Advanced

Female Buddhist Authority and the Thai Sangha

Lindberg Falk, Monica LU (2015) EuroSEAS - European Association for South-East Asian Studies, 2015
Abstract
In Thailand gender determines access to Buddhist ordination and women have never been granted membership in the Buddhist congregation, sangha. In spite of the fact that women are excluded from the possibility of being ordained by the Thai sangha women are active in the Buddhist field both as supporters of the sangha and as female Buddhist leaders.

The Thai Buddhist nuns, mae chi, have existed in Thailand for centuries but their position is in certain circumstances ambiguous and they have not gained formal religious authority. There are about 20 000 mae chis in Thailand and there are examples of individual mae chis that are venerated for their high level of Buddhist development. During the recent decades, sections of the mae chis,... (More)
In Thailand gender determines access to Buddhist ordination and women have never been granted membership in the Buddhist congregation, sangha. In spite of the fact that women are excluded from the possibility of being ordained by the Thai sangha women are active in the Buddhist field both as supporters of the sangha and as female Buddhist leaders.

The Thai Buddhist nuns, mae chi, have existed in Thailand for centuries but their position is in certain circumstances ambiguous and they have not gained formal religious authority. There are about 20 000 mae chis in Thailand and there are examples of individual mae chis that are venerated for their high level of Buddhist development. During the recent decades, sections of the mae chis, have increased recognition and authority and the mae chis have improved their position through education, strict Buddhist practice and establishment of self-governed nunneries (Falk 2007). Women are not given bhikkhuni ordination (female monks’ ordination) by the Thai sangha and bhikkhunis ordained abroad are not accepted by the sangha in Thailand. Since 2001 Thai women are receiving novice and full ordination as bhikkhuni with assistance from female and male Buddhist monks from abroad. The re-established female ordination lineage and the female Buddhist leadership with bhikkhunis’ in the Thai Buddhist field are creating new female Buddhist authority.

This paper addresses the recent decades processes of change in the Thai Buddhist field with focus on female Buddhist authority. The paper is based on anthropological research and gives examples of how Thai Buddhist nuns interpret and deal with authority in their position outside the Thai sangha. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
Anthropology, Thailand, Leadership, Buddhism, Gender, Asian Studies
conference name
EuroSEAS - European Association for South-East Asian Studies, 2015
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
44e2efa8-0045-485f-bdba-6ea974fa92f2 (old id 8837575)
date added to LUP
2016-03-09 13:58:47
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:11:31
@misc{44e2efa8-0045-485f-bdba-6ea974fa92f2,
  abstract     = {In Thailand gender determines access to Buddhist ordination and women have never been granted membership in the Buddhist congregation, sangha. In spite of the fact that women are excluded from the possibility of being ordained by the Thai sangha women are active in the Buddhist field both as supporters of the sangha and as female Buddhist leaders. <br/><br>
The Thai Buddhist nuns, mae chi, have existed in Thailand for centuries but their position is in certain circumstances ambiguous and they have not gained formal religious authority. There are about 20 000 mae chis in Thailand and there are examples of individual mae chis that are venerated for their high level of Buddhist development. During the recent decades, sections of the mae chis, have increased recognition and authority and the mae chis have improved their position through education, strict Buddhist practice and establishment of self-governed nunneries (Falk 2007). Women are not given bhikkhuni ordination (female monks’ ordination) by the Thai sangha and bhikkhunis ordained abroad are not accepted by the sangha in Thailand. Since 2001 Thai women are receiving novice and full ordination as bhikkhuni with assistance from female and male Buddhist monks from abroad. The re-established female ordination lineage and the female Buddhist leadership with bhikkhunis’ in the Thai Buddhist field are creating new female Buddhist authority. <br/><br>
This paper addresses the recent decades processes of change in the Thai Buddhist field with focus on female Buddhist authority. The paper is based on anthropological research and gives examples of how Thai Buddhist nuns interpret and deal with authority in their position outside the Thai sangha.},
  author       = {Lindberg Falk, Monica},
  keyword      = {Anthropology,Thailand,Leadership,Buddhism,Gender,Asian Studies},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Female Buddhist Authority and the Thai Sangha},
  year         = {2015},
}