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.