Dhamma-talk (at a marriage ceremony)
by U Jota Lankara

When your sister got married in April, my teacher Sayadaw gave a Dhamma-talk about a happy marital (married) life in detail.  Today you are getting  married. Following Sayadaw’s lead, I will briefly give some words of advice to both you and your partner. The most important factors for being a happy couple are love, faithfulness, tolerance, forgiveness, and moderation in spending.

Love is important for a couple because cultural and religious backgrounds are not so important as long as you love each other.  Love will lead you to have respect for each other's culture and religion.

Faithfulness is also important because you, husband and wife, won't have any problem in your marital relationship (married life) if you are faithful to each other.

Regarding the two other factors -- tolerance and forgiveness -- husband and wife should tolerate and forgive each other's short-comings because the human being's mind is not always pure.  For example, sometimes your bodily actions are bad, or not proper, but your speech, or verbal actions are good. Sometimes your speech, or verbal actions are bad, not proper, but your bodily actions are good. So you should tolerate each other's bad manners and practice forgiveness by remembering each other's good qualities.

The last one is moderation in spending.  Not spending more than your income is the last but not the least of the most important factors for being a happy, successful couple.  Your spending (expenses) should be in relation to your earnings and basic needs.  For example, in this country, you should not use your credit cards more than is necessary.

I firmly believe that any couple who has love, faithfulness, tolerance, forgiveness, and moderation in spending will be happy, successful, and peaceful perpetually.

The Buddha said, "Husband and wife should be faithful, respectful and devoted to each other, and they have certain duties to each other. (1) The husband should always honor his spouse and never be wanting in respect for her; (2, 3) he should love her and be faithful to her; (4) he should secure her position and comfort; and (5) he should please her by presenting her with clothing and jewelry.  (The fact that the Buddha did not forget to mention even such a thing as the gifts a husband should make to his wife shows how understanding and sympathetic were his humane feelings to ordinary emotions.)

(1) The wife, in her turn, should supervise and look after household affairs; (2) she should entertain guests, visitors, friends, relatives, and employees; (3, 4) she should love and be faithful to her husband;  (5) she should protect his earnings; and (6) she should be clever and energetic in all activities.

A man named DÊghajÈÓu once asked the Buddha, "Venerable Sir, we are ordinary lay men, leading the family life.  Would you teach us some doctrines, which will be conducive to our happiness in this world and hereafter?"

The Buddha told him that there are four things which are conducive to a man or person's happiness in this world: First, he should be skilled, efficient, earnest, and energetic in whatever profession he is engaged, and he should know it well (uÔÔhÈna-sampadÈ); Second, he should protect his income, which he has thus earned righteously, with the sweat of his brow (Èrakkha-sampadÈ); (This refers to protecting wealth from thieves, etc.) Third, he should have good friends (kalyÈÓa-mitta) who are faithful, learned, virtuous, liberal and intelligent, who will help him along the right path away from evil; and fourth, he should spend reasonably, in proportion to his income, neither too much nor too little, for example, he should not hoard (store secretly) wealth avariciously (greedily), nor should he be extravagant (wasteful especially of money or too costly) (samajÊvikatÈ).

The Buddha even went into details about saving money and spending it, for instance, when He told the young man Si~gÈla that he should spend one fourth of his income on his daily expenses, invest half in his business and put aside one fourth for any emergency. This is the Buddha's teaching about spending and saving one's income.

And then the Buddha expounds the four virtues conducive to a layman's happiness hereafter: (1) SaddhÈ: he should have faith and confidence in moral, spiritual and intellectual values; (2) SÊla: he should abstain from destroying and harming life, from stealing and cheating, from adultery, from falsehood, and from intoxicating drinks; (3) CÈga: he should practice charity, generosity, without attachment and craving for his wealth; (4) PaÒÒÈ: he should develop wisdom which leads to the complete cessation of suffering, to the realization of NibbÈna.

May both of you perpetually be a happy, successful, and peaceful couple.
May all beings be well, happy and peaceful.