Some Thoughts on Morality in Marriage
(Clearwisdom.net) Different from any secluded cultivation way in history, Dafa practitioners mainly practice in the human world, and they cultivate and improve themselves in the daily life, study and work of society. It is therefore normal that Dafa practitioners encounter issues involving family, marriage and feelings between a man and a woman. How should we look at these issues, regarding the morality associated with marriage?
1. Conform to the pure moral standard of a good person among everyday people
Dafa cultivation requires Dafa practitioners to first become good people in society and then improve their xinxing [mind or heart nature, moral character] and realms based on their moral standard, until they complete the process of cultivation and reach Consummation. So what is the standard for everyday people on the issue of family and marriage? In other words, what are Gods' requirement for mankind on this issue?
Gods have moral requirements for people that are explicitly and straightforwardly stated in the western world. We can take a look at examples in The Bible. In the Ten Commandments, the seventh commandment is "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
Adultery happens when a married person becomes sexually involved with someone outside his/her marriage. Jehovah told people that they couldn't abandon their wives unless they were unfaithful. The Bible teaches that God created humans, and a man and a woman would become one flesh after they were united in marriage. God made them husband and wife, and people must not separate themselves. A man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery and has done wrong unto his wife; a wife who divorces her husband and marries another man also commits adultery. Promiscuity and sexual misbehaviour (including sexual relations between unmarried persons and between persons of the same sex) are also considered offensive to God.
Can people violate the seventh commandment if they suffer psychologically and do not like their spouse? The answer is no. The so-called psychological suffering was never one of the excuses for divorce given by Gods. A married person who fails to carry out his responsibilities in marriage by leaving his family or abusing his spouse would be seen as committing a crime against gods. Judging by ancient Eastern moral standards, unhappy marriages are seen as the result of karma or sins of the two persons involved. People should pay back their debts to their spouse through their suffering during marriage instead of escaping with excuses.
In modern society of both the East and the West, many people no longer have the opportunity to know about and even display open contempt for Gods' standard for being a human being. In the ancient world, people who failed to abide by standards for a human being would be severely punished or even executed; yet, in modern society, people no longer treat these crimes as a great shame and instead claim them to be trivial things in individual life. They follow the prevailing society in its degeneration. A school magazine published a survey in the 1990's that claimed 68% of today's boys and 55% of girls age 13-18 commit sexual act(s) before marriage. More than half of married people have extramarital affairs. Living together before marriage has become a popular practice in both the East and the West.
As Dafa practitioners, we absolutely cannot acknowledge these degenerate moral standards and behaviors, because Dafa requires us to first become good persons in human society, become pure people who abide by the moral requirements set by gods and then become better people, until we reach the standard of great enlightened beings. That is why we absolutely cannot agree with the corrupt moral standards of modern people and cannot follow in their footsteps. This is not merely an issue of emotion; it is an issue of indulging in desires and being dominated by demon nature.
2. Be prudent and clear-minded: be responsible to ourselves, to others and to Dafa
We must know that sexual indulgence is not only immoral--it is a violation of Gods' basic moral standards for human beings. It is blatant insult towards Gods and provides those who do not believe in Gods with the opportunity to attack Gods. In other words, this is harm done to others as well as to the person who does such a thing.
In the modern world, selfishness is very common. Many people are controlled by various desires, including their pursuit of emotions and their sexual desires. They are irresponsible and only think about their own likes, interests and desires, and they rarely or never think about others' needs. In fact, both rape and sexual indulgence will create tremendous pain for the other person's spouse, as well as for the person's own parents. What is even more serious is that he insults Gods. As Dafa practitioners, Dafa requires us to think of others at all times and become selfless and altruistic, great enlightened beings. We must therefore first prohibit these corrupt and degenerate behaviors. If we cannot reach the standard for even human beings, then how could we be worthy of being cultivators? How could a true practitioner be willing to destroy Dafa's reputation, insult Master and abuse Master's benevolence through his indulgence in desire? This is self-evident, as both heaven's principles and human sentiment do not allow this to exist.
