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Nation's First Female Buddhist Monk Ordained

February 12, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

A Buddhist nun has become the first female monk ordained in Thailand, presenting a serious challenge to the nation's all-male clergy.

Varanggana Vanavichayen, 55, was ordained Sunday by a female Sri Lankan monk in the presence of a male Thai monk. Theravada scriptures, as interpreted in Thailand, require that for a woman to be ordained a monk, the ceremony must be attended by a male and female monk.

Monks are the main clerics in Thai Buddhism. The deputy chief of the government's Religious Affairs Department, however, said Varanggana will not be recognized as a monk.

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