Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:38 am

Thanks guys for your replies.

Gaoxing:
No worries. I sometimes think that I am too unskilful for marriage, but here I am, still married for nearly 20 years. But being Buddhist doesn't mean that we are perfect, just walking on the path to perfection. Its something that I think a lot of Buddhists should keep in mind.

Paul:
Yes, I understand that there may be some logical leaps in the OP and that it is an artefact of cultural and LOTE modes of communication. Some of the points Sachin contends - I would respectfully disagree with him or add so much in the way of qualifier as to make it meaningless.
Hence, I attempted to refocus the discussion not so much on the letter of the OP, but the spirit.

Jack:
Thanks. Absolutely. I agree that many things can be opportunities for kammathana. Part of the inspiration for the thread has been my long-held attitude that life as a lay person is not second rate. And its a message that I try to communicate to those who may be seeking ordination thinking its the "be all and end all" on the path to the eradication of the defilements and that lay life does provide great opportunities for spiritual growth that may not be the same for those who remain as single lay practitioners or monastics. And I am the first to agree that not all marriages or LTRs are equal in their opportunities for spiritual growth.
kind regards,

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jun 16, 2013 3:42 am



I have the above lines in this video quoted in my Buddha's Lists book as I remember laughing so loud when I first heard it. Of course it is mentioned for some levity, but there is also some truth to it. There are many opportunities to learn from our partner, to learn from our mistakes. And what a good way to cultivate brahma-viharas, for example karuna and metta so that our attachment is not too strong or too tight or controlling; upekkha during those confrontational times and mudita when the partner is praised or surpasses you in some endeavor (as opposed to jealousy).
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 16, 2013 3:59 am

Thank you, David.
The video was funny. And I agree, marriage can be a potent opportunity to develop the brahmaviharas but also the paramitas and sila. But I guess it depends on the individuals involved and the dynamic between them whether those opportunities and intention manifest themselves.
kind regards,

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby binocular » Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:37 am

retrofuturist wrote:That said, we're all in the same boat, lay or ordained,

No. Some people think their Dharma is better than anyone else's.
:p
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby PadmaPhala » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:55 am

what if she isn't on the boat/stream?
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:26 am

PadmaPhala wrote:what if she isn't on the boat/stream?

What if she is?
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby barcsimalsi » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:15 am

In Asia, there are many stories about buddhist bachelor finding wife(mostly ladies from poor rural community) simply for the purpose of having someone to take care of their business and household so they themselves can devout their time more on practicing the dhamma.

My first impression to this is it will be quite unfair for their spouses. And the response i got is "as long as they treat their wife good, all is good".

Though a little off topic i like to know what you guys think about this.
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:29 am

barcsimalsi wrote:Though a little off topic i like to know what you guys think about this.


A wife (or husband) should be an equal partner, not a servant. However, if it is understood and agreed from the beginning that the spouse will be taking care of the business and be able to earn a decent income and taken out of poverty, while the other spouse is devoted to Dhamma activities, I suppose that would not be so bad (not like he is going off to another woman).
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby Digity » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:06 pm

Did the Buddha ever espouse marriage as a path to Nibbana? If so, I'm not aware of it. I think marriage isn't wrong, but it can lead to a great deal of entanglement and takes ones time away from practicing meditation, etc. That's why I chose not to ever get married.
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby PadmaPhala » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:22 am

Ben wrote:
PadmaPhala wrote:what if she isn't on the boat/stream?

What if she is?


perfect marriage?
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby binocular » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:35 am

barcsimalsi wrote:In Asia, there are many stories about buddhist bachelor finding wife(mostly ladies from poor rural community) simply for the purpose of having someone to take care of their business and household so they themselves can devout their time more on practicing the dhamma.
My first impression to this is it will be quite unfair for their spouses. And the response i got is "as long as they treat their wife good, all is good".
Though a little off topic i like to know what you guys think about this.

I find such an arrangement quite acceptable.
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby nem » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:15 am

i was married 'officially'' for a decade, and now I have been seperated for 2 years after that. So, my thoughts and experience:

I think maybe, marriage and family is really the true proving ground for the realization of Anatta. Although I respect the Buddha and the Sangha immensely for the teachings, I would have be even much more convinced if these people had been able to achieve arahant status within the confines of a relationship to spouse and family . Because, I know from being on retreat in monastic settings that it's easy to become saturated with the Dhamma away from 'real' life..but what happens when we enter into 'real' life and how do we apply and understand the Dhamma there?

The monastic setting, does not have the interpersonal challenges equal to those in marriage and family life, where people are confronting you, in a big way, constantly with worldly concerns, day after day and moment after moment. I am maybe devout in my admiration of the Buddha doing prostrations and everything else due to trust, honor and repect. But, the Buddha always asked people to question his Dhamma. I wonder, whether the Buddha could have maintained his composure, by returning to the family life after his enlightenment. Living in that life, versus the controlled monastic environment is 2 different things.

People often ask, how would the Buddha react if he was stuck living working in McDonald's with some trash life, and trash wife, and I do wonder about whether an arahant, or even a Buddha stay in that life without aversion to run from Mc D's to the monastery? Would he stay there in McDonald's without aversion, living with your crappy job and crappy family? There is no space between these, so one might ask about these questions.The cashier at McDonald's might be an arahant, and we don't know it. Instead we go and and study with monastics that live in a nice controlled and insulated life, free from the world. So...who understands the Dhamma better, the monastic who is esteemed and living in seclusion training in Buddhist teachings his whole life, or the McDonald's cook who has been passing through the fires his whole life, married to some crazy women and having some crazy children, to realize the Dhamma first-hand? And no, I don't work at Mc Donalds like the example and am an engineer but realize it's the same thing......married people have a much crazier life and much more tribulation than monastics and I wonder if arahants could really survive in this environment if they were forced into it.
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby PadmaPhala » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:50 pm

Buddha Shakyamuni was married to Yasodhara [sp?]... before his renunciation of worldly concerns.
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Re: Is marriage a path to Nibbana?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:38 pm

nem wrote:....and trash wife....crappy family.... married to some crazy women and having some crazy children.



I wonder why I'm getting the impression that there's not much respect for women here.....and if children are 'crazy' it's possible that it can be a reflection of both their parents and the environment in which they're brought up.


:coffee:
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