Buddhist Monks Find Partners in Matchmaking Service

February 28, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. inherit (v.) –to receive  a property or a title from someone who has passed away or who has given up a position
Example: My friend inherited all the properties of her grandfather after he passed away.

2. desperate (adj.) –having an urgent need or desire
Example: The students grew desperate waiting for the results of their exams.

3. preservation (n.) – the act of keeping the original form or use of something
Example:  People who fight for the preservation of wildlife made a campaign against pollution.

4. tradition (n.) – an established way of thinking, acting or doing things
Example: It is our tradition to have a family reunion every January of the year.

5. indicate (v)-  to state or express something briefly
Example: The employee indicated in his report a short description of the product.

Read the text below.

Many Buddhist sects in Japan are now offering free matchmaking services to help monks find partners.

In the country, relatives of monks usually inherit the responsibility of taking care of temples. However, the number of such family members has been decreasing, and as a result, monks have become desperate to find wives. The monks must produce successors for the preservation of tradition, and also to prevent their temples from closing or combining with other temples.

Due to the absence of caretakers, Koyasan Shingon, a Buddhist sect with headquarters in Wakayama Prefecture, already has 800 out of its 3,700 temples throughout Japan being supervised by other temples.

Takua Kamei from Kongobuji, Shingon’s head temple, said that monks are so focused on their religious duties that they have only few opportunities to meet and form relationships with the opposite sex. He also said that the lack of caretakers is causing concern for families known as danka, which for generations have provided voluntary financial support to Buddhist temples.

In April 2009, Kongobuji became part of the matchmaking service to help find partners for its monks and their sons and daughters. With the service’s help, two couples married, while another two started dating. By December 2011, 80 monks were registered for the matchmaking service.  

Individuals who would like to participate are required to submit forms containing their personal information to the temple. They must also indicate in their applications whether they are willing to live with in-laws or be adopted by their partner’s families.

Other temples have also joined matchmaking services. Nishi Honganji, the head temple of the Shin Buddhism sect in Kyoto, has twelve couples who decided to get married after going through its matchmaking service. Meanwhile, the Nicherin Sect, which has organized yearly matchmaking parties since 2008, has successfully paired up two couples.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think that matchmaking services can successfully bring people together in a relationship? Why or why not?
·         What are other possible venues where one could meet their future partners in life?

Discussion B

·         Is it important to preserve tradition? Why or why not?
·         Can you think of traditions in your country that should no longer be kept? Please explain your answer.


February 28, 2012