In global, a monk who lives and works in a temple is not allowed to marry a wife according to the Buddhist teaching. In some sects of Buddhist, a monk cannot even allow to be in a room with a woman. However most of the monks in Japan are married and have children. In addition, they are also participating in a matchmaking party. Don’t you wonder why such thing is possible? Well, it seems like there was a history which caused this.
It is a country policy for monk to get married
In Japan, there was a time in the past that some sects of Buddhist has been prohibiting monks from eating meat and getting married. However, in the 1870s in the Meiji era, Japan government has implemented a campaign named “Haibutsukishaku”(a campaign to discontinue Buddhism). Then, in 1872 the government has made the announcement of "Monk shall eat meat and marry Wife”, which let the monks live like normal citizens. As a result, the monks start to eat meat and get married.
Monks in Japan will join the matchmaking party to look for a wife.
In Japan, "job-specific matchmaking party" are popular in recent years. For example, “for doctor”, “for lawyer”, “for finance company staff”, where the occupations of men are fixed and can be joined freely by women to find their partner. Among that, matchmaking party for monk is also exist, and it is surprisingly popular. The reason for popularity is that a monk’s family is said to be more "reliable" and "more stable than a salary man’s family".
It is said that ordinary men often participate in this type of parties with the playful feeling. On the other hands, it is said that the monks who worried about their next generation are often participating in a matchmaking party seriously to find a partner.
How is the life of a monk who can get married?
They live in a normal life and home environment like ordinary people. They don’t have restriction of eating meat and drinking alcoholic drinks. In addition, their children go to school and study abroad like other children, and are able to receive education that out of religion related education. However, it seems that there are many cases where their sons will become a successor of the temple.
However, is it really acceptable from the perspective of religion?
In fact, there was also a sect that accept marriage of the monk in long time ago!
Before the Meiji Period (1867), only Jodo Shinshu sect accept the marriage of a monk. Shinran of Jodo Shinshu sect believed that it would not be an obstacle of Buddhism practice even if a monk gets married, instead the presence of wife will somehow become a support to their practice.
In fact, Shinran also get married and he and his wife are both respected as being "the incarnation of Kannon god".
By the way, Nichirenshu Fujyufuse Sect is the most disciplined Buddhism sect, which presently still not allowing the meat eating and marriage of a monk.