Can monks who committed a Parajika become a Samanera (novice) according to the EBT?

Hi community! I would really appreciate it if one of the experts here can give me a satisfying answer to this question, as it has been nagging away at my mind lately.

After recently developing an intense desire for renunciation, I learned that unfortunately I may have involuntarily committed a Parajika offense earlier in this life, due to improperly disrobing while I was previously a young and stupid bhikkhu. Meaning that I am ineligible for bhikkhu ordination in this lifetime.

According to the vinaya and the EBT, would someone who committed a Parajika still be eligible for Samanera ordination? It’s not ideal, but at least it would allow me to be free from handling money so that I could focus more fully on purifying my mind.

I would really appreciate it if anyone can give me an educated answer to this question! I’ve already done some digging on the internet, but haven’t found any conclusive answers.

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That’s a bummer. Sorry you are in this position.

I don’t think you are going to find an answer because, as I understand it, the EBTs are silent on this point. To my knowledge we don’t have an example of a monk who committed parajaka who then went on to ordain as a novice. And the Vinaya doesn’t address the issue either, as far as I know.

It is really going to be up to the community you decide to join and the preceptor who gives you the going forth.

Part of what they should do is determine precisely if your disrobing is invalid. If that is really the case, then they may try to determine if your original ordination was valid. Sadly I’ve come across people who had bogus ordinations in the first place (like, there were only three monks who participated, etc, so really easy to determine)

And if they decide that you are indeed parajika, then they will have to decide if, all other things being ok, that they are willing to have you join their community as a samanera.

Things like this do, unfortunately, happen. If the community you approach believes you are sincere they will probably support you. It sounds like you do have a respect for the Vinaya, so you would just need to find a community whose opinion you trusted. Because if they just blow it off and offer to give you high ordination, then you may have to deal with doubts in the future. But if you do trust the community and they decide you are actually in the clear, then you would just need to be on board with it.


Parajikas require intention as a factor. If it was truly involuntary, that shouldn’t count as a Parajika (depending on what exactly you mean here).

According to the Vinaya, disrobing merely requires telling another human. As soon as they understand, you are disrobed. No special formula or ceremony is required.

I’ll second @Snowbird’s wise words, and agree that you still have some hope and should go through every detail of your situation with a learned and sympathetic Bhikkhu to see what can be done.

Sorry to hear about your situation and I wish you all the best.


I’m assuming what the op meant was that they disrobed thinking that they disrobed when they actually didn’t. Then they went on to do one of the actions that falls under a parajika. So they didn’t think they were committing a Pr, but in fact they did. They didn’t have to intentionally commit a Pr with intention thinking “Well, now I’m going to commit a Pr.” They would just have to do the act while they were still a bhikkhu.


Right. That’s certainly the most likely interpretation of the limited information we’ve been given.

I’m just bringing it up on the (admittedly small) chance the OP was misled about what counts as a parajika :slight_smile:

(Just as you’ve heard of people being “ordained” by less than a quorum, I’ve heard of monks in Thailand being “defeated” for things that were not a Parajika at all.)

Hi. Thank you very much for the thoughtful response.

Whether or not my disrobing was valid is unfortunately not a certain matter. And I don’t see any way to determine definitively whether or not it was, as the exact memory of what happened is quite hazy in my mind. Basically, one day I simply left the monastery and removed my robes without confessing my weakness to another human. I considered myself to be a layperson from that moment onward, but of course, that is not the case according to the vinaya.

I had a few conversations with people in between my improper disrobing and the potential parajika act, in which it is possible that I uttered the words “I’m a layperson”, or “I’m not a monk”. But unfortunately I can’t remember the exact details. If I reordain, the last thing I want is to be wondering whether I am actually a legitimate bhikkhu, or whether I am a fraud who is effectively stealing from the generous laypeople.

As for the validity of the ordination, that is one area where I am holding out some hope. They did not seem particularly scrupulous about the vinaya at the monastery where I was ordained (Pau-Auk tradition in Myanmar). For example, during the ordination procedure they translated everything into English for me, and essentially told me how to respond and what the correct answers were to all of the questions as they asked them. But again, the details are somewhat hazy in my memory, so I’m not sure if it will be possible to find any one particular thing that would definitively invalidate the ordination.

I thought that I was no longer a bhikkhu at the time, and then I voluntarily committed an act that would count as a parajika were I still to be considered a bhikkhu.

Yeah… I really wish that I had told another human that I was disrobing.

Thanks Bhante.

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Yes, this is exactly what I meant.

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Ajahn Brahm’s monastery near Perth allows for that.

Anyway, there’s also other samanera-like positions like postulant in SBS, where they wear white robes, have clay bowl and take 10 precepts. At least it fulfils your wish for not having to handle money.

For others, here’s more details from another forum:

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:grimacing: Oops! :see_no_evil:

There are a couple long-term postulants at Ajahn Dick’s monastery in Virginia. They do good work and are treated with respect. If you, @accidental_parajika or anyone else reading this in a similar boat, happen to be an American, Forest Dhamma may be a good place to visit and look into. :grin:

Thanks for the info, venerable.

Luangta Maha Boowa’s style of practice resonates with me a lot, so I will consider that as an option. Thanks for sharing.

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