I read that a person must get permission from his og her parents but what if that persons parents are not alive anymore. Can that person then not become ordained in this life?

Thank you for your time.

  • 2
    I'm sure the answer is they CAN be ordained. The purpose behind this rule I believe is to not create schisms or tension within family's, with respect to your parent's wishes, and also to be sure that a person is not running away from any responsibilities within their family, i.e. helping their parents or so on. So if a persons parents are passed away,none of these concerns are an issue and the rule should therefore not even be applicable or of concern to them.
    – Ryan
    Jun 17, 2015 at 23:42

2 Answers 2


The commentary to this rule has some interesting discussion, including an answer to your question:

mātāpitaro matā, dārako cūḷamātādīnaṃ santike saṃvaddho, tasmiṃ pabbājiyamāne ñātakā kalahaṃ vā karonti, khiyyanti vā, tasmā vivādupacchedanatthaṃ āpucchitvāva pabbājetabbo. anāpucchā pabbājentassa pana āpatti natthi.

In the case where one's mother and father are dead, a child brought up in the home of a "little-mother" (step-mother? aunt?) etc., when causing them to go forth their relatives make a quarrel or feel dejected, therefore, for the purpose of cutting off dispute, should also be made to go forth after asking leave. But in the case of causing them to go forth without asking leave, there is no offence.

-- mahāvagga-aṭṭhakathā, 1. mahākhandhakaṃ, rāhulavatthukathā

The commentary then says something that is not quite clear to me:

putto attānaṃ nissāya jīvati, na mātāpitaro. sacepi rājā hoti, āpucchitvāva pabbājetabbo.

A son lives in dependence on himself, not on his mother or father. If he is a king, he should be made to go forth without having asked leave at all.

-- Ibid

I think these two sentences are meant to go together, and the period is a modern error, but it doesn't then say what a non-king should do in this instance. I don't see this as an issue, since clearly the previous statement still stands - without parents, asking permission is simply a courtesy.

Bonus - the commentary also contains the following edification:

eko mātāpitūhi saddhiṃ bhaṇḍitvā “pabbājetha man”ti āgacchati, “āpucchitvā ehī”ti ca vutto “nāhaṃ gacchāmi, sace maṃ na pabbājetha, vihāraṃ vā jhāpemi, satthena vā tumhe paharāmi, tumhākaṃ ñātakaupaṭṭhākānaṃ vā ārāmacchedanādīhi anatthaṃ uppādemi, rukkhā vā patitvā marāmi, coramajjhaṃ vā pavisāmi, desantaraṃ vā gacchāmī”ti vadati, taṃ jīvasseva rakkhaṇatthāya pabbājetuṃ vaṭṭati.

One, having quarrelled with their mother and father, comes saying "cause me to go forth." And when told, "having asked leave, come," says, "I will not go. If you do not cause me to go forth, I will set the vihara on fire, or I will beat you with a stick, or I will bring about some unbeneficial thing like destroying the homes of your relatives and supporters, or I will fall from a tree and die, or enter into the midst of thieves, or go to the borderlands," it is proper, for the sole purpose of protecting life, to cause him to go forth.

-- Ibid

  • Just the answer i was looking for. Thanks a lot Bhante.
    – user2424
    Jun 19, 2015 at 20:48

but surely the why leads directly to the answer, no? common sense. my teacher once said this: all religions have a version of the same basic rules (don't kill, don't steal, don't become intoxicated, etc).

now why is that?

it's because those activities cause turmoil and drama, which are obstacles to gaining clarity and equanimity.

spiritual goals, like any goals, are reached more easily when you clear the path to them. the more barriers you have to climb, the longer it takes to reach your destination.

causing upset in your family creates an obstacle, both inner and outer. the ruminations and unhappy thoughts you will have from it will distract you from your purpose, and you family may also try to turn you from it because they too are unhappy.

better to spend the time cultivating patience and sensitivity to timing. then, when the proper conditions arrive to become a monk without causing suffering to yourself and others, your path will be easier and more focused.

  • 1
    I think Ryan's comment explained why it's likely that ordination is possible. A good answer would provide evidence e.g. a copy of the rules in question (which is what the OP said he was looking for in this answer).
    – ChrisW
    Jun 18, 2015 at 17:36
  • Thanks for the answer but it does not answer the question. I asked if a person can be ordained if that persons parents are not alive anymore. Your answer seems to be about why the rule is there. I appreciate your effort though.
    – user2424
    Jun 18, 2015 at 18:13

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