I have thought about this since a long time, and now I am ready for renunciation, accept teachings and practise Buddhism in a monastery. I told my parents about these future plans. They said they were disappointed in me & that I was running away from my responsibilities & will ruin their and my life if I follow this path.

Since they've made me the person I am today, I feel the need to ask for permission before I leave. They won't allow me.

What would be the best way to solve this, maybe a middle path?

5 Answers 5


The rule of requiring your parents' permission for ordination, even if you are an adult, comes from this incident:

When King Suddhodana heard that his beloved grandson had become a monk he was deeply grieved. The king said, "When you left home it made me sad. When Nanda left home my heart ached. I concentrated my love on my grandson and again the one I love has left me. Please do not ordain anyone without their parent's permission." To this the Buddha agreed and never ordained anybody after that without their parents' permission.

In any case, most monasteries would not allow you to ordain right away as a monk. See here for the ordination process of the Bodhinyana Monastery near Perth, Australia.

You have to first undertake the eight precepts as an anagarika (a sort of a pre-monk) for some period of time (maybe a year), before undertaking the ten precepts, to become a novice monk (samanera). Then some time later (maybe another year), you may be allowed to ordain as a full monk (bhikkhu). The novice monk and full monk both wear similar robes, while the anagarika usually wears white clothes.

You don't need your parents' permission to become an anagarika and serve in a monastery. You can spend this time to experience a taste of the monastic life, to see if renunciation is what you really want to do, before making a final decision. Maybe you might not like it after experiencing it.

At some point, you would still have to get your parents' permission to ordain. For this, you need to convince them. In any case, you can remain an anagarika for an extended period of time.

I don't think you need your parents' permission to become a novice monk either. But they would probably be unhappy to see you in a novice monk's robes which is almost the same as a full monk's robes.

For more info, read here, here and here.

Another point is, have you decided which tradition to join? Theravada, Mahayana, Tibetan, Zen etc.? Perhaps, there's more things to consider.

  • Thank you @Ruben for your response. I am inclined towards Mahayana & Tibetan Buddhism. I am honestly in search of a Monastery that would accept me in. This might although sound naive, I think the basic Buddha's teachings remain the same in all traditions. I remember reading somewhere, when you find the teaching "unacceptable" then you know that the tradition you're following is probably not for you.
    – user12713
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 7:20

You told:

I have thought about this since a long time, and now I am ready for renunciation, accept teachings and practise Buddhism in a monastery.

That is a very praiseworthy way one sees one parents, Sadhu! And a notion of a good sense of gratitude and right view.

Ruben gave some information, which are at large not so wrong. How ever, take always away notions of "I have a right" or "it should be this and that". If it work not now, it will work by time. When your parents get more and more understood your ways, while practicing based on right view where you are, they are more likely to understand.

When it comes to a point where you are no more able to live a householders live, you parents will see that and seeing it, they will ask, beeing asked, is a good place to explain deeper and make things understood.

Since it contains a lot of stories, aside the rules of the Bhikkhus (not someones rights!), it's maybe worthy to give the Mahavagga I an extended read.

Meanwhile, something to rejoice with, take part on merits: a certain person, just few days ago, joyfull shared his mothers now joyful agreement, with his soon going forth. Something really not common in regard of intented to really going forth, not just changing house with monastery, which is often really just a "seek for 'easy' life" and welness.

The case of the Buddhas son, and the grieve of his mother, and the request of Ven. Ananda, which was the reason for the rule not to give going forth, one who has no permission from the parents, was in regard of a Samanera and such as "Anagarika" does not exist within the Dhamma-Vinaya, but is actually also a Samanera (one who asked for going forth under the Buddhas teaching). So not only out of this, it's good to seek a good and proper way, not stubborn and proper to time and facts.

As told, if there are no more ways to live a housholders life, there will be ways anyway. It's possible not wrong at all if spending much and most time avalible in contact with the monks, try to make service and maybe it's possible to get your parents to attend often or part time.

