8 Perfect Buddhist Wedding Readings for Your Wedding

Buddhism is both a religion and philosophical tradition with origins in 5th century ancient India. Nowadays, there are more than 520 million Buddhists worldwide, making Buddhism the fourth biggest religion in the world.

At its core, Buddhism lays down a path of transformation, encouraging its practitioners to realize their true inner potential. Along the way, Buddhist teachings emphasize the importance of serving others. In fact, the religion views marriage as a practice ground, a vehicle to a life of service.

Remarkable Buddhist wedding readings embody some core beliefs of Buddhism, such as reciprocal responsibility, equality, freedom, and reverence. Below are eight memorable passages, including excerpts from the Karaniya Metta Sutta and Sigalovada Sutta, that will bring more spiritual depth to your ceremony. 

Several tips for choosing the reading for your wedding are also given.

Lovely Buddhist Wedding Readings for Your Special Day

couple with three dots on forehead

1. The Karaniya Metta Sutta, or the Buddha’s Discourse on Loving Kindness (translated from Pali to English by The Amaravati Sangha)

“This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness
Having glimpsed the state of perfect peace,
Let them be able, honest and upright,
Gentle in speech, meek and not proud.

Contented and easy to support,
With few duties, and simple in living.
Tranquil their senses, masterful and modest,
without greed for supporters

Also, let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Let them cultivate the thought:
May all be well and secure,
May all beings be happy

Whatever living creatures there be,
Without exception, weak or strong,
Long, huge or middle-sized,
Or short, minute or bulky,

Whether visible or invisible,
And those living far or near,
The born and those seeking birth,
May all beings be happy

Let none deceive another
Or despise any being in any state;
Let none wish others harm
In resentment or in hate.

Just as with her own life
A mother shields her child,
her only child, from hurt
Let all-embracing thoughts
For all beings be yours.

Cultivate a limitless heart of goodwill
For all throughout the cosmos,
In all its height, depth and breadth —
Love that is untroubled
And beyond hatred or enmity.

As you stand, walk, sit or lie,
So long as you are awake,
Pursue this awareness with your might:
It is deemed the Divine Abiding- here and
now.

Holding no more to wrong views,
A pure-hearted one, having clarity
of vision, being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.”

2. A Blessing for the Journey by Sensei Wendy Egyoku Nakao

monks praying

“Let us vow to bear witness to the wholeness of life,
realizing the completeness of each and everything.

Embracing our differences,
I shall know myself as you,
and you as myself.

May we serve each other
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to open ourselves to the abundance of life.

Freely giving and receiving, I shall care for you,
for the trees and stars,
as treasures of my very own.

May we be grateful
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to forgive all hurt,
caused by ourselves and others,
and to never condone hurtful ways.

Being responsible for my actions,
I shall free myself and you.

Will you free me, too?

May we be kind
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.

Let us vow to remember that all that appears will disappear.

In the midst of uncertainty,
I shall sow love.

Here! Now! I call to you:
Let us together live
The Great Peace that we are.

May we give no fear
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.”

3. Buddhist Blessing, an excerpt from The Buddhist Scriptures, The Buddha’s Sermon at Rajagaha, Verse 19 to 22

4. Buddhist Wedding Prayer by Lama Thubten Yeshe

Today we promise to dedicate ourselves completely to each other, with body, speech, and mind.

In this life, in every situation, in wealth or poverty, in health or sickness, in happiness or difficulty, we will work to help each other perfectly.

The purpose of our relationship will be to attain enlightenment by perfecting our kindness and compassion toward all sentient beings.

5. I Bow Deeply, written by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

“Standing quietly by the fence,
you smile your wondrous smile,

I am speechless,
and my senses are filled

By the sounds of your beautiful song,

Beginningless and endless.

I bow deeply to you.”

6. An Excerpt from the Sigalovada Sutta About Spousal Responsibilities

“In five ways, young householder, should a wife as the West be ministered to by a husband:

(i) by being courteous to her,
(ii) by not despising her,
(iii) by being faithful to her,
(iv) by handing over authority to her,
(v) by providing her with adornments.

