[VIEWPOINT]Pay Your Spouse a Debt of a Former Life

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[VIEWPOINT]Pay Your Spouse a Debt of a Former Life

A popular song contains the lines, "I will love only you, even in the next life to come." But would we? A poll conducted by a broadcasting company asked married couples whether they would choose their current spouse if they were born anew. Seventy percent of husbands said yes compared to just 30 percent of wives. Seven out of 10 wives would desert their present husbands to marry a different person.

In fact, this poll does not reflect the true intentions of those who were polled. It would not be easy for people to say that they would abandon their present spouse in the next life if they took into account the moral obligations that form between two people who work through hardships of life such as giving birth to children and bringing them up together. Those who said they would choose a different partner in the next life are likely grumbling a little about their current mate. The carping perhaps expresses a deep-seated affection and acceptance of one's mate.

But when taking into account that the next life, if it exists, is a totally new beginning, it is natural for most people to say they would not like the idea of being bound by the same karma. When people travel, they tend to visit places where they have never been before. Actors naturally try to portray characteristics completely different from their own so they can express themselves in new ways. Those who consider the next life as a new beginning will want to choose a different person as a mate. Those who emphasize their moral obligations towards their current mates will not. It is difficult to know the true intentions of those who responded to the poll.

Buddhism emphasizes karma. My current life is the mirror of my deeds in a former existence. In order to know the life after death we must examine our present lives.

If a person makes many offerings of flowers and goodwill to others, in next life he will be born beautiful.

If one spares many lives he will have fine offspring in the life to come.

When one commits arson he will go mad in his life after death.

When one kills animals for the fun of it, in his next life his family will be scattered and will not recognize each other.

Although I know that there is karma, I cannot fully understand which of my actions produced which of the results. But one thing is for sure. One's spouse is definitely related to a person, and that person is a product of all previous behavior and works of merits and faults accumulated along the way of life. Zoologists say that all mammals, including human beings, evolved over a long period of time into their current forms. Mammals have evolved, been made extinct and transformed according to changes in their environment. One's mate, similarly, has gone through a transformation in every life his or her spouse has lived, according to changes in one's own spiritual and physical features.

Human beings have limitless desires. Even if one's spouse is loyal and blessed with many gifts, he or she is not free from faults. Although my spouse may be endowed with health, money, power, beauty and honor, and worships the ground I walk on, in marriage obstinacy and tediousness cannot be escaped. Diamonds and gold may glitter, but when a person lives buried among them, his eyes will be hurt by their splendor. Even glamorous marriages go awry, and most of us face grimmer realities. Due to recent economic troubles most ordinary people have to fight anxieties about the future, which brings more stress to their marriages.

You don't have any heart for your spouse? Your spouse is actually your creditor who has come to receive the debt you owe, which has accumulated over millions of lives. In the next life your spouse will return to you with a different face. Therefore, do your best to take care of your mate if you want to repay your debts. Do you want to be separated from your spouse? Then, settle your debt in this life; love and prize your mate all the more. The people who want my affection are all my creditors from my previous lives.


The writer is the head priest of Popchusa Temple.

by Seok Ji-myeong

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