The long-held Thai-Buddhist tradition in Thailand of only men being ordained as a monk is now defied by this brave-hearted lady of Thailand. Boodsabann Chanthawong has very recently joined the group of women that help females in being ordained as a novice or learner monk. This organization is an unrecognized all-female monastery and is situated outside Bangkok.
The Official Rule
According to the official rule in Thailand under the Buddhist order, only men are entitled to become a monk and the country. Since the year 1928, females are prohibited from the process of ordination. The country, therefore, does not accept female monks or novices.
The Transformation in Tradition
Over the years the country has gone through a massive transformation and with a change in the perspective, women like Boodsabann have struggled to make their mark in society. The only option for women who wanted to become monks was to choose to be a white-clad Buddhist nun. This clad follows less strict rules than those followed by the original monks.
With the passage in time women now want to become full-fledged monks and therefore they move out of their own country and get ordained in other countries like India or Sri Lanka. According to the government of the country, it is not gender discrimination but just the tradition they are trying to follow. Women are free to get ordained from abroad but just not within the country.
Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, another monk who was ordained as a monk from abroad in the year 2001, marking herself as the first monk of her country. According to her, there are about 270 female monks in the country and each of them has been ordinate from abroad. In a monastery that she own has seven of these monks reside in it.