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 together with thankfulness for the ways in which you have grown, acceptance that all things 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:

[ Related links: My Honeymoon Story, Real Security, Belated Wedding Offering ]

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