A British Buddhist monk teaching in Australia, but ordained in the forest monk tradition in Thailand, states that there are no good reasons not to fully reinstate Thai Theravada’s bhikkhuni sangha, the order of female Buddhist monks. Ajahn Brahm believes that all the excuses given for not reinstating the bhikkhuni sangha–it is irrelevant, it is legally impossible to reinstate, or there is no need for it–are simply “myths.” While Thailand does have a tradition of mae chii, or female renunciates, Ajahn Brahm discusses the lack of support the mae chii receive from the community. He also explains that the Buddha specifically developed a bhikkhuni sangha, not an order of mae chii, and it is imperative to respect the Buddha’s teachings on the issue. Ajahn Brahm’s perspective is admittedly Western: if women were not allowed to be fully ordained in Australia, Buddhism would fail. However, many monks, mae chii, and lay people in Thailand support full development of a bhikkhuni sangha. Read more here.
Beyond the Weberian Trails: An Essay on the Anthropology of Southeast Asian Buddhism
By Pattana Kitiarsa , National University of Singapore
(Vol. 4, March 2009)
Toward a “Wider and Juster Initiative”: Recent Comparative Work in Buddhist Ethics
By Maria Heim , Amherst College
(Vol. 1, October 2006)