POLITICAL COMMUNICATION FOR THE STATUS OF “BHIKKHUNIS” IN THAILAND : THE CASE OF DHAMMANANDA BHIKKHUNI

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อภิญญา ฉัตรช่อฟ้า

Abstract

The research findings were as follows.


  1. The Thai political contexts from B.E.2544 to 2559 did contribute a great deal to the political communication process of Dhammananda Bhikkhuni in her struggle for the status of ‘bhikkhunis’ in Thailand. On 25 February B.E.2546, she was the first Thai to have been ordained as a full ‘bhikkhuni’ in a Theravada monastic lineage in Sri Lanka. She is the abbess of Songdhammakalyani Monastery who offered ordination to women who would like to become ‘bhikkhunis’. This posed a challenge to the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand which forbids bhikkhuni’s ordainment in Thailand.

  2. It was found that the political communication process of Dhammananda Bhikkhuni in her struggle for the status of Bhikkhunis in Thailand was in line with David K. Berlo’s Communication Model and Brian McNair’s Political Communication Model. As a Ph.D holder in Buddhism, a university academic with vast experiences in Bhuddhist studies, and a well-groomed daughter of a Bhikkhuni mother, who was ordained in a Dharmaguptaka lineage in Taiwan in B.E.2514, Dhammananda Bhikkhuni was well-qualified as a key message sender of the Thai Bhikkhuni movement. The ‘messages’ she delivered were meant to make the Thai public aware of the low status of ‘bhikkhunis’ and to gain its recognition internationally. As a prolific writer, her channels of communication were various; she made full use of both the main and new media. The groups she targeted to receive her messages were, namely religious organizations, especially the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand, Bhuddhist monks and nuns, women’s groups, academics, scholars, members of the media, dhamma practitioners and the public in general.

            The above research findings can be synthesized as follows:


  • Successful political communication for the status of ‘bhikkhunis’ in Thailand requires womens’s empowerment, a more unified movement and a broader scale of mobilization.

  • The struggle for the status of ‘bhikkhunis’ reflects inequality in the social and cultural perceptions of Thai society.

  • The struggle for the status of ‘bhikkhunis’ in Thailand requires popular support.

  • Daring to challenge religious establishments can lead to fundamental social changes.

  • Effective message delivery can either lead to positive or negative impacts depending on attitudes of message receivers.

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Article Details

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บทความวิจัย (Research Articles)

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