Study Of Tibetan Monks Identifies Surprising Benefits Of Lifetime Monogamy

Study Of Tibetan Monks Identifies Surprising Benefits Of Lifetime Monogamy
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Highlights

  • Anthropologists are now pondering how celibacy could have initially originated in light of the practice.
  • Some Tibetan families would frequently transfer one of their young sons to the neighbourhood monastery so that he may become a celibate monk for the rest of his life

Anthropologists are now pondering how celibacy could have initially originated in light of the practice. Since cooperation is another pillar of human evolution, some have argued that behaviours that are costly to individuals, like never having children, can nonetheless arise when people mindlessly submit to rules that benefit a community.

Others have suggested that people ultimately establish religious (or other) institutions to further their own narcissistic or familial interests and despise others who choose not to participate.

Some Tibetan families would frequently transfer one of their young sons to the neighbourhood monastery so that he may become a celibate monk for the rest of his life. Up to one in seven boys in the past chose to become monks. Having a monk in the household was often justified by religious considerations.

They conducted 530 household interviews in 21 villages in the eastern portion of the Tibetan plateau in Gansu province with the assistance of our Chinese collaborators from Lanzhou University. Researchers recreated family trees, learning about each person's ancestry and discovering whether any of their ancestors were monks.

Amdo Tibetans, who are patriarchal, live in these villages where they cultivate small pieces of land and keep herds of yaks and goats. In these communities, wealth is typically handed down the male line.

They discovered that guys who had a monk sibling were wealthy and owned more yaks. However, monastic sisters received little to no benefit. That is probably due to the rivalry between brothers for their parents' money, land, and animals.

Parents ended this rivalry between their boys by sending one of their sons to the monastery because monks are not allowed to acquire property. While monks are typically second or later born sons, firstborn sons typically inherit the familial home.

Significantly, researchers also discovered that men with monk siblings tended to have more children than men with non-monk brothers, and that their wives tended to have children at younger ages. Since their non-celibate sons didn't compete as much with their brothers, grandparents with monk sons also had more grandchildren.

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