There are pros and cons to getting married. If you’re married, you’ll learn how to adapt, to reconcile and to be considerate. The same with boyfriend and girlfriend. They will adjust if they live together. They will learn to adjust and to be considerate, so they get along more peacefully.
I want to thank you, the guards. You’re so young and come every weekend. I asked the “flat nose” why is it that… I asked him how many kids he had already? Number one. Number two. Seeing that he’s so tall and handsome, I thought he must have been “kidnapped” by some girl. They would not have spared him. And he answered, “I haven’t met with my karma yet.” A very wise answer. My God, seeing you grown up, I know that I’m getting old. I’m sorry for not being able to stay young with you. But you’ll all get old after a few decades, therefore never mind. Very soon you’ll catch up. Why don’t you have any girlfriend? Too busy? You haven’t met your “karma”? (God bless.) God bless. Now you talk like that. Later when you meet your “karma,” you’ll say: “Oh, God’s blessing has bestowed on me a good-looking…” You’ll have a different way of thinking. What do you do at home? (I’m a postman.) Very good. You can breathe fresh air at work every day. You’re working outdoors every day, aren’t you? (Yes.) It’s so comfortable. And then? (I’m preparing for an exam.) An exam. I also have a part time job. Wow! Then you still serve as a guard here, working so hard. How come you still have spare time? What kind of exam are you taking? (It’s a national civil servant exam.) Government employee. And you? (I’m in charge of human resource recruitment and training for a container shipping company − trading, recruiting and training.) And him? (I’m working at a science and technology factory, which produces screens for cellular phones.) Science and technology factory. Science and technology factory. Amazing. IT, right? (IT.) A kind of IT engineer, is it? Amazing. What about him? (Engineer.) What kind of engineer? (Designing hand tools, such as, tools for repairing electrical wires.) (Tool design.) Design. Tool design. And you? (Aviation engineering.) Repairing aircrafts.
What do you do? (I am working in a factory.) What kind of factory? (Sugar.) Oh, sugar! Very sweet. Sugar boy. Sugar baby love. There’s a song for that Sugar Baby Love. Do you know about it? I also don’t know. I just remember a few lyrics. Sugar baby love, sugar baby love. I didn’t want to hurt you. Didn’t want to make you blue. Something like that. That’s all. I can’t remember it all. It’s been a very long time. Love song. Here we forbid this kind of songs. Only Master can sing them. And then? (I’m an engineer of research and development.) Have you invented anything? (Yes, but some are not yet invented.) It takes a long time. Whatever we use now are results of many people’s efforts. Even a bowl like this was never so beautiful before. It used to be very coarse, made of earth. More shiny things have been added on later. We also didn’t have things like these before. There were made of wood and bamboo only, and now they’ve become like this. It’s very important to research into a lot of things, so that there can be different inventions.
Every day, when I use something, I feel: “Wow, I’m so blessed, so thankful!” For example, the one you call “safety pin.” Yeah? (Pin.) Pin. It used to be very common. Then, it became safer and safer. A thing that is so tiny and so fine. How can there be a machine to make it? Moreover, it has a plastic cap to make it safer for pinning. Every time I see something, I feel very admiring and respectful and that I’m very blessed for being able to enjoy so many things. It was not like that in the old days. There were no nails of different sizes. Because sometimes I have to repair things or hang something myself, I have to hammer a nail first in order to hang something, etc. I always feel, “Wow, it’s so amazing.” And the metal wires are so thin and cladded with soft and green plastics. Some are thicker, and some are very thin, nearly as fine as our hair.
For example, the telephone connection. It’s a small piece, where the wires go inside, so we can plug it into the phone. One time, the wires fell out. I tried to put them back. I opened the small box and checked where each wire was connected. They were in different colors. The wires inside were so thin. They’re made of copper with red cladding. Then I felt, “Wow! Amazing.” Who could invent this kind of machine and find a way to make wires that are as thin as our hair? It’s so thin and fine. The telephone could not be connected without those thin wires. It’s so amazing! All the telephones and the world depend on such a fine thing. The whole ashram depends on it, not to mention the whole world. Here in the ashram, I have to depend on such a small thing to contact people.
