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"Right" spouse

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  • "Right" spouse

    Dear Venerable,

    Buddha encourages lay people to have same faith with their spouse but as far as I know Buddha did not talk about our spouse's livelihood. Someone's spouse, for example, works in an alcohol or wine company whose duty is to control the quality of the product before it can be marketed, this is obviously taking part in manufacturing and selling intoxicants which is not considered right livelihood according to Buddha.

    Did Buddha prohibit lay people to have a relationship or make such person our spouse?

    What is the purpose of looking for a spouse who has right livelihood? Is it for the sake of harmonious society or for the sake of spiritual development of both of them? Someone may have right livelihood but he or she is frequently engaging in unwholesome action, one day he or she will reap the consequences and if they see their loved one suffer they suffer too, we are not perfect. So, what is the difference?

    Buddha also tells us to associate with the wise. But if we are going back to the question, did Buddha actually prohibit lay people to have a relationship with such person, what will the best thing to do for Buddhists? Please share your thought Venerable, much appreciated. Thank you.
    Last edited by Steve Tanu; 1st-May-2020, 11:59 AM.

  • #2
    Dear Steve,

    Good to hear from you, it has been a while!

    The Buddha does not ‘prohibit’ a relationship with someone with a questionable vocation – in fact, there is no such thing as ‘prohibiting’ in the Dhamma. Its more the case of ‘if these things lead to your harm, or another’s harm, then do not follow it’.

    So, applying that principle, one has to carefully examine BOTH one’s heart and one’s head when making a decision – I too wish it were black and white!
    • I agree with you, if two people have different moral standards and world views, it would make the relationship difficult. But, perhaps with your influence, they will start to see through the eyes of the Dhamma?
    • This person might not be in such a great job-situation, but it might be out of a lack of choice, and only temporary.
    • Being in a relationship is challenging, as one has to learn to give up what one wants and think of someone else's needs. But this is good for our spiritual path!
    • In the end, time will tell. There is no need to make rushed decisions – see how the relationship matures. Remember to keep Dhamma principles in your mind (as you seem to do already), and may you be a good influence on each other.
    Good luck!
    With metta,
    Ven Upekkha

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