Ordination with unpayable debt

Hi all,

Here’s a scenario: a monastic aspirant owes money to a former friend. They repeatedly offer to pay, asking for the bank account to send the money to.

But the debtee doesn’t supply bank details or any other means to accept the money. They neither confirm that the debt is forgiven, nor express desire to have it paid. Assume that in-person contact is impossible, and the debtee’s address is unknown. So shoving cash in a letterbox isn’t an option.

Can the debt be considered void? Can the aspirant transfer the debt to a willing family member, along with the money in case the debtee comes after it?
What could be done in a situation like this?

tldr; what if you want to ordain but you owe money to someone who only offers non-responses when you try to settle your debt to them

Well, if there is no obligation to pay made known, is it truly a debt? Since a debt implies there is one to collect?


If it were me, after sincerely trying many times over a period of time, if they still refused it, I’d ask them if there is a charity they’d like me to donate the money to instead.

If they still don’t reply, I’d pick a charity I have faith in that reminds me of that person’s good qualities and I’d donate the money there in their honor as a way of washing my hands of it.

But this is just me and the way my conscience works. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. For that, please consult a lawyer familiar with your local laws. :slight_smile:


In most countries there’s a statute of limitations on debts, in Australia where I live for example its six years, so if the person you owe money to doesn’t ask for it back and six years go past the debt becomes voided.

Laws in your country may differ, seek legal advice if debt persists.


1 Like

Interesting tidbit - In India, there is a concept of ‘Civil Death’ whereby one who renounces the world and enters into a religious order is deemed to be dead. Hence all rights/ responsibilities of inheritance, property, debts payable etc. cease on ordination. This has been upheld by Indian courts many times. :smiley:


I would put the loan payments in a high yield CD, perhaps under a trust, and then forget about it until the lender came around. Perhaps document the attempts to pay it and lock up those documents somewhere safe.

1 Like

Wow, this is an amazing idea. Thank you, Venerable! This might actually fix the situation.

1 Like