What do you do? (I’m an architect.) For building houses? (For buildings and gardens.) For gardens, even? Can you do landscape construction? They’re related. How’s the business? (Just small business.) You come every weekend. Are your families happy? (They come together with me.) What about the one who’s got a wife? Did she let you come here? (We negotiated.) You talked it over. (We talked it over. Actually, my wife was quite supportive, eating vegetarian food with me.) Is she a vegetarian? (She eats vegetarian food with me.) OK. (At home we all eat vegetarian foods, including our children.) Wonderful. Good wife. You have to be more considerate and talk more sweetly. No, I’m not joking. We girls like boys being romantic and attentive. You have to pay attention to her often, saying, “Wow! You’re so beautiful today.” “I’ve missed you so much today,” etc. That kind of talk. And then, take more actions to nurture your love for each other. Don’t take it for granted. A good wife deserves being well taken care of. (Understand.) Take care of her more, and hug her more when you go home. And you have to know how to talk and how to do this and that. Go read this kind of book, OK? You’ll know how to do it from books and movies. I’ve forgotten. I’m not a good teacher on this. It’s been more than thirty years since my marriage and I’ve forgotten now. But my ex-husband was very sweet and romantic. When he had time, I’d feel that he’d taken very good care of me. You just feel that he’s very attentive to you. It’s not like he would care less after getting married. (He wants to be this way.) (That’s the way a man should behave.) I’m not sure. Some boys are kind of stiff. It makes no difference to them, before or after marriage. After going home, they just take off their coats and sit in front of the computer or do something else. They forget to hug and kiss their wives, and talk to them: “Oh, how I’ve missed you, and so on…” But he cannot just talk like a robot. He should talk affectionately and sincerely. And then, for example, I loved playing music at that time. When I was playing, wow, he would listen admiringly, like a fan. (Admiring.) Admiring someone. But actually, I did not play very well. I’m not a musician, after all. You know what I can play. That’s the way boys should be. But not every boy does that; they always forget. They know it but they just do it differently. Can you do it? Just laughing over there. (Obviously, I can’t.) You haven’t done it yet? Not yet trained to do so. (I take it easy.) You take it easy.
Have you got a girlfriend yet? Yes? If you do, you have to be more considerate. (People always say that sweet talk is for before marriage, and after marriage…) It won’t be necessary. (He’ll be a different person.) It should not be like that. It should not be that way. If it’s like that, he’s getting away too easily. That’s why I said that my ex-husband was so nice. Maybe Germans are all like that. They told me that German husbands are very nice. Other girls told me so. I don’t know about others’ husbands. I only know about my husband. He was very busy. You know it. He was a doctor and had to take night shifts at the same time, and he also had to study science. While he was busy with studying, he was still so attentive to me. He never forgot about his wife. He never neglected me. He never made excuses and said, “I’m so busy, wait and talk later.” It’s me who neglected him. Sometimes, I talked with Buddhist masters, asking about the Dharma. I had not gone to India yet. I often called this and that Buddhist master to ask questions about sutras. Sometimes, I talked over the phone for a long time. After he came home, he hesitated. Because he saw me talking for a long time, he’d come and hug me and say, “I’m here, do you know? I’m home. Do you know I’m home?” (He was ignored.) Then I’d say, “Wait a moment. Wait a moment.” Because I was very interested in their talk. Some of those old Buddhist masters practiced very well and gave me very wise answers. I was so eager for the Dharma then, and marriage didn’t fit in. So, I answered, “Wait a minute. I haven’t finished the conversation yet.” He thought I was talking to some male friend. I said, “No, no. I’m talking to a Buddhist monk, with no hair.” (No hair.) An old monk. So, I told my husband, “He’s old, in his sixties already.” Later, he still complained to me, “Why did you talk so long? Who was it?” I said, “I was talking to a Buddhist monk.” And then he said, “You also talk to other people often.” I said, “Yes.” Because at that time, I was the chairman of a Buddhist student group in Germany. (Chairman.) And I also worked for Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees. Of course, I was busy. Sometimes, when I visited monks, he had to go with me. I went to where the monks lived, not the temple. But still, a couple could not sleep in the same bed there. Then, for example, I lay on this side, and he would lay on the other with our heads like this. Even at the monk’s place, he still reached out his hand to hold mine. He couldn’t do anything else, so he just reached out his hand. It was often like that. Later, I shaved my head and went back to Germany to stay in a temple. He came to see me. He could not hold my hand openly because everybody would see. So, he just used his feet to step on mine under the table (to express his love.) and smile. I said, “Ah! Take your feet away.” He was that kind of husband, always pleasing his wife. You don’t necessarily have to be wealthy or good-looking. Of course, being good-looking is even better, but not necessarily. Paying attention to her will make her feel that she is being loved by you all the time; that you remember her all the time. She likes that. You don’t necessarily have to be rich or good-looking, or have a doctor’s title; not necessarily. I’m telling you just by the way, in case you still want to protect your family. Since you’re married, continue to protect it. Otherwise, the world will not be in peace. World peace begins from home.