The wife thus ministered to as the West by her husband shows her compassion to her husband in five ways:

(i) she performs her duties well,
(ii) she is hospitable to relations and attendants[10]
(iii) she is faithful,
(iv) she protects what he brings,
(v) she is skilled and industrious in discharging her duties.

In these five ways does the wife show her compassion to her husband who ministers to her as the West. Thus is the West covered by him and made safe and secure.”

7. Instructions for Life in the New Millennium, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

8. An Excerpt from “Dharma Blossoms Turning Dharma Blossoms” by Zenji Eihei Dogen

​​That another person is intimate with you is that you are intimate with the person. To express respect is to give a gift like a pearl hidden in the hair or sewn into the robe. Thoroughly examine such moments as dharma blossoms turning.

There is the turning of the dharma blossoms actualizing bodhisattvas emerging from the ground and abiding in the air, when the heart is without hindrance and form is without hindrance.

There is the turning of the dharma blossoms actualizing bodhisattvas emerging from the sky and abiding in the ground, while immersed in the eye and immersed in the body.

There is Vulture Peak in the tower, and a jeweled tower in Vulture Peak. The jeweled tower stands in the air. Rejoice!

From eon to eon there have been dharma blossoms.

From day to night there have been dharma blossoms.

As dharma blossoms have been active from eon to eon, from day to night, whether your body and mind are strong or weak, they are dharma blossoms. Such blossoms are a rare treasure, a radiant light, a practice place, broad and vast, great and timeless.

When the heart is deluded, you are turned by the dharma blossoms. When the heart is enlightened, you turn the dharma blossoms. Indeed, this is dharma blossoms turning dharma blossoms.

When the heart is deluded, you are turned by the dharma blossoms. When the heart is enlightened, you turn the dharma blossoms. When you thoroughly experience this, it is dharma blossoms turning dharma blossoms.

To honor and dedicate yourselves to this teaching is no other than dharma blossoms.

Finding the Best Buddhist Wedding Reading: Tips

middle aged couple holding hands

Reflect with Your Partner

The wedding reading you choose must have personal significance and meaning. Sit down with your partner and have an honest conversation about your ceremony. Concurrently, you may want to reflect on your relationship, faith, and life in general.

Knowing your sentiments and priorities will make choosing a reading less challenging, which is valid for any wedding reading. Essentially, which passage speaks to you and your partner? Which excerpt touches your heart and connects with you on a spiritual level? 

If you have already written — or drafted — Buddhist wedding vows, your promises might help you find a reading that suits your relationship.

Collaborate with Your Wedding Officiant

You might find it complicated to find a Buddhist wedding reading that speaks to you. In this case, it is best to consult your wedding officiant. They might have a list of passages that couples have used in the past. They might also point you toward a text they think will suit you.

Even if you have already found a reading that resonates with you, you must still approach your wedding officiant. You must determine what part of the itinerary the readings will occur on, how many passages you need, and who will read them.

Pay a Visit to a Buddhist Temple

buddhist temple

Buddhist and interfaith couples have spoken of how helpful a visit to a local Buddhist temple can be — not only for finding a reading but also for preparing for married life.

On this visit, Buddhists may take the Five Precepts: abstaining from killing, stealing, misusing sexuality, lying, and clouding the mind. You can incorporate the affirmation of such precepts into your ceremony.

Furthermore, a monk might engage you in a Dharma talk. This lecture features lessons on central Buddhist beliefs, values, and ways of living. Such a spiritual and personal discussion will help you find your purpose and footing as you enter married life. 

Consider Whom Will Read the Passage

If the officiant will read the readings, you do not have to worry.

However, you might want to include your niece or nephew in the program by letting them read a passage. In this case, choose something they can read easily — short readings with no complicated words are best. For instance, “I Bow Deeply” by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is an excellent choice.

Final Thoughts

Wedding readings are a lovely way to personalize your ceremony further. Moreover, sharing a brilliant passage makes the day even more emotional; in many instances, guests cry after hearing such a sweet and touching reading.

However, as with any part of a wedding, do not feel as if you must have a reading at your wedding. It is completely optional. If you and your partner think that having wedding readings is not for you, there are other ways to express your love to each other and your guests.

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