FORMS OF ADDRESS TO MONKS AND NUNS
Different countries have different ways of addressing a monk, but during the Buddha’s time monks were generally addressed as Bhante, meaning ‘Venerable Sir’, by lay people.
The Buddha addressed a monk as Bhikkhu, but it is impolite for a lay person to address a monk by this word since it means ‘beggar’.
A monk will address a senior monk as Bhante, and a junior monk as Avuso (Ven. Friend) or directly by name. A ten precept novice monk can be addressed by a lay person as Samanera (Samanen or Nen in Thai tradition).
A Bhikkhuni nun during the Buddha’s time was addressed by laypersons as Ayya (Ven. Lady). A monk addresses a Bhikkhuni as Sister or directly by name. Laypersons can address a ten precept nun as Samaneri or Sister. An eight-precept nun is called Machee in the Thai tradition.
In Thai tradition, laypersons address a monk as Tan (Venerable), a Thera (Elder monk, ie. ordained ten or more years) as Acharn (Teacher). Luangpor (Ven. Father) is used for a monk aged between about fifty to seventy five years, while Luangpoo (Ven. Grandfather) is used to address a monk above seventy five.