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Monks who are women?

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At first locals thought the monks who came for food each morning were men, but then, slowly, they realized... they were actually women. 

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Religion

Female monks cause a stir

24 Jan 2013

Residents of tambon Bang Krathuek in Sam Phran district of Nakhon Pathom province want the National Office of Buddhism to investigate a group of women who don yellow robes and go out seeking alms every morning, just like Buddhist monks.

Buddhist nuns traditionally wear white robes.

Many locals were surprised by the sight but did not suspect anything wrong. Some were even unaware that they were females.

According to a report in Daily News, a local motorcycle taxi driver whose name was given as Somphol showed a video clip of three women aged 40-50 dressed in yellow robes like monks and carrying alms bowls.

Mr Sompol said he had never seen such a thing prior to December last year. They regularly walked down from Phutthamonthon Sai 5 Road to their lodging near Wat Don Wai. Normally, there were four of them, he added.

They did not stay in a temple, but in some type of building with high security, according to Mr Sompol.

A local food vendor said that she has been working in the area for a long time but until recently had not seen any female monks. She had asked local police to investigate the matter, but so far no progress seemed to have been made.

The food vendor said that female monks are allowed in India and Sri Lanka, but she did not think they were permitted in Thailand. If they were, she would like her daughter enter the monkhood too.

She wants a responsible agency to check whether they are real monks or not.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Breakingnews, Female monks cause a stir, 24 Jan 2013, link)


Female Buddhist Monks Vocabulary

Buddhist monk - a person who leaves the normal life of working in the world (life of a householder) to live a simple life of meditation and spiritual practice, live by a set of rules called the patimokkha within the the books of monastic discipline (vinaya) in the pursuit of nirvana or nibbana, Bhikku ภิกษุ (See Wikipedia)

the monkhood - the community and organization of all monks and nuns, the Sangha สงฆ์ (See Wikipedia)
enter the monkhood - become a monk, ordination การบวช (See Wikipedia)

female - of a woman สำหรับผู้หญิง
female monk - Bhikkuni ภิกษุณี (See Wikipedia)

buddhist nun -  Buddhist women in Thailand who wear white robes and live a religious life and occupy a position somewhere between that of an ordinary non-monk and a full ordained monk. แม่ชี (See Wikipedia)
nun - a female monk, a monk who is a woman

buddhist nuns traditionally wear white robes

tradition
(noun) - something that was done in the past and continues to be done now ประเพณี
traditional (adjective) - เป็นประเพณี;  แบบดั้งเดิม

traditionally (adverb)
traditionally wear white robes

permitted - allowed
if female monks are permitted, she would like her daughter to enter the monkhood too

stir - a lot of interest or excitement ความตื่นเต้น
cause a stir - cause a lot of interest and excitement
female monks cause a stir

residents - people who live in a place
investigate - to carefully look at things (the evidence) to find out or discover what happened ตรวจสอบหาความจริง

alms
- the practice of householders giving monks and nuns food and other things they need in their daily life (See Wikipedia)
alms bowl -
the bowl that Buddhist monks traditionally travel around with in the morning to get their food from people living in the area (householders)
dressed in yellow robes like monks and carrying alms bowls

yellow robe - the cloth worn by a monk as clothes, different colours in other countries (See Wikipedia)

don - put on clothes, wear clothes
don yellow robes
seeking alms every morning

residents -
people who live in a place
residents of tambon Bang Krathuek in  Nakhon Pathom province

don - to put on a piece of clothing ใส่เสื้อ
don yellow robes - put on and wear the yellow robes of a monk

investigate
a group of women who don yellow robes and go out seeking alms every morning, just like Buddhist monks

the sight - seeing something (example: the sight of blood makes him frightened)
surprised by the sight

suspect - to believe that something is true, especially something bad เป็นที่สงสัยว่า
did not suspect anything wrong

locals - people who live in a particular place ชาวบ้าน
many locals were surprised by the sight but did not suspect anything wrong.

unaware - to not know about; not understand something ซึ่งไม่รู้ตัวมาก่อน
some were even unaware that they were females

local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
a local motorcycle taxi driver
a local motorcycle taxi driver whose name was given as Somphol

video clip - a short piece of video (as found on YouTube, for example)
showed a video clip of three women aged 40-50 dressed in yellow robes like monks and carrying alms bowls.

prior to - before
Mr Sompol said he had never seen such a thing prior to December last year.

regularly - do things always at the same time (example: She exercises regularly every day)  
lodging - a place where people live
They regularly walked down from Phutthamonthon Sai 5 Road to their lodging near Wat Don Wai. Normally, there were four of them, he added.

security - the activity of making safe or protecting from harm
building with high security
They did not stay in a temple, but in some type of building with high security, according to Mr Sompol.

vendor - seller of goods; someone who sells something, but not in a shop พ่อค้าแม่ค้าแผงลอย
food vendor  - a person who sells food on the street

A local food vendor said that she has been working in the area for a long time but until recently had not seen any female monks.

matter - a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน something that you are discussing, considering or dealing with สิ่งที่พูดถึง ประเด็นที่พูดถึง
investigate the matter

progress - advance, go forward;  the process of developing and improving over time; gradual improvement towards a goal; completing tasks that move you towards achieving a goal ก้าวหน้า

make progress -
to advance and go forward in a project, achieving goals
progress has been made
no progress
has been made

so far - up to this point in time
so far no progress seemed to have been made.

She had asked local police to investigate the matter, but so far no progress seemed to have been made.

permitted - allowed
female monks are allowed in India and Sri Lanka, but she did not think they were permitted in Thailand.

responsible - something that someone must do as part of their job or work
agency -
government agency

responsible agency
She wants a responsible agency to check whether they are real monks or not.

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