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Ordination Rule

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  • Ordination Rule

    Dear Ajahn Brahmali,

    Why did the Buddha keep the rule that one has to have parent's permission to take ordination as a monk? I've heard somewhere that Sariputta ordained his younger brother without his parents permission stating that his parent's were holders of wrong view and would not give permission for such a thing. And I agree with Sariputta on this one. My desire to ordain for a long duration has been cut down to 6 months due to my parents unwillingness to give permission on the matter. Now someone who wants to increase the wisdom in the world is being held back due to the wrong views of fools.

    With Metta.

  • #2
    Dear Abhishek,

    Don't be too hard on your parents. It is difficult for parents to give up their children, and if I am not mistaken it is particularly difficult for Indian parents to give up a son. So have compassion for them. If you are kind and compassionate, you are showing your sincerity in your aspiration and your parents will then be more likely to give their permission.

    In the end, if parents really are very difficult, it may be that you may be able to ordain without having their permission. I know Ajahn Chah sometimes gave ordination even in cases were parents outrightly refused to give their permission. But it is always preferable to get your parents on-board if at all possible.

    I hope this reassures you.

    With metta.


    • #3
      Thank You for the response, Ajahn Bramali. Good to know that even Ajahn Chah gave ordination in some cases where the parents refused, just have to see how things turn out. I wanted to try for 5 years since this is what Ajahn Chah recommended and then decide whether I should continue or not.


      • #4
        Regarding the initial questions I have read 2 possible answers:
        1. Because it represents a debt. That the child is actually in debt to the parents because they raised him and some parents consider that their children are obligated to take care of them when they are old aged. Which is actually something my father also brought up when I told them I still want to try and become a monk.
        2. Because the sangha is completely non-conflictual and back in the days if someone would have been ordained without parental approval it could have been a lot of trouble for the sangha, especially since "family" could have meant much more. And if it was allowed the sangha could have been frown upon and disregarded, or even worse.

        Which of these would be closer to the truth?


        • #5
          Thank You for the information Daniel. That was a very good answer. But it still confuses me, the Buddha himself did not seek his parents permission to take up ordination and initially the rule was not even there and when some king I think who had lost lot of his children to the Sangha asked the Buddha to keep the rule then the Buddha consented and made this rule.
          Not to mention even if the parents do give permission it's not like they loved giving it. I have personally known people who have become monks, who's parents were frustrated with the son and hence gave permission, one person ran away from home and was given permission and another joined a monastery where parents permission was not required.
          Also even if the Buddha's period, Ratthapala's parents were put in a position where they had no choice but to give permission (Source :- Ratthapala Sutta). And the Buddha praised him for being the foremost among those who had gone forth or something like that, not really sure.

          And I definitely shouldn't have called my parent's as fools on the internet, that wasn't a nice thing for me to say.

          With Metta.


          • #6
            You forget that the buddha was 29 when he ran away from home. He was not a child anymore.

            Secondly, i think he did what he had to do in providing an heir to the family. He had done his duty which went against his true desire to follow a spiritual path.

            Abishek, its strange but you are so attached to this thing of joining a monastery. You actually have a craving that is causing you suffering and i wonder if you have realised this. Maybe you need to let it go for a while. At least until you are old enough to legally do what you like with regard to this. It would be far wiser for you to let it go til later and focus your attention on your studies. Because there is a danger that you will find when you join the monastery, it will disappoint. It may not be all that you hoped it would be.

            That is the issue with craving. The reality often doesn't match our expectations and dreams. So let it go. take a more relaxed attitude towards it. You'll get there but just not now. not yet. This is a good time to practice patience.


            • #7
              Dear Andrea,

              Originally posted by Andrea Collisson View Post
              its strange but you are so attached to this thing of joining a monastery.
              I will tell you the reasons why. If you are serious about the Buddhist path then the best option is to become a monk.

              The precepts will be pure and because of that the meditation will be stronger, there will be continuity in the practice, there will be lots of time for the spiritual practice and learning, your energy will mostly be dedicated for spiritual practice, getting deeper stages of meditation is not an easy thing and almost seems practically impossible if you are a lay person or atleast for someone with a job, even lots of monks don't attain jhanas. Also what is the point of life, for me life has no meaning at all if not for Buddhism. You haven't really achieved anything stable in this life if you are not a stream-winner, the practice that you do in this life puts you in a better chance to do well in other lives but there are no guarantees. When this is the case, the best option is become a monk, do your best and hope for the best. Age has got nothing to do with spiritual practice, it's better to start as early as possible, enlightenment is not something that is achieved in one life. The age limit that the Buddha gives for someone to be ordained as a Bhikkhu is 20, during the time of the Buddha there were 6 year olds who were fully enlightened.

              It's funny to me, you don't even believe in re-birth which I came to know in reading your other thread but you want to give advice to people on their spiritual practice.

              If anyone wants to become a monk, I would definitely not discourage that person, because even if that person becomes a monk or not, as long as that person has honest intentions and are willing to do the practice they will make greater progress atleast in the lay life and probably even come to realize why they want to become a monk in the first place and if there are dishonest intentions behind such a desire also. I'm sure that I wouldn't have made this much progress if that desire to become a monk was not there.

              Please note if you give comments with lots of assumptions especially around me, I lose interest in giving a reply.

              With metta.



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