My boyfriend has to become a monk because his grandma passed

posted 1 year ago in South East Asian
Post # 16
Member
1888 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I’m sorry, that sucks. I get where you’re coming from. Supporting him, but disliking it. 

 

It will be over soon!!

Post # 19
Member
3556 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Mlim :  i wouldn’t be okay with this, but as an atheist, religion would be a relationship dealbreaker to start with so 🤷🏼‍♀️

Post # 21
Member
1368 posts
Bumble bee

Mlim :  “sucks going through a grieving process of sadness where typically people support one another”

I understand that, but you may need to understand a few things about Buddhism, particularly Theravada, the oldest and most conservative of the three Buddhist branches. The ideal person in Theravada is the “arahat,” a person who practices detachment through meditation. I’m not going to explain the philosophy of Buddhist detachment, but it’s enough to say that this would be THE ideal practice for a Theravada Buddhist to allow the death of another to ground him more fully on his path to enlightenment. Since the recognition of suffering of ALL living things–and the response to suffering with compassion–is at the heart of all Buddhist branches, it is necessary for a grieving Buddhist to not allow that grief to destroy his ability to respond to all suffering with compassion. In this way, the anger that often accompanies a traumatic event can be mitigated, and the Buddhist can continue to maintain a compassionate and grounded perspective of the nature of existence (called “dependent origination”). 

This practice is no different than the person who spends private time in church praying after experiencing a traumatic event. It’s just that in Buddhism, this prayer takes a specific form. Not all cultures and religions believe that the best way to death with death is to lean on friends and family–some religions believe that the support of the religious community is necessary, and that one must lean on oneSELF primarily. Buddhism is particularly a religion like this. 

Post # 22
Member
1754 posts
Buzzing bee

I would be bummed about all of this too. I think what would bother me most is that your boyfriend doesn’t know how to stand up to his family (assuming he really doesn’t want to do this). Just doing things because they expect it. I don’t know much about Asian culture, so I’m sure there’s different layers to that, but that’s just my take on the situation. I would be worried he would put them first over you if you were to marry him.

Post # 23
Member
1343 posts
Bumble bee

kristin36890 :  

Agreed, not sure why people are giving OP such a hard time over this, if my partner was doing “extreme” religious practices such as becoming a nun for a month to please her family then I would be pissed off too. If he wants to do it then that’s a different story, but it sounds like he feels like he has to do it to please his family. If so I would be worried about what other traditions he will have to do in the future just because they expect them. 

Post # 24
Member
439 posts
Helper bee

OP (or other bees with knowledge) I am genuinely  curious about something (absolutely no snark intended with this).

Are you both living in the US? Or are you living in Asia? I ask because you mentioned your family being Americanized.

How do the men in the family deal with their other daily responsibilities if you are living in the US? I assume your boyfriend has a job and unless he took a leave of absence, most people’s work would not allow weeks or months off to become a monk after a family death. I will assume that in Asian countries where this is common practice that there are different rules governing leave for religious obligations. 

Post # 25
Member
1368 posts
Bumble bee

sable :  “most people’s work would not allow weeks or months off to become a monk after a family death.”

Why wouldn’t their jobs allow for legitimate religious practices? They can be sued up the wazoo for discrimination. 

Post # 26
Member
439 posts
Helper bee

DeniseSecunda :  Well I am not an employment or civil rights attorney, but I should think that a request for weeks or months off to engage in a religious ritual would easily fall under the “undue hardship” clause allowing the employer to refuse to make accommodations.

Also, based on information provided by the OP, the employer would have grounds to refuse accommodations based on the fact that this is not a “sincerely held” religious belief of the man, but rather a familial obligation. 

Of course your interpretation of Title VII may vary from mine, and as I said, I don’t claim to be a legal expert on this matter. 

Post # 27
Member
2499 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

I was raised Buddhist but I’m not very religious.

My mom is though and from what I was told…in him becoming a monk, your boyfriend is able to lead his grandma into the afterlife so that she can be reborn.  It is the greatest honor that someone can give to another.

If my Darling Husband was to do this for someone in his family, I would have no problem with it.  I mean, I won’t get to see him for awhile but his loved one just passed on…he won’t get to see them again. 

In our culture, we are taught to respect our elders and I agree with that to a certain degree.  This seems important to his family and if this is the last merit he can give to his grandma, then I would understand.

Post # 28
Member
3050 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Well, the main thing is this doesn’t speak to all Asian/SE Asian cultures and all Buddhist practices. There are many sects of Buddhism not to mention just different practices from region to region and community. 

My husband is SE Asian (Vietnamese). One side is predominantly Buddhist and I am Buddhist. My husband leans towards Buddhist beliefs but doesn’t strictly label it.

However, for my husband’s family’s culture/practices (in the states and in Vietnam), there isn’t anything like you strictly speak of forced.

My husband is the eldest son so he did bear most responsibility during funeral services for his grandparents but not the ones you mention. It mainly entailed that he had to do most of funeral ceremonies with the monks and leading processions. We did have to sit and chant but not for near the length of time you mentioned. As the wife of the eldest, there were ceremonial things I had to do or had to present myself with my husband to do. No hair shaving was involved or monkhood. There is a process over the span of several days including someone always watching over the departed till burial and practices surrounding eating no meat or inviting the departed to eat…but not specifically the more extreme practices you entail. It actually was very beautiful and all focused on guiding the spirit so to speak.

Ultimately, I understand that your partner doesn’t believe in it and ultimately it’s up to him to decide to do so or not or how he feels on it. You may not understand it or even respect it but you should respect how he wants to be involved for his grandmother’s funeral. You can’t emote for him; he has to do that for himself. If they were asking things of you specifically then, by all means, you should do what you feel comfortable for yourself. It’s entirely valid for him not to believe in the religion or practices but still want to do them to honor his grandmother’s memory. 

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