Do you need both parents' permission to become ordained?

What if one of the parents refuses contact? Should you strive for it?

  • 1
    You'll have to ask the monastery you wish to ordain at. Some will even ignore a parent's opinion if it's clear that the parent doesn't have the child's best interests at heart.
    – Hugh
    Nov 24, 2016 at 9:37
  • 1
    Would you post that as an answer, please, Hugh, instead of as a comment?
    – ChrisW
    Nov 24, 2016 at 10:10

2 Answers 2


This is a question of law. In some places, the laws will allow one parent, or even no parents, since it's a matter of religious preference. In other places, the laws are strict, and require both parents' permission.

This is also a question of the sangha's policies. Most will have an age limit because they observe a need to gain life experience. Some will permit children, and others will even seek after them, so that children will not be unduly influenced by outside ideas. So it depends a lot on who is asking, and who is doing the ordaining.

Ordination can be a big deal. Mostly, though, it's merely feeling a call to serve others, seek the best interests of the world and promote its well-being. Nobody needs an ordination for that, but it helps to have a legal piece of paper to avoid certain troubles.


According to the Theravada Vinaya, one wishing to ordain needs to obtain the permission of all living birth or foster parents, unless they have abandoned him or her.

A son whose parents have not given their permission. According to the Commentary, this requirement includes foster parents as well as birth parents. There is no need to get a parent’s permission if he/she is no longer alive or has abandoned the son. From this it can be argued that if the parents are divorced and one of them has totally abandoned responsibility for the son, there is no need to get permission from that parent. If, however, both parents continued to assume responsibility for the son, he needs to get the permission of both.
Vinaya on Ordination

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