from an old facebook post:
Lately I’ve been getting a bunch of questions on my old tumblr account, not sure why, but I figured my response to this question about soulmates might be helpful or insightful to some :
Does Buddhism have anything similar to soulmates/ spiritual partners/companions? I’ve heard about the idea of “khu barami” in Thailand, but I’m not sure if this is a cultural or a Buddhist idea?
Since there is no soul in Buddhism, the concept of soul mates cannot exist within it’s framework. There is a sutta where a married couple comes up to the Buddha and asks how they can be together in a future life, and he said that if they practice dhamma together this can be possible.
What he doesn’t mention though is that, since each person’s kamma is their own, you may have some contact in a future life, but you will most likely be different beings with a different relationship, and it’s not like you will have a recollection that you were in love with this person in a past life, etc.
There is the concept of a kammic connection though, and in later Buddhist stories you see the buddha and his disciples being relatives in the past, one time Buddha was the mother, and Sariputta was the father, others were their children, one time Buddha was the son, etc etc. As far as I have seen the Buddha never speaks about this in the Early Buddhist Texts, his accounts of his own past lives are fairly rare, most were later additions(aka Jataka Tales).
What the Buddha DOES say however, in the context of developing goodwill and compassion to all beings, is that you’d be hard pressed to find any being who at one point wasn’t your mother, father, or relative. All of us have had these relative connections at some time in the past.
it is a comfort people want, to be able to know they can be with loved ones again after death, it can even be a romantic thing “ throughout the ages and rebirths, I will always have your in my heart” etc etc, but the Buddha did not offer any easy pleasant answers or comforts in this regard like you would find in a Christian Heaven kind of scenario.
There are no guarantees, so practice well in this life, and live with gratitude for the loved ones in your life who help to shape who you are and who you will become, you never know how long your time with them will be.