I want to become a monk in the Theravada tradition and have already obtained permission from my mother. My father does not live with us and never has, so according to the following passage from the Vinaya Atthakathā, I shouldn't need his permission:

A father, not concerned for the welfare of his wife and son, runs away. The mother gives her son to some monks, saying, “Let him go forth.” When asked, “Where has his father gone?” she replies, “He has run away to disport himself.” — It is suitable for him [the son] to be given the going forth.

However, I am still not sure since in his case it isn't that simple. Although my dad moved to another country, he continued to fully financially support us in the first years of my life and paid for all my school costs up to 12th grade. As far as I know, he initially had the intention to bring us over to live with him, but it seems my mom refused. Even then, he continues to visit me every year or so, and we talk on the phone quite often. One could argue that he did, in a sense, leave me, since he could have well come back and at least live closer to me, even if he had split with my mom, but I still have mixed feelings.

The reason I ask is that I know he will not agree with my ordination, since he's quite focused on money and material things, and expects me to become accomplished in those areas. He is also quite unskillful in his behavior and conducts himself pretty much opposite to the Noble Eightfold Path.

  • 1
    Ask him. A father seldom ever abound his son, young householder Manuel, and without putting parents on the right place in ones heard, having some issues, going forth will not easy success. It's a matter of respect and gratitude, the base of the Noble path. Much grow with it.
    – user11235
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 23:35
  • Feel given and free to use the possibilities here for further on it.
    – user11235
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 23:40
  • From Vinaya view, it would be had to give going forth in this case, for a monk, if householder tells about facts. Don't forget that one has no rights to ordain, no rights to leave. Both is a matter of goodness and gratitude to be given. The Vinaya Atthakathā mentioned case does not apply here. And this things to do right or wrong, are not your case. No rights!
    – user11235
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 23:48
  • Firstly, I suggest that you should talk to your father and not assume that he will not give permission. Secondly, I think you can join the monastery as a anagarika or novice (samanera) without requiring your parents' permission. You can use this as a trial period to see if the monastic life suits you or not.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 0:04
  • samanera would need it as well, householder @ruben2020 , and since Anagarika is actually such, as well. It's just not asked because the Buddha gave no formula. The rule itself is in regard of pabajjata, going forth.
    – user11235
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 1:52

1 Answer 1


I would speak to the preceptor you wish to ordain with.

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.


  • If Bhikkhus follow the Vinaya, they would not have much possibilities to advice, although they often do. So important to raise questions in a way the Venerable could answer.
    – user11235
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 2:21
  • "If, however, both parents continued to assume responsibility for the son" I believe that fits my situation, so I do need his permission according to the Vinaya.
    – Manuel
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 13:08

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