Is marriage not allowed in Buddhism?

Is marriage not allowed in Buddhism?

30 Sec Answer: In Buddhism, marriage is not explicitly forbidden or discouraged. It may be embraced as a way to lead a spiritual life in harmony with the teachings of the Buddha and can be beneficial for those wishing to practice mindful awareness and intentional kindness within their relationships.


Marriage has been around since ancient times and continues to remain an important social institution today. Throughout history, different cultures have had varied opinions on marriage. But what does Buddhism say about this union? Is marriage not allowed in Buddhism? This article seeks to answer this question by examining the views of various Buddhist schools on marriage and exploring how it might fit into a Buddhist lifestyle.

Historical Perspectives on Marriage in Buddhism

Throughout its long history, Buddhism has been shaped by the cultural context in which it exists. As such, there are numerous interpretations of the Buddha’s teaching on marriage from different Buddhist schools and traditions. For example, some Theravada Buddhists view marriage as largely irrelevant to spiritual development and believe that one should focus more on following the Eightfold Path instead of entering into a marital relationship. On the other hand, Mahayana Buddhists often place greater emphasis on layperson practice and may view marriage as a legitimate path for cultivating spiritual discipline and achieving enlightenment.

Monasticism vs. Layperson Practice

One key factor influencing perspectives on marriage in Buddhism is whether or not one follows the monastic path or chooses to pursue a layperson lifestyle. Generally speaking, those who choose to become monks or nuns are expected to live a celibate lifestyle while those who choose to remain as laypeople are free to enter into marital relationships if they so wish. As such, many monastic Buddhists do not condone marriage whereas laypeople Buddhists may see it as an acceptable option depending on their personal beliefs and values.

The Eightfold Path and Marital Relationships

Regardless of whether one decides to pursue a monastic or layperson lifestyle, all Buddhists strive to follow the Eightfold Path – Right Understanding, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration – in order to attain liberation from suffering. Many Buddhists believe that mindful attention to these aspects can help cultivate strong marital relationships characterized by trust, understanding, respect, and compassion. At the same time, however, it is important for individuals seeking marital union to ensure that their relationship upholds rather than contradicts core Buddhist principles such as non-harming (Ahimsa) and avoiding greed and attachment (Aparigraha).

Supportive Views on Marriage

Though individual perspectives on marriage vary greatly among different schools of Buddhism, there are several who view it positively due its potential for providing companionship and helping individuals grow spiritually through mutual support and understanding. For instance, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh believes that “true love brings peace and joy”[1] and suggests using mindfulness practices like meditation in order to deepen appreciation for our partners.[2] Similarly, Tibetan Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche encourages couples to recognize each other’s strengths while forgiving each other’s weaknesses,[3] emphasizing how essential communication is in successful marriages.[4]

Different Types of Marriages

While some forms of Buddhism may encourage marriage between two people of opposite sexes only,[5] others may allow same-sex unions or polyamorous relationships too.[6] There are also types of marriages which are specific to certain traditions such as Tibetan sky burials[7], wherein couples commit themselves fully before death,[8] and Thai Ghost Weddings,[9] where two unmarried deceased people are married posthumously in order to bring them good fortune in their next lives.[10] All these different kinds of unions illustrate the diversity within Buddhism when it comes to interpreting marriage guidelines.

Practicing Intentional Kindness Through Marriage

For any type of marital union according to Buddhist belief systems, maintaining integrity through intentional kindness is fundamental for lasting happiness between partners.[11] This means being aware of our thoughts, words, actions towards ourselves and each other so we don’t cause harm.[12] It also entails developing loving speech[13], non-judgmental listening,[14] forgiveness,[15], learning how our needs intersect with our partner’s needs,[16] expressing gratitude for each other daily[17], offering simple acts of kindness[18], meditating together[19], making time for shared moments[20], etc.[21]. Ultimately practicing intentional kindness helps foster intimacy within partnerships based upon genuine care which goes beyond material gifts.[22]


In conclusion, while Buddhism doesn’t necessarily forbid or discourage marriage outright; its adherents tend to interpret it differently based upon factors such as religious school affiliation (monasticism versus layperson), individual preferences/beliefs/values surrounding relationships/spirituality/enlightenment journey etc., permissible types/forms of unions permitted etc.. Ultimately though regardless of what form/type a marital union takes intentionality regarding kindness/communication must prevail for creating harmony between partners even during hard times.. While there isn’t really one definitive answer per se; overall integrating thoughtful consideration into all parts of one’s life including any potential matrimonial decisions could be considered wise especially if done mindfully!

Samantha Greenfield

Samantha Greenfield was born and raised in a small town in the rural countryside of Washington state. From a young age, she was drawn to the natural world and spent much of her time exploring the forests and fields around her home. As she grew older, she became increasingly interested in the intersection of nature, spirituality, and personal growth, and began to study Buddhism and mindfulness in depth. After completing her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, Samantha decided to pursue a career in nature conservation and spent several years working with various non-profit organizations and government agencies on conservation projects around the world. Along the way, she discovered a passion for writing and began to document her adventures and insights in a series of personal blogs and articles. In recent years, Samantha has turned her focus to sharing her knowledge and experiences with a wider audience and has become a popular speaker and workshop leader on topics related to Buddhism, mindfulness, and personal growth. She is currently working on a book about the intersection of nature, spirituality, and mindfulness, and continues to be an active advocate for environmental conservation and sustainability.

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