Pabbajja (Pali; Skt.: pravrajya) literally means "to go forth" and refers to when a layperson leaves home to live the life of a Buddhist renunciate among a community of monks (bhikkhus). This generally involves preliminary ordination as a novice (m. samanera, f. samaneri). It is sometimes referred to as "lower ordination." After a period or when the novice reaches 20 years of age, the novice can be considered for the upasampada ordination (or "higher ordination") whereby the novice becomes a monk (bhikkhu) or nun (bhikkhuni).
In some traditional Theravada countries, such as Myanmar, boys undergo pabbajja (Shinbyu) at the age of puberty. In Mahayana countries such as China and Japan, the pabbajja is preceded by a probationary period.