As for having different predestined relationships during our numerous lives and owing debts to other people: we as Dafa practitioners should not think about such issues during Fa-rectification cultivation, not to mention try to solve them. In fact, Master has never told us what kind of relationship we are to have with whom, because it doesn't benefit our cultivation. Other than cultivation and Fa-rectification, Master would solve all things that need to be balanced and resolved through our long reincarnation process and through his own suffering and sacrifices.
For a long time, Master has been "Handling human affairs of every sort, Burdened with all of heaven’s troubles." ("Cold and Alone Up High" from Hong Yin) In order to save us, Master pulled us out of the suffering in this life and endured karma for us to a tremendous degree. Master has done so much in taking care of us, for us to improve in cultivation, and has given us all the best things. Although we are in the stage of Fa-rectification, every one of us has remaining emotional attachments, human notions and other attachments to a different extent, but these are reserved for us so we can validate the Fa and clarify the truth in this world, so that we can continue to improve ourselves and make breakthroughs to higher levels. What we should do is that, while we strictly conduct ourselves according to the requirements of Dafa with every one of our thoughts, we cultivate, validate the Fa and offer salvation to people. Otherwise we would be submitting to demons and magnifying our attachments, using the excuses of emotional attachment and notions. We would do corrupt things that even everyday people should not do. That not only destroys Dafa's reputation and abuses Master's benevolence, but also provides the old forces with an excuse for persecuting us. Therefore, we must make strict demands on ourselves on this issue, and we must be alert and clear-headed.
About relationships between men and women:
"I want to talk about one more thing. There are many young disciples among practitioners. You should mind your personal lives. On the subject of intimacy, you must not go along with the already declined behavior of ordinary human society. You can have your own wife or husband--that's normal. It isn't a problem for you to cultivate while conforming to ordinary human society to the maximum extent. There's no problem for you to live as husband and wife. If you aren't husband and wife and have sexual relations, you'll be engaging in the filthiest behavior. This is something that is absolutely disapproved of by gods. Not a single god will condone this. So you all have to pay attention to this. The cultivation process of a person is the history of a cultivator. Countless gods are watching every thought and every act of Dafa disciples. As cultivators who are determined to reach consummation, why can't you pass this test?" (Lecture at the US East Coast Conference)
Question: Quite a few disciples residing in North America cohabit with their partners without being married. Some even have children already. Is there any need to obtain a marriage certificate retroactively?
Teacher: Yes. I tell you to maximally conform to the way of ordinary human society for your cultivation. Let's talk about it in a different way. In the past, in China, when people got married, they needed the approval of both heaven and earth. That was why getting married was called "bowing to heaven and earth." They needed acceptance from parents--they had to bow to their parents. In Western societies, they needed it to be accepted by their Lord and God. So they went to church and pledged to the Lord. The Lord or God would have been your witness, testifying to your union. In today's Western societies, these norms have been broken. Without ceremonies, two people can just move in together. Without any restrictions, when they're happy, they're together--if not, one can just find another partner. This is unacceptable. As students of Dafa, you should at least understand this little bit of principle. Sexual freedom in the West has created a tremendous amount of karma. It appears to me that people coming from the East are even worse. You have to pay attention to these matters. Humans are said to have declined--isn't it a problem if cultivators do even worse than everyday people? Of course, you may think, "Even though we didn't go through the formalities, our attitude and conduct are the same as if we were married. We've had children together and it's no longer possible for us to separate." But you did not go through the proper procedures. If you feel that you can be responsible to each other, I would say this is quite good, but why don't you go through the procedures? At least allow ordinary human society consider you a legal husband and wife. Isn't this how it should be? In other words, you shouldn't be too casual when it comes to these subjects. I won't spend more time on this subject. Regardless of what you've done in the past, let bygones be bygones. Do it right progressing forward. (Lecture at the US East Coast Conference)
February 19, 2003