Ducan, literally translated, means “individual counsel.” Within our Tradition, Ducan usually takes one of three primary forms:
Informal Spiritual Counseling
Formal Encounter Practice
Formal Kong-an Discussion
Shakya is registered with the State of Arkansas to perform legal marriages (such registration is a requirement in Arkansas). For legal marriages outside of Arkansas, please check the clergy marriage requirements of your own state.
The Vinaya (code of conduct for Buddhist monastics) discourages monks from “uniting individuals.” It is preferred that legal marriage take place through the court, followed by a ceremony to celebrate and bless the marriage and relationship. Nevertheless, where this poses some difficulty, Shakya is willing to make exceptions to the rule as part of adapting our Tradition to a culture that has an historically confused view of the nature of marriage (religious ‘Holy Matrimony’ and secular marriage have been long confused in the USA).
There is no template for a ‘Buddhist wedding ceremony,’ as marriage has historically been viewed as a legal and pragmatic matter and a matter for the State. We are willing to help anyone plan their wedding ceremony, whether Shakya will be the celebrant to not.
There is no fee for celebrating such a ceremony, and monetary gifts are discouraged. It is customary, however, to provide for any travel and lodging expenses (if there are any) and for the couple to donate (according to their means) one of the following items: a robe or other article of religious clothing, incense, tea or some other small food item, or an original poem. The giving of this donation should never be considered as if it were payment for services, but rather is included because it is a part of the ceremony itself, as it is with all blessing or protection ceremonies, because the Buddha taught in several places that the greatest protection from calamity is the cultivation of generosity.
** Lotus Sangha fully accepts and supports marriage equality. **