I was looking up some examples using 夫婦 and I came across this:

夫婦の契り translated on alc as "marriage bed".

No problem, but then I looked as 契り by itself. On WWWJDIC there are 3 definitions:

(1) pledge; vow; promise;
(2) (of a man and woman) having sexual relations; having sexual intercourse;
(3) destiny; fate; karma

What I am looking for is examples or how to understand the meaning of 契り for the third definition.
And is there any connection between this definition and the other two, or completely separate?

On this goo page it lists a definition meaning one's destiny between lives, but beyond that was not helpful.

Maybe something like good karma is derived from following (1) and (2)?

3 Answers 3


契り is almost always used in the first or second sense today, so let's check 学研古語辞典:

[出典]源氏物語 桐壺 「前(さき)の世にも御ちぎりや深かりけむ、世になく清らなる玉の男御子(をのこみこ)さへ生まれ給(たま)ひぬ」
[訳] 前の世においてもご宿縁が深かったのであろうか、この世にまたとなく気品があって美しい玉のような男の御子までもお生まれになった。

  • [参考] 平安時代は、前世の因縁によってこの世のあり方が決まるという、仏教の因果応報の思想が盛んであった。②には、そのような、すでに前世から定まっていて人の力ではどうにもならない、現世に対する拘束力という意味合いがこめられている

And see this question.

This article (PDF) seems to explain how 契り was used in 源氏物語. 源氏物語 is a novel written more than 1000 years ago, and the word 契り was used over 100 times throughout the novel as a synonym of the Buddism concept 宿縁 (≒destiny, karma).


IMHO main meaning of 契り is "promise". And sex is the promise of marriage. And karma, because they made the promise in the past life of them.

By the way, I rarely see that 契り is used as the meaning of destiny.


The meaning of 契り for the third definition implies the promise that will happen unavoidably to someone. Probably it should be understood as the commitment ( relation) or vow. Perhaps you can see 契り on the name of wedding ring pairs, title of video game or film, like ペアリング 運命の契り ( a name of ring).

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