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In this paper, the social roles of Thai Bhikkhunis (Buddhist female priests) are analyzed by using the concept of roles. The concept of roles, developed by Bloom and Selznick (1973), Turner (1998), Good (1973), and Raven and Rubin (1976), is also grouped. As a result, the social roles of Thai Bhikkhunis can be divided into three categories: a prescribed role, a perceived role, and a performed role. The prescribed role or a publisher of Buddhist doctrine is the role that Thai Bhikkhunis have shown as good Bhikkhunis. They publicize Buddhist teachings and religious education. This role has probably existed since Buddha's time in the view of the author. However, the forms of this role have evolved over time. The content of the Buddhist teachings has been changed in response to the new generation as well. The perceived role is an unclear role of female priests in Thai society. With the fact that the Sangha Supreme Council has not yet approved the ordination of Bhikkhunis in Thailand, the status of Thai Bhikkhunis is still unclear. The performed role is defined as the role of a social worker for Thai Bhikkhunis. This role of Thai Bhikkhunis can be easily noticed in Thai society. It has provided various benefits to the public. Nevertheless, the main goal of this paper is to give a better understanding toward Thai Bhikkhunis. It does not intend to spark the debate on whether the ordination of Bhikkhunis should be allowed in Thai society. It is expected to draw more attention to the benefits that Thai Bhikkhunis have contributed to their community.
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