Interfaith Wedding Vows
Jul 1, 2004
In June of 2004, when Guri and I decided to get married, we came up with seven reasons to get married. On the first day of the seventh month, day before Guru Purnima, we participated in an interfaith blessing ceremony -- 9 faiths, including athiest! -- at the Berkeley Buddhist monastery, where we publicly shared those vows:
- Do you, Nipun and Guri, pledge to help each other in developing your hearts and minds,
cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm,
concentration and wisdom, as you age and undergo the various ups and downs
of life, and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy and
equanimity? Do you pledge to grow in dharma?
- Do you pledge to support each other's journey, to continually
shine light on each other's virtue, and support individual
intuitions, even when it doesn't directly benefit yourself? Do you
pledge to reinforce and complement each other's virtue?
- Understanding that just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each
person is also a mystery to us. Do you pledge to seek to understand
yourselves, each other, and all living beings, to examine your own minds
continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with openness and
joy? Do you pledge to trust the inexplicable ways of the universe?
- Do you pledge to work for the welfare of others, with all of
your compassion, wisdom, and skill? Do you pledge to remember the
harmfulness of ignorance, anger and
clinging attachment, to apply antidotes when these arise in your minds,
to recall the kindness of all other beings and your connection to
them? Do you pledge to be an instrument of selfless service?
- Recognizing that the external conditions in life will not always be
smooth and that internally, your own minds and emotions will sometimes get
challenged by negativity, do you pledge to see all these circumstances as
opportunities to grow, to open your hearts, to accept yourselves,
and each other? Do you pledge to be real, in all situations?
- When it comes time to part, do you pledge to reflect on your time
thankfulness for the ways in which you have grown, acceptance that all
are temporary and empty of inherent satisfaction, and joy that you met and
shared what you have? Do you pledge to
cultivate gratitude for the boundless gifts you have received?
- Do you pledge to preserve and enrich your affection for each other,
and to share it with all beings? To take the loving feelings you have for
one another and your vision of each other's potential and inner beauty as
an example, and rather than spiraling inwards and becoming self absorbed,
to radiate this love outwards to all beings? Do you pledge to expand
your family to include all living beings?
We came up with these vows (in bold), rather spontaneously, the night we decided to get married. Some of the elaborate verbage was based on Lama Thubten Yeshe's wedding prayer in 1979. Since posting these vows online, many unknown friends from around the globe have joined in the spirit of these principles in a myriad of ways. Both Guri and I feel honored to be a small part of such blessed unions.
The unique wedding video, a surprise gift by some filmmakers friends at our ceremony, provides a memorable view into that week's unfolding too: