In Buddhist countries wedding ceremonies are not conducted in temples; and there is no “Buddhist” wedding ceremony or ritual as such.
At weddings with Buddhist influences, there are many ways of speaking about your relationship that reflect your respectfulness, your individual responsibility, your compassion, your loving-kindness and your love for all beings.
Together we can bring a Buddhist influence to your celebrations by developing some beautiful, pertinent paragraphs for your ceremony as well as your vows . . . . . . . . . .
Some ways to incorporate Buddhist elements into your ceremony:
- To begin your ceremony you could respectfully offer a fine cloth or a long necklace of flowers to each other. Then you could gesture, in the eastern/ Buddhist way – with 2 hands together at your heart – and say “I honour the highest qualities (the Buddha) within you” or similar.
- Your promises (vows) could be in the form of a request from your heart to your beloved for something/s you want their help with, then a response from them. For example ‘I recognise your ability to be calm in the face of difficulties and I want to learn to do the same. Will you help me/be my teacher/“be there for me” as I learn?’ And your beloved answers from their heart – ‘Yes’; or ‘I’ll let you know everything I’ve learnt so far’; or ‘I’m still working on that myself but soon I’ll be able to help you’. Or something along those lines. As each of you give your response you’re offered a special gift, symbolic of the promise and a reminder of the commitment.
- After your promises, you can tie a fine cord loosely around each other’s hand or neck as a symbol of the connection between you, your interdependence and the paradoxes of the freedom and security within the boundary of your relationship.
- There are Buddhist readings and blessings that are suitable for inclusions in wedding ceremonies such as quotes from His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet or the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. There’s also poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke and Kahlil Gibran.
NUNS & MONKS
If you’d really like to have a nun or a monk take part in your ceremony – especially if they’re your teacher or mentor or spiritual friend – then we can work together to make that involvement meaningful to all.