Yiguan Dao’s similarity to Buddhism is often considered the reason for its expansion in Thailand and its attraction of not only ethnic Chinese members, but also Thai members. However, the teachings, practices, and networks of female Yiguan Dao members in Thailand are exemplary of Yiguan Dao’s discontinuities with established Buddhism in Thailand. In Thai Theravāda Buddhism, women’s full ordination as bhikkhunīs is not recognized by the authorities and much of the public, and women are considered subordinate to men in the religious dimension. Although certain ideas and practices regarding the reform of women’s status in Thai Buddhism have made advances, most reforms continue to face difficulties under the restrictions of the Thai Buddhist establishment. Although some sexist elements exist in its teachings, Yiguan Dao, a new religious movement in modern Thailand existing outside the framework of Buddhism, offers its female members a competitive alternative to women’s religious equality and geographic mobility in the pluralistic Thai religious marketplace.

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