Cohabitation between an Unmarried Majority-age Man and Woman: An Analysis from the Perspective of Buddhism

Amnat Yodthong


 Based on the Buddhist ideas and perspective, this paper aims to analyze an issue of cohabitation between an unmarried majority-age man and woman. Findings showed that, eventhough the cohabitation in question is in accordance with the Five Precepts and the Five Ennobling Virtures, it is considered to be "inappropriate" from the perspectives of other Kalyãña-dhammas (or good things) and social norms. However, for those who choose to cohabit, Buddhism can provide a solution that prevents further problems and is acceptable by the Buddhist ethical standard. The most appropriate solution is to have a customary wedding after cohabitation. If the couples do not follow any custom or have a marriage certificate, that could be acceptable to a certain extent. Yet, they should ask themselves whether they are prepared for consequences in the future such as reactions from social members, relatives and parents, or legal consequences. Importantly, their children may be affected by these consequences too. Regarding those persons who have cohabitation for sexual pleasure or one that does not lead to permanent relationship, they may be stigmatized as being promiscuous and may suffer from venereal diseases. According to Buddhist ethics, these persons are called "seducers of men" or "seducers of women" who are on the path to downfall (Apãyamukha). Therefore, this kind of action should absolutely not be done.  


Cohabitation; Buddhism, Buddhist Ethics.

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Buddhapanya Sri Thawarawadee Buddhist College,
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