Buddhist Nuns in Thailand and Myanmar: Renunciation and Communal Jurisdiction

Full panel title
Buddhist Nuns in Thailand and Myanmar: Renunciation and Communal Jurisdiction

Monica Lindberg Falk (Lund University)

Date & Time
Wednesday 16 August, 11:00 – 12:30

Room 7


Defying ego – the Integrity of Asoke Sikkhamats
Marja-Leena Heikkilä-Horn (Mahidol University International College)

Monastic transactions and communal rules for Myanmar thiláshin
Hiroko Kawanami (Lancaster University)

Communal Rules and Freedom at Thai Nunneries
Monica Lindberg Falk (Lund University)

Discussant: Dr Ma Khin Mar Mar Kyi (Oxford University)

Panel abstract
In the Southern Buddhist tradition women have for centuries lived ordained lives and there are currently about 100,000 Buddhist nuns observing five, eight or ten Buddhist precepts. In contrast to the Buddhist monks’ precepts, the precepts that nuns follow are normally associated with lay practice. The female monk, bhikkhuni, ordination Is again possible for women in the Southern Buddhist tradition. The bhikkhuni ordination has become a widely debated issue and is not recognized by the (male) sangas in Southeast Asia. This panel will focus on Buddhist nuns (thila shin, mae chi and sikkhamat) in Myanmar and Thailand. It will present findings from recently carried out research on Buddhist nuns at temples, nunneries and meditation centres. The panel will discuss findings on motives for women to ordain as nuns instead of receiving bhikkhuni ordination. It will examine how communal rules are essential in regulating nuns’ religious lives, sustain communal cohesion and uphold monastic discipline. It will also address religious activities in relation to monks and laity.