Thailand: Pratin Kwan-On

When we work with other people, we have to care for their feelings. We have to show mercy, forgiveness and patience toward each other.

— Pratin Kwan-On

Pratin Kwan-On was born in 1944 in Bang-Jaan, Muang District, Pechaburi Province, and has been President of the Thai Nun Institute since 1996. She became a nun when she was 19 years old and studied Dharma, obtaining her Master’s degree in India in 1976. She founded the Thai Nun Institute to help nuns in Thailand get an education and improve their status. She also established the Dharmajarinividhaya School in 1990 for young women, offering basic education, rights protection and advancement for young women in Thailand who lack the opportunity to improve their lives.

When she was young, Pratin Kwan-On’s life was no different from that of other village girls. She went to primary school, after which she sewