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Personal Ceremonies: Marriage

The Marriage Ceremony

Although wedding ceremonies have always been regarded as secular affairs in Buddhist countries, the parties concerned have nevertheless obtained the blessing from monks at the local temple after the civil registration formalities have been completed.

In view of the traditional importance that the marriage ceremony has in the West, moreover, local, and especially isolated Buddhists without access to a temple or a monk might well adopt the following service that could be performed by relatives and friends of the bride and groom:

(i) Before a shrine specially erected, complete with a Buddha image, candles and flowers, the bridal couple and assembly should recite the Vandana, Tisarana and Pancasila in English or Pali to be found in the Pali Chanting, with English translations

(ii) The couple should light the candles and incense sticks and offer the flowers placing them on and around the table on which stands the image.

(iii) The bride and groom should then, in turn, recite the traditional undertakings expected of them as found in the Sigilovdda Sutta (Digha Nikilya 3 1)

The bridegroom:

"Towards my wife I undertake to love and respect her, be kind and considerate, be faithful, delegate domestic management, provide gifts to please her."

The bride:

"Towards my husband I undertake to perform my household duties efficiently, be hospitable to my in-laws and friends of my husband, be faithful, protect and invest our earnings, discharge my responsibilities lovingly and conscientiously."

(iv) Finally, the assembly or perhaps the parents only, should recite the Mangala Sutta and Jayamangala Gatha as a blessing.

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