How do I address a Burmese nun?

Greetings, I’ll be offering some logistical support to a visiting Burmese nun (of North American descent). I’m unfamiliar with how to address a Burmese nun – what title should I use.

Could someone please let me know?

Thank you :pray:t3:

I’d just ask them how is it respectful to address a monastic in their tradition.

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This is the way.

And while you are at it, you can invite them to correct you on any matters of protocol.

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OK. I was just thinking there’s an equivalent to “Ayya” followed by a personal monastic name. Thanks, Ven. Snowbird.


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There is just so much diversity in the monastic domain that the only sure thing is to ask.

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The way I have heard it is ‘Sayalay’

There seems to be a handy cheat-sheet here for all traditions.

However, I generally encourage people to start with ‘Venerable’ and then ask.
Venerable, is gender inclusive and respectful.


Thank you so much, Venerable Pasanna! This is truly helpful…I didn’t want to appear to her as if I didn’t already have some idea…like it would be respectful to know.

Thank you again! :pray:t3: :smiling_face: :elephant:


I think monastics (in the west especially) have no expectation for people knowing how to address them. Especially when there are cross-cultural/cross-language issues. I once had a Sri Lankan Christian on the street in North America address me as “Your Highness.” The only real problem was trying not to giggle. But it’s not so hard to see how he thought to use that English phrase when you look at the very respectful Sinhala terms people use to address monastics.


One shortcoming of this list is that it doesn’t distinguish between titles and forms of address. For example, you could address Bhante Bodhi as “Bhante,” But you would never address him as “Bhikkhu,” as in “Hello Bhikkhu!”

It’s also missing a lot of Sinhala terms like svaminwahanse, hamdur, himi, and sadhu.