19 PM

I think Susan "ideas" about relationships are right on the money. I know from personal experience, no one can complete us other than ourselves and yet our society seems to insist we are 1/2 a person without a companion. I love my partner but I am only able to truly love him because I know my I do not need him to complete me or validate me. I learned to love myself and that completed the circle.

Premika

08/04/2006 01:38:39 PM

"Would Buddha himself have been able to commit to marriage?" Actually, he did. Before he was Buddha, he was Prince Siddhartha, and married to Yahsodhara. Remember that? Sheesh! I'm not a Buddhist, yet even I know that! Right on, bardmountain! That's my favorite part of "The Prophet"!

jacknky

08/03/2006 12:52:28 PM

I agree with the last couple of posters. I didn't get the impression the article was a treatise on Buddhism but more an explanation of her personal experiences in marriage as a Buddhist. I got the impression that the author felt her marriage is enhanced by her Buddhist experiences.

newmoonemptysky

08/02/2006 03:38:55 PM

"Impermanence and non attachment don't mean one shouldn't be in a relationship, in fact understanding these things enhances a relationship." Reading the article, I never got the sense that the author was saying that one shouldn't be in a relationship, only that it's naive to expect a relationship... any relationship... to be either permanent or to ensure happiness. How is that incompatible with Buddhist thought?

rroze

08/02/2006 02:50:56 PM

I think this was a really good article. This is a woman who is obviously living and learning. It's a touch snobbish to criticize someone for not being "Buddhist" enough isn't it? We are all students in this life.

DennisCHP

08/02/2006 08:29:31 AM

I guess the best way to explain existance is to know why you exist. The bible teaches man was created in His image. Therefore man was created perfectly to have a one on one intimate relationship with God. The Eve got tricked by the devil and they both fell into sin and that is why no one can now have a 100% perfect relationship with another human. But we still can have an intimate relationship with the one who knew before we were knit within our mothers womb.

jd70

08/02/2006 08:05:19 AM

gerald_ford: My personal view is that the nature of existance as I perceive it is ever changing, but existance itself is beyond words. Yes, I agree that there are better things to ponder.

gerald_ford

08/02/2006 12:13:45 AM

I don't understand why Bnet keeps getting people to write on Buddhism who have no idea about it. Impermanence and non attachment don't mean one shouldn't be in a relationship, in fact understanding these things enhances a relationship. Amen, amen. That's exactly my point. :) ...and yes, BNet could try a little harder to find credible Buddhist writers. They have no trouble finding witty rabbis or ministers, why not ask a (professional) Buddhist priest/monk to do the same?

gerald_ford

08/02/2006 12:12:17 AM

If impermanent means ever changing I agree 100%, but alluding to existance as temporary is a statement I don't think we can make for I will ask you what is existance? Nope it means "ever changing". Buddhists don't speculate on the beginning or end of existence, if there is one. There's better things to ponder. ;)

jd70

08/01/2006 06:46:55 PM

jacknky: I just realized that my last post was a brain fart. I would say we are in agreement.

jd70

08/01/2006 05:00:06 PM

zenmonk_genryu: Scrap that last post. I see you were referring to the article.

jd70

08/01/2006 04:54:22 PM

zenmonk_genryu "I don't understand why Bnet keeps getting people to write on Buddhism who have no idea about it." I find Buddhism interesting, but there are aspects of it I do not understand and it is not immune to reasonable inquiry. Bnet did not ask me to write anything. I would definatly be open to your explenation impermanence if it is just ignorance on my part. I agree with non attatchment 100% though.

jd70

08/01/2006 04:47:58 PM

jacknky: I stand corrected. I though timpermanent meant not permanent. Yes, we live in a changing universe no doubt, weather it be in an everyday life or in nature as a whole. If impermanent means ever changing I agree 100%, but alluding to existance as temporary is a statement I don't think we can make for I will ask you what is existance? I am not trying to debate. I just think that it can only subjectivly be defined.

zenmonk_genryu

08/01/2006 04:30:05 PM

I don't understand why Bnet keeps getting people to write on Buddhism who have no idea about it. Impermanence and non attachment don't mean one shouldn't be in a relationship, in fact understanding these things enhances a relationship.

jacknky

08/01/2006 04:05:23 PM

jd70, OK, what do you see in your existence that isn't impermanent? "Infinite Universe" is a bit theoretical when the lady is talking about her everyday life but even so, what about infinity suggests "unchanging"?

jd70

08/01/2006 12:53:09 PM

"Of course existence is impermanent. DUH!" I don't think one can make that claim, unless they know what existance is. Do we mean physical existance?, existance of conscousness? String theory for instance would suggest an infinite universe. Do we mean impermanence within permanence?

zenwolf

08/01/2006 12:43:15 PM

We have to throw away the script and just begin to improvise. You’re playing you and I’m playing me. Go. Need anymore be said? Each time I have opened up, extended myself, accepted what was being offered to me, stepped beyond my comfort zone to embrace him, the structure has been reinforced. Then work at seeing the space doesn't exist. Constant expansion is still still working with a space. There is no builder, so the house disappears! Inna Peace

jacknky

08/01/2006 11:24:38 AM

"Of course existence is impermanent. DUH!" And yet we live our lives in denial of that little fact. How much more precious would each moment be if we truly were aware of its brevity? not morbid but more alive... I don't think this lady is too intellectual or needs a beer. I think she is very aware.

bardmountain

08/01/2006 09:26:38 AM

To quote The Prophet: "When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning." ..... "But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears."

gerald_ford

08/01/2006 12:53:01 AM

I believe this person has been thinking about this way too much. I too am a Buddhist *and* married, and each day I am with my wife is a day to be happy, not contemplate impermanence. Of course existence is impermanent. DUH! That's why it's good to enjoy each moment, each breath while it lasts. Buddhist teachings gratitude and humility, not cold sorrow. Some folks never seem to get it. :( People come and go in one's life, but they never really leave either. There's no real coming and going, as far as Buddhism is concerned. I think this person really needs to go have a beer and take it easy for a while. Life's too short to get hung up on the intellectual aspect of it.

oophelia46

07/31/2006 11:16:36 PM

I think the purpose of marriage is to create a safe haven to cultivate a family and move forward. If you have "impermanence", then your partner can leave for any reason, when things grow tough. Children should not be raised in an atmosphere of impermanence, and marriage gives us a place of acceptance where we can age gracefully. Our society is doing itself a great disservice by casting off marriage as not being a sacred, vital institution.

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