Life as a Female Monk

I was recently offered the opportunity to join in a 2 week event which is allowing Females the same opportunity that Males have had forever.  The opportunity was to ordain as a Female Buddhist Monk. The lineage of Female Monks in Thailand and in other parts of the world is in question but there are groups who are working to change this and make it possible for Females to experience the time honored tradition which has, for hundreds of years, only been available to Males.  The experience was very educational and very humbling.  I spoke to several members of my group who had watched their brothers and cousins over the years go through the ordination and wished that they could have the same opportunity.  This is especially true for those families who only have daughters.   Within the culture there are beliefs that it is an honor and privilege to be able to touch a Monk and now that privilege is being restored, slowly by several groups within Thailand and around the world.  One of the most memorable experiences was when we went on Alms rounds.  We walk through the local area and provide the local people the opportunity to offer food and flowers for blessings.  It is a part of my Peace Corps service that I will never forget.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.