Why monastics use the title 'Venerable'?

Why do Buddhist mendicants residing in the West use the term Venerable as a title?

I think that it is a translation of the pali word āyasmā (??) and I can see it’s use as a description in the suttas. But why the use as a title? (It’s also translated as a title with a capital V in the translations by @sujato ). I’ve heard the word bhante (which seems to be translated as ‘sir’) used too, and I presumed that this was the word that was being translated as Venerable, but is it? What is the relationship between bhante and āyasmā?

Is it offensive to just use their name without the title? If so why? Could one use the term āyasmā instead? Is āyasmā used in the East?

What was it like in the Buddha’s time? Did people from other religions use these as titles when addressing Buddhist mendicants? How about Buddhist lay supporters talking to mendicants and mendicants talking to each other? Does the use of a title change depending on circumstances - such as being dropped in casual settings?

Many thanks for reading this rather rambling question.

1 Like

I recommend checking the discussion below.



Thank for this question, and the answer with the other thread. As a long time Quaker, it all seems odd to me, but I also DON’T want to seem rude.

1 Like