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How shall I call a monk?

I have a friend who became a Buddhist monk. So, I call him “Bhikkhu” with the thought that it is a respectful title. I was a little bit surprised when he objected it and asked to call him “Bhante.” When I ask why he told me that only Buddha can call a monk “Bhikkhu.” Would someone explain me a bit more how to call Buddhist monk? Why is that “Bhikkhu” is only for Buddha to use? Thank you.

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A doctor can call another doctor by their first name but out others call the doctors with the prefix “Doctor”
A teacher can call another teacher by the first name but pupils do not.
Similarly, the parents can call their children “son or daughter” but others do not.

So Bhikkhu is a term for the Buddha to use because he is the father of the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. Not even the bhikkhus use the word “bhikkhu” when they call each other. So who are we to call them that way.
Laypeople address the monks as Bhante or Ajahn meaning teacher. So your former friend is right when he said you should call him Bhante.
With Metta

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This topic has been discussed already quite a lot on this forum. Searching for “monastic title”, you can find these threads.

Welcome to the forum, by the way!

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A simple rule I use with everybody is: ask how they want to be addressed and called this include the pronoun they wish to use. Although we should clearly understand that all these labels, had gender labels, work titles, titles of all types, are conventions and attachments to them can be not a good thing and something to let go of, love and kindness and respect as well as compassion suggest that the best way is to second the personal preference.
I have renounced all my labels. My first name is confusing (Gabriele with e at the end), and some people use feminine with me o masculine when they do not hear or see me. I do not correct them anymore. If they say, “Oh, but you are a man with a feminine name”, I only reply: I can be whatever you wish me to be.
Indeed we are or our imagination or the imagination of others.
Since I adopted such an approach, I have been free from dealing with the need to “impose” my identity, and the beauty is I do not need to impose one even to myself.
So my suggestion is: ask the monk or any person how they want to be addressed and try your best to respect that.
:pray:

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I will study more in order to understand properly. At the moment I have one thought. You said, “your former friend.” Does this mean that he is no more my friend because he became a monk? In my view he still is a friend of mine.

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To address a monk as “Bhikkhu” is grammatically incorrect. The vocative form is “Bhante.”

You can say, “Bhikkhu Pesala replied to my topic,” but you should say, “Bhante, what is the correct form of address when speaking to a monk?”

Thais, Burmese, and Sri Lankans each have their own respectful form of address: Ajahn, Sayādaw/Ashinpiya, Hamudru?, but Bhante will be understood by all bhikkhus, because it is in Pali.

In English, people may use Venerable or Reverend, neither of which is strictly comparable to the meaning of the Pali term, so IMO it is better to avoid using them if you know the correct form.

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Not at all. He is your spiritual friend now which is much more than the former friendship.
With Metta

Thank you very much for your kind reply. I went through the discussions in this forum and on the internet. I see it is a monastic norm and Bhante will be an acceptable title to use every where.

Thank you again.

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Thank you very much for your kind reply. I went through the discussions in this forum and on the internet. I see it is a monastic norm and Bhante will be an acceptable title to use every where.

Thank you again.