Suttas for the Householder

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
culaavuso
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by culaavuso » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:06 pm

AN 3.48: Pabbata Sutta may be inspirational for some.

Sweeney
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by Sweeney » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:41 pm

Hi all,

So, a while ago I was reading a sutta on Access to Insight about getting permission from one's parents to ordain. The person in question had permission from their mother but not their father. But since their mother had divorced their father for being no good, they owed no loyalty to their father, hence not needing his permission to ordain. So I was wondering if anybody else has any recollection of this sutta as I cannot seem to find it again and I found it very interesting as regards the topic of the debt one owes to ones parents.
Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ
Kusalassa upasampadā
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ
Etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ
~ Dhp 183 ~

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Dhammanando
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:44 pm

Sweeney wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:41 pm
So I was wondering if anybody else has any recollection of this sutta as I cannot seem to find it again and I found it very interesting as regards the topic of the debt one owes to ones parents.
It sounds like one of the scenarios described in Buddhaghosa's Vinaya commentary.
Vinaya Piṭaka:

"Monks, a son must not be given the going forth without permission from his mother and father. Should one do so, it is an offence of wrong-doing."
(Vin. i. 83)

Commentary:

Here, the phrase "from his mother and father" was said in regard to the man and woman who conceived him. If both are living, then leave must be obtained from both of them.

If the father or mother is deceased, then leave must be obtained from [the parent] who is still living.

Even if they have themselves gone forth, leave must still be obtained from them.

When obtaining leave, he may either go and obtain it himself, or may send another person, saying to him, "Go to my mother and father and having obtained their leave come back."

If he says, "I am one who has obtained permission," he may be given the going forth if it is believable.

A father has himself gone forth and wishes his son to go forth; having obtained leave of the mother, let him go forth; or, a mother wishes her daughter to go forth; having obtained leave of the father, let her go forth.

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.

A mother has run away with some man or other. The father gives [his son to some monks, saying], "Let him go forth." The principle in this case is just the same as above.

The Kurundī states: 'A father is absent. The mother gives her son permission, saying, "Let him go forth." When asked, "Where has his father gone?" she replies, "I shall be responsible for whatever is due to you from the father." - It is suitable for him [the son] to be given the going forth.'

The mother and father are deceased. Their boy has grown up in the company of [relatives] such as his maternal aunt. When he is being given the going forth, his relatives start a quarrel or criticize it. Therefore, in order to stop the quarrel, he should obtain their leave before being given the going forth. But if given the going forth without having obtained their leave there is no offence.

They who undertook to feed him in his childhood are called "mother" and "father", and with respect to these the principle is just the same as above. The son [is reckoned as] one living dependent on himself, not on a mother and father.

Even if he be a king, he must still obtain leave before being given the going forth.

Being permitted by his mother and father, he goes forth, but [later] reverts [to being a householder]. Even if he goes forth and reverts seven times, on each occasion that he comes [to go forth] again he must obtain leave [from his mother and father] before he may be given the going forth.

If [his mother and father] say: "This [son of ours], having reverted and come home, does not do any work for us; having gone forth he will not fulfil his duty to you; there is no point in him obtaining leave; whenever he comes to you, just give him the going forth." When [a son] has been disowned in this way, it is suitable for him to be given the going forth again without even obtaining leave.

He who when only in his childhood had been given away [by his mother and father, saying], "This is a gift for you; give him the going forth whenever you want," may be given the going forth whenever he comes [to ask for it], without even obtaining leave.

But [a mother and father], having given permission [to their son] when he was only in his childhood, afterwards, when he has reached maturity, withdraw their permission; he must not be given the going forth without obtaining leave.

An only son, after quarrelling with his mother and father, comes [to the sangha, saying], "Let me go forth." Upon being told, "Come back after you have obtained leave," he says, "I'm not going! If you don't let me go forth, I shall burn down your monastery, or stab you with a sword, or cause loss to your relatives and supporters by cutting down the plants in their gardens, or kill myself by jumping from a tree, or join a gang of robbers, or go to another country."
It is suitable to let him go forth in order to safeguard life. If his mother and father then come and say, "Why did you let our son go forth?" they should be informed of the reason for it, saying, "We let him go forth in order to safeguard life. You may confirm this with your son."

Then, [one saying] "I shall jump from a tree," has climbed up and is about to let go with his hands and feet. It is suitable to let him go forth.

An only son, having gone to another country, requests the going forth. If he had obtained leave before departing, he may be given the going forth.

If he had not obtained leave, having sent a young monk to get [the parents] to give their leave, he may be given the going forth. If it is a very distant country, it is suitable to just give him the going forth and then send him with
other bhikkhus to inform [the parents].

But the Kurundī states: 'if [the country] is far away and the way to it is [across] a great wilderness (or desert), it is suitable to give him the going forth, [thinking], "having gone there [later] we shall obtain leave [of the parents]."'

If a mother and father have many sons and speak thus: "Venerable sir, may you give the going forth to whichever [one] of these boys you choose," then having examined the boys, he may give the going forth to the one he chooses.

If an entire [extended] family or an entire village is given permission [by someone, saying], "Venerable sir, may you give the going forth to whichever [one] of the boys in this family or this village you choose," he may give the going forth to the one he chooses.

