Customs and Rituals

Are there Buddhist rituals of marriage?

Marriage has generally not been an important religious rite of passage in Buddhist tradition. Perhaps that is because of the great emphasis on the centrality of monastic life. In various regions of Asia, other religious traditions supply the devotional settings associated with new beginnings. In Japan, for example, people generally either associate marriage with Shinto or consider it a purely civil ceremony. Some do use Buddhist symbolism in their wedding ceremonies. That might include, for example, offering incense, and receiving the rosary as a reminder of a union witnessed before the Buddha. In the United States and some other regions where Buddhist missionaries have more recently introduced the tradition, Buddhists often use a modified Protestant ceremony. Held either outdoors or in a temple, the service may include brief readings from scriptures on the theme of compassion, a period of silent meditation, and a short sermon from the officiating priest or minister. An officiating monk or priest might also chant prayers from a scripture.


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