buddhism ceremony

In Buddhism, marriage is a secular arrangement, so there is no prescribed ceremony or liturgy. This leaves a lot of leeway for the couple to make the ceremony personal to them, as long as it doesn’t contradict the spirit of the dharma or the teachings of the Buddha. 


A priest or Buddhist preceptor usually conducts the ceremony, though in some cultures, the union may be blessed by a monk (for the wedding to be legal in the United States, make sure the officiant is ordained).


You’ll find that most Buddhist officiants - priests and monks - are flexible with the ceremony location. Wherever the marriage takes place, incense is typically used, so confirm with the venue that this is allowed.


Items to include:

  • A shrine that holds flowers

  • A candle

  • Incense

  • Image of Buddha

  • Possibly a bowl of fruit

  • Sutra Chant - a means of expressing gratitude to Buddha

  • Some priests emphasize the six virtues, or paramitas, as a way of cultivating and maintaining a relationship - flowers for exertion, incense for patience, a candle for meditation, perfumed water for discipline, food for generosity, and music for knowledge


Although Buddhist priests are open to many traditions, some oppose the use of a unity candle because Buddhists value and respect individual differences in marriage and don’t subscribe to the notion of two people having to become one.

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