If one is having sexual relationship with minor (protected by parents) and parents disapprove the relationship, that is breaching of the third precept. What if an adult child having a (sexual) relationship with someone without the consent of their parents, of course everyone has their rights, but the question is is this breaking the third precept?


4 Answers 4


It depends on what the society consider as an adult. Back then in India, women always had a guardian regardless of their age. But things are quite different nowadays. In most countries when one reaches 18+ the society consider that person as an adult that no longer requires guardianship. Any care given after that is optional and any care accepted after that does not make one a minor, unless there is such an understanding between the 2 parties. In other words, when you become an adult by law, if your parents continue to give you food and lodging with the mutual understanding that you will not be sexually active with someone without their permission, it breaks the 3rd precept.

  • But consensual sex between two adults who are no longer receiving support from parents as mentioned above and not in the list of the "prohibited person" does not break the 3rd precept, right?
    – B1100
    Feb 6, 2018 at 16:10
  • That's correct. Feb 6, 2018 at 17:06
  • "... if your parents continue to give you food and lodging with the mutual understanding that you will not be sexually active with someone without their permission..." So permission does not necessarily have to be marriage, can you please confirm this?
    – B1100
    Feb 13, 2018 at 16:15
  • Yes, it doesn't have to be marriage Feb 14, 2018 at 1:04
  • 1
    I think we are going around in circles. Once you are independant it does not matter whether someone gives permission or not. Prostitution is wrong for many other reasons. Not the 3rd precept. Feb 22, 2018 at 12:44

I think the question is invalid and the precept is redundant/obsolete.

The precept was spoken in the context of the other moral directives, such as parents arranging the marriage of their children (DN 31).

In current contemporary Western or Cultural Marxist societies, the precept is redundant and, if possible, would best be redefined.

For example, Thich Nhat Hanh has redefined the The Third Precept as follows:

Sexual expression should not take place without love and commitment. Be fully aware of the sufferings you may cause others as a result of your misconduct. To preserve the happiness of yourself and others, respect the rights and commitments of others.

Five Wonderful Precepts by Thich Nhat Hanh


Does the child still use the parent's house/money?

If the answer is "yes", the sexual relationship breaking the third precept.

Another, does the child still being the child in law?

The child protected by law also breaking the third precept.


a man and woman each have a separate child. That man and woman get together and their children who are not blood related get together. Is this allowed by the third precept.

Children of age and no longer in the house of parents

  • I think the 2nd paragraph is saying that relationships between people "of age" and not in their parents' house is not against the precept -- but I don't understand the first paragraph. If "user17373" wants to comment or edit then you may have to create and "register" a user account on this site, login.
    – ChrisW
    Dec 6, 2019 at 7:56

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