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Monastic Discipline and Communal Rules for Buddhist Nuns in Myanmar and Thailand

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/10/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Buddhism, Law & Society
Issue numberSpecial Issue 1
Number of pages30
Pages (from-to)39-68
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date1/10/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This study explores the contemporary social reality of Buddhist precept nuns in Myanmar and Thailand through the lens of the monastic regulations and communal rules they adhere to, and how/if such rules inform their monastic discipline and communal cohesion. The concept of cohesion, in turn, may have much to tell us about nuns’ ritual practices and religious activities in relation to those of monks, as well as about their engagement with the outside world. The article also discusses nuns’ legal status in relation to the state; traditional norms for Buddhist women in various socio-religious contexts; the workings of hierarchy, authority and punishment in nunneries. In recent decades, some Buddhist nuns in both countries have expanded the size of their communities and enhanced their levels of education in part by upholding discipline and following Buddhist rules and norms. However, while thilashin in Myanmar have worked closely with monks by offering ritual services and are now fully integrated into the wider Buddhist community there, mae chi in Thailand have enhanced their education and spiritual development by making the most of their independent status outside the control of the sangha.