Sweeney
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by Sweeney » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:53 pm

Ok thanks, I was sure it was a sutta I read on ATI, but this is an interesting read none the less.
Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ
Kusalassa upasampadā
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ
Etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ
~ Dhp 183 ~

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samseva
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by samseva » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:14 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:44 pm
But the Kurundī states: 'if [the country] is far away and the way to it is [across] a great wilderness (or desert), it is suitable to give him the going forth, [thinking], "having gone there [later] we shall obtain leave [of the parents]."'
How much weight/importance does Buddhaghosa's commentary about the requirement of obtaining permission to be given forth have in Theravāda countries, such as Thailand? Do the Kurundī passages in it have an equal degree of importance?

In the above passage, the bhikkhu having been given the going forth without permission, and then having traveled to ask his parents; if one or both parents were to refuse to give permission, would the bhikkhu be required to disrobe? What would happen?

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Dhammanando
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:54 pm

samseva wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:14 pm
How much weight/importance does Buddhaghosa's commentary about the requirement of obtaining permission to be given forth have in Theravāda countries, such as Thailand?
Some policies recommended in the commentary are followed and some aren't. For example, in Thailand if a man were seriously threatening to burn down a monastery unless he was given ordination, it's virtually certain that he would get arrested even though the commentary says that his wish should be granted.
samseva wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:14 pm
Do the Kurundī passages in it have an equal degree of importance?
The Kurundī is the (now lost) Sinhala Vinaya commentary that was one of Buddhaghosa's sources. Usually he mentions it by name only when there's a difference of opinion between the Kurundī and the Mahā-atthakathā. It wasn't his habit, however, to express any preference between the competing views. The writers of Vinaya sub-commentaries do sometimes argue for one view rather than the other, but their arguments are based on the perceived merits of the view they're defending, not on the idea that one of Buddhaghosa's sources was more authoritative than the other.
samseva wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:14 pm
In the above passage, the bhikkhu having been given the going forth without permission, and then having traveled to ask his parents; if one or both parents were to refuse to give permission, would the bhikkhu be required to disrobe? What would happen?
Nothing would happen to the monk, for ordaining without one's parents' permission isn't deemed a serious enough infraction to invalidate an ordination. But the preceptor who ordained him might have to confess a misdemeanour.

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samseva
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by samseva » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:46 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:54 pm
[...]
I've always thought that the requirement to have your parents' permission (even more so both) to ordain could easily result in conflict, if say the relationship with one parent is tense, or one of the parents has various conflicting views, such as with practicing a religion.

I'm guessing using a distant place to not have to request permission as an excuse/loophole would be based on wrong intention. Generally, how strict would preceptors be of ordaining someone whom the father or mother is against the person going forth, for wrong reasons (such as someone who is excessively anti-religious, to the point of stopping someone from being ordained by not giving permission)? Or is successively obtaining both parents' permission completely required, without any way around it?

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Dhammanando
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:55 am

samseva wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:46 am
Generally, how strict would preceptors be of ordaining someone whom the father or mother is against the person going forth, for wrong reasons (such as someone who is excessively anti-religious, to the point of stopping someone from being ordained by not giving permission)? Or is successively obtaining both parents' permission completely required, without any way around it?
When helping other Westerners to get ordained in Thailand, I've encountered a few very strict abbots who required the candidates to provide written evidence that they had obtained their parents' consent (and wouldn't have ordained them without it), but these were the exception. The great majority didn't even ask about it. And so in practice matters will most often hinge on how strict the candidate is going to be with himself. If he has failed to obtain his parents' consent it would be easy enough for him to cut corners and get ordained anyway, but obviously it would be a highly inauspicious way to begin. For a start, it would mean having to lie to his two ācāriyas during the ordination ceremony interrogation.

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pitakele
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by pitakele » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:43 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:54 pm
Nothing would happen to the monk, for ordaining without one's parents' permission isn't deemed a serious enough infraction to invalidate an ordination. But the preceptor who ordained him might have to confess a misdemeanour.
I know of a European monk whose parents disapproved of him being Buddhist or ordaining. After training at a prestigious forest monastery in Sri Lanka for some time, the venerable abbot, a famous meditation master and scholar (now deceased) took on guardianship (informally?) of this young man. There may have been some sort of commentarial precedent for this - I don't know. The young man subsequently ordained, applying himself diligently to study & practice and continues on contentedly in robes 35 years later. Nowadays, I think he may be a teacher in the Pa Auk tradition.
now here = nowhere

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samseva
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Re: Suttas for the Householder

Post by samseva » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:44 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:55 am
If he has failed to obtain his parents' consent it would be easy enough for him to cut corners and get ordained anyway, but obviously it would be a highly inauspicious way to begin. For a start, it would mean having to lie to his two ācāriyas during the ordination ceremony interrogation.
I fully agree. It's just a sad situation for someone who would like to ordain but can't, simply because of their parents' disapproval, similar to the situation pitakele explained. Missing out on being able to ordain due to both parents' or one of the parents' views would be a waste.
If he had not obtained leave, having sent a young monk to get [the parents] to give their leave, he may be given the going forth. If it is a very distant country, it is suitable to just give him the going forth and then send him with other bhikkhus to inform [the parents].
Following the Commentary, I guess this passage would allow one to ordain, but it would also mean responding 'no' to the permission question during ordination.

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