At least, althought maybe not that welcome to hear/read, its always good to speak with good and possible also knowledgeable monks, at first place and if avaliable (which requires to let go of usuall "lazy" ways) in all Dhamma-Vinaya cases, specially in regard of ordination.

There are many personal things, which those could probably handle with, which "in all cases seen from outward"-accounts are not able to serve propably best. One would not easy find someone with real refuge in the Juwels in this spheres, which does on the otherside not mean that ones Nissaya does not have its ways anyway, if walking with pure heart and certain right view, sticking firm to the basics.

Best possible strength, effort and endure for success in regard of path, fruits and the mastering of the holy life, where ever being. Watching after giving good causes. Effects come by themselves, just a matter of crossing the soil for it, sooner or later.


My person has to add (just translating that part of the Mahavagga), that the Original wish after the rule, that those desire the going forth, need permission, to be faultless ordained by a Bhikkhu, was raised from Buddhas father and the rule does not cover only the acceptance as Bhikkhu, but also all other forms of going into homelessness, going forth (pabbājeyya) under the Buddha: eg. Samaneria and technical Anagarika (who are actually Samanera) as well.

See: Rāhulavatthu - The Case of Rāhula

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial use or other lower wordily gains by ways of exchange or trade]

  • 1
    It won't be right if I stay with them, not earning anything and just meditating and doing Vipassana. Therefore I seek a monastery where these are accepted & I'll learn a lot from them too. Thank you for your response. Metta.
    – user12713
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 7:16

Your thinking to get approach to practice Buddhism is remarkable and it's similar to the Buddha who left everything his son,wife,luxury etc.. This is very hard and difficult decision. My suggestion is you better to make them understanding about Buddhism and what is your intention of renunciation and if there is a possibility of arrange residence closer to monastery so you can easily visit them in difficulties. Make them involve with your practices and share it with them and that's good for your parents to gain their morality in late life. This is not against Buddhist teaching as treat and look after parents in their late life as they are weak and helpless. That's also good practice. Wish you all the courage to reach your best potential and wisdom and serve the world with your achievements. Thank you. metta.

  • Thank you for your response. I tried making them understand the purpose of all this. They simply cannot bear their child giving away everything for a life that they can't really fathom. I don't blame them. They're right in their mind. But, should there be a middle way, I'm more than willing to go with that. PS: I love it when people write metta at the end. It's so peaceful to read.
    – user12713
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 6:59

I suppose it's better for everyone if you persuade them.

There was a sutta, MN 82 in which Ratthapala was denied permission by his parent[s] -- and so he stopped eating, until they changed their mind and consented.

Perhaps that remains a viable (not suicidal) argument, e.g. the article When My Son Became a Monk includes,

I know monks who have refused to eat until their parents agreed to let them ordain

One thing I noted from reading MN 82 was that his action (or demonstration) was a counter-argument to their specific objection (i.e. they told him he was "raised in comfort", implying he was unsuited for the rigours of monastic life); I imagine there are other objections a parent might have, I don't know whether this is the best or only counter-argument for every situation.


If your parents say ,"you have responsibilities" ,it's best to not leave them . Leaving will put a lot of burden over them. You too will remain tensed.

If your parents say ,"No responsibilities ,still We won't allow asceticness " ,then you may try to live as Anagaarik in white robes and come to meet parents every once in a month or so & show them what you have learnt .

But ,when you are ready & have strong urge to go for deep meditation in forest/hill & with NO Responsibility ,still parents are not ready ... NO ADVICE IN THIS SCENARIO ,cause your mother's or your father's tears might break you down during meditation in cave/forest. Only one thing can be said here that, ' Try to maintain contact with them'... but I know that during deep meditation there must be no contact with anyone because of Noble-Silence that's why ,NO ADVICE .

If you have responsibilities , you can either talk to in monastery/meditation-center that ," I wanna learn & earn too by serving here as per my talent/capability ". Talking to a teacher would be best. In this way ,you can support your parents & meditate/learn too. Talk to a teacher of nearest meditation centre/ monastery would be best for you & your parents.

Most important part is that you ,out of every-one , must remain happy & a best learner possible ,whatever the scenario you are facing.

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