There was a story about a man who was invited to a feast. While everyone else was greeting each other, he kept eating. One by one, he soon finished all the dishes. While the guests were still elegantly inviting each other to start first, he had eaten all the food. Then, the guests asked him, “Which zodiac sign are you?” Then he said… It doesn’t matter. Rooster or duck is fine. The guests said, “Thank goodness you are not a tiger, or else…” (He would have eaten all the guests.) “Or else we would have been eaten as well.” People made fun of him. Thank goodness his zodiac sign was not a tiger.
You know how to serve people well. (Thank You, Master.) Your husband has great blessing. Do you have a husband? (Yes.) Tell him that “he has great blessing.” (Thank You, Master.) I envy him very much. Probably she has been trained well by her husband. There are pros and cons to getting married. If you’re married, you’ll learn how to adapt, to reconcile and to be considerate. The same with boyfriend and girlfriend. They will adjust if they live together. They will learn to adjust and to be considerate, so they get along more peacefully.
They also learn to do laundry and sew clothes, which used to be done by their mom. There’s another joke. There’s a bachelor. He often got loose buttons or stitches. (Loose stitches.) Stitches were loose here and there. So, his friend told him, “Everything will be OK after you get married.” He answered, “I haven’t met any girl yet.” Then, one day he finally found one and got married. His friend said, “I see that you’re different now since you’re married. Your stitches and buttons are not loose anymore. It’s good that you look tidy now. You must have a good wife, don’t you?” He answered, “Yeah. She taught me how to stitch my clothes and hers.” This one is great. (He can do what he could not do before.) He has learned everything, maybe including cooking.
Another story. A man told me that he’s getting married. I said, “Why are you getting married now? You didn’t want to before.” He said, “Every morning, after finishing a drink, I had to rush for work and left the cup there. And after coming home, the dirty cup was still there.” Meaning no one was taking care of dishwashing or other things. Later, after he got married, I asked him, “Now, how’s it going?” He said, “Now, I have one more cup.” When they return home, he has to wash his wife’s cup. His wife also has to work. Nowadays, no one is taking care of anyone. It was one cup, now there’s one more. (He had only one cup, and now he’s got company and would wash his partner’s as well.) He’s got company now, might as well washed his partner’s cup. To see who could not bear it first. (Whoever washes the first cup would do the second one.) It must be the husband. The wife would train the husband well to clean the two cups after getting home.
I’ve seen a lot of situations like that, and some fellow initiates have told me. Sometimes, he’d like to cook some (vegan) noodles, because he’s probably still hungry after dinner. After coming home from work at night, he wants to cook some noodles. Then, his wife would say, “Hey you, I’m not going to do the dishes. You’ll have to do it.” Yeah. The wife warns him first. She’s afraid that the bowl will be left there. I don’t know why living together would make a couple end up so mean to each other. Getting married also has advantages. It makes one more responsible. Before getting married, a man may throw things and clothes casually everywhere sometimes. After getting married, his wife would warn him, and he would slowly become more responsible and tidier. Bachelors are different. I just talk randomly; I’m not talking about you. It’s fine if you feel OK. All these are jokes. Give them a warning, just in case. In case they might complain later: “Master, You should have told me earlier. It’s too late now.” “If You’d told me earlier, I would’ve been more careful.”