Vows of celibacy have surprising benefits: what scientists have found
A new study shows that Tibetan monks' vow of celibacy benefits their relatives.
Scientists from University College London conducted a study on the life of Tibetan monks and how the entire local society is affected by the presence of a family member who will never marry and will not have children. The results were very interesting, according to ScienceAlert.
“Why do some people become part of religious groups that demand the rejection of marriage? After all, reproduction is a natural evolutionary process that is simply necessary for a person. Some scientists believe that in this way people pursue some of their personal selfish motives or are influenced by certain established in a small or large community of norms. Our study in Western China answers this question, because we studied the phenomenon of lifelong celibacy in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries,” says Ruth Mays of University College London.
Hiding motives parents of Tibetan monks
Until recently, some families in Tibet specially sent one of their sons to a Buddhist monastery. Usually the justification for this step was that there would now be a Buddhist monk in the family. But scientists believe that economic and reproductive motives are also hidden here.
Scientists conducted a study of the genealogical tree of more than 500 families from 21 villages in Tibet to find out if any of the family members were monks and how this influenced the future fate of the family.
“In these Tibetan communities, all the accumulated wealth of the family is transferred through the male line. We found that men who have a monk brother are much richer. At the same time, there was no benefit for the sisters of Buddhist monks. Most likely, this is due with the fact that sons have to compete for all the resources that their parents have accumulated,” says Alberto Micheletti of University College London.
Less sons, more good
Since monks cannot own property, by sending one of their sons to a Buddhist monastery, the struggle for family wealth can be avoided. Usually the eldest son inherits the house, while the second or later sons become monks, scientists say.
“We also found that men who had a monk brother had more children, than men with brothers who didn't go to the monastery. Again, it's about the lack of competition between the brothers,” Mace says.
If the monks remain single, it means that there are fewer men in the village competing for marriage with women. Such men also become more affluent and therefore more attracted to women. Thus, the vow of celibacy of a Buddhist monk increases the chances of other brothers to continue the lineage of this family and to a good welfare.
“This suggests that parents, in addition to religious motives, also have economic and reproductive considerations. That is why, when sometimes monks refuse to live in a monastery, they are sharply condemned and rejected by their family,” says Micheletti.< /p>
Another conclusion of scientists
According to scientists, such a model of behavior of some families can explain the evolution of parental attitudes towards their children, including even the facts of infanticide in different cultures on the planet.
“Such a pattern of behavior may explain the presence of few or no female nuns in such patriarchal communities, as in Tibet, who take a vow of celibacy. Women are more competitive among themselves in communities where they can get inheritance rights. Therefore, the departure of women to the monastery became a popular phenomenon there. For example, you can see this in Europe,” Mace says.
Scientists are now working to find out why the number of monks and nuns differs in different religions and parts of the world.