can a mae ji share in social and religious development?
The condition which mae jis have in reality is different from
that which society expect from them. Society considers mae jis
as human resource available for social and religious development.
Therefore society expects to see mae jis commit themselves in
social welfare works, e.g. taking care of orphans, aged citizen
in the whole country the number of mae jis do not exceed 10,000.
Out of this 80% have completed only grade 4-6 of formal education.
The same percentage came from a farmers' background, having
no financial support, no social recognition. They have to fend
for themselves in a "hand to mouth" manner, some with
minimal support from their families. The idea to help others
or be involved in social welfare is too far-fetched for them.
As a result
some of them have to beg on the street to meet their monthly
are a number of mae jis who choose to become mae jis after having
been turned off from worldly life. As they fled from society,
to expect them to return to get involved in social development
contradicts their original intention.
It is true
that mae jis can be an effective human resource to benefit society
but a step is needed before that is to improve mae jis themselves
by providing them education and training so that they can first
help themselves and not pose as a social burden. Then they can
guide others both in words and action.
improve mae jis in a more concrete manner is to start a college
to provide for them Buddhist and general education so that mae
jis can move with the flow of society, to understand social
problems and at the same time be equipped with dharma knowledge
to guide society towards a better Buddhist community.
of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Education, is a government
unit responsible directly for the well being of the mae jis.
It is proposed that they should urgently find a measure to register
the mae jis to lessen the opportunity for outsiders to exploit
the position of mae jis. At the same time they should consider
promoting mae jis in a process to fortify mae jis as another
effective religious unit to help establish and propagate Buddhism.