(Alvin’s Note: Our dear fellow Life Coach, and passionate personal development extraordinaire, Paiboon Busayarak, has embarked on a 3 month initiation into Buddhist monkhood in his native Thailand. He just sent me this post via email sharing the conversations he’s had with his teacher. The words are his, the grammar tweaking is mine 😉 Enjoy!)
It is said that there are three rings to a marriage: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffer-ring!
So trouble is to be expected. When there is trouble, it needs to be solved for the smoothness of the marriage. The following stories will illuminate how to keep the marriage couple out of trouble for as long possible.
My view of relationship and marriage is this: when the couple is going out, they are merely involved; when they become engaged, they are still only involved, maybe more deeply; when they publicly exchange vows, that is commitment.
The meaning of the marriage ceremony is the commitment. During a ceremony, to drive home the meaning in a way people usually remember for the rest of their lives, I explain that the difference between involvement and commitment is the same as the difference between bacon and eggs.
At this point, the in-laws and friends start to pay attention. They begin to wonder, ‘What has bacon and eggs got to do with marriage?’ I continue.
‘With bacon and eggs, the chicken is only involved, but the pig is committed, let this be a pig marriage’.
The Chicken And The Duck
When we have harmony then we can have that level of success. It’s the ego itself which gets in the way. I’m best, I’m right, everybody is wrong. In marriage, why do we have those arguments?
Afterward, when you have those arguments, if you can actually ask that person, your wife, your husband, they both feel terrible. It’s foolish to have an argument with someone you love, you feel that inside but they can’t stop themselves but can they?
Since I became a celibate monk, I have married many women. Hang on! I don’t mean I personally marry with women! Part of my job as a Buddhist monk is to perform the religious part of Buddhist marriage ceremonies.
According to my tradition of Buddhism, a lay Buddhist is the official marriage celebrant, but many of the couples regard me as the one who married them. I have married many women and many men as well.
When there is a marriage, I take that marriage out of self-interest as much as anything else. I don’t want those married people to come to me afterward and bother me with their problems.
This is a beautiful story on harmony. This was a favorite story of my teacher; Ajahn Chah.
A newly married couple went for a walk together in the woods, one fine summer’s evening after dinner. They were having such a wonderful time being together until they heard a sound in the distance: ‘Quack! Quack!’
‘Listen’, said the wife, ‘That must be a chicken.’
‘No, no. That was a duck,’ said husband.
‘No, I’m sure that was a chicken,’ she said.
‘Impossible. Chickens go “Cock-a-doodle-doo”, ducks go “Quack! Quack!” That’s a duck, darling,’ he said, with the first signs of irritation.
‘Quack! Quack!’ it went again.
‘See! it’s a duck,’ he said.
‘No dear. That’s a chicken. I’m positive,’ she asserted, digging in her heels.
‘Listen to wife! That…is…a…duck. D-U-C-K, duck! Got it?’ he said angrily.
‘But it’s a chicken,’ she protested.
‘It’s a blooming duck, you you…’
And it went ‘Quack! Quack!’ again before he said something he oughtn’t.
The wife was almost in tears. ‘But it’s a chicken.’
The husband saw the tears welling up in his wife’s eyes and, at last, remembered why he had married her. His face softened and he said gently, ‘Sorry, darling. I think you must be right. That is a chicken.’
‘Thank you, darling,’ she said and she squeezed his hand.
‘Quack! Quack!’ came the sound through the woods, as they continued their walk together in love.
The point of the story that the husband finally awakened to was, who cares whether it is a chicken or a duck? What was much more important was their harmony together, that they could enjoy their walk on such a fine summer’s evening. How many marriages are broken up over unimportant matters?
When we understand this story, we will remember our priorities. The marriage is more important than being right about whether it is a chicken or a duck. Anyway, how much times have we been absolute, certainly and positively convinced we were right, only to find out we were wrong later? Who knows? That could have been a genetically modified chicken made to sound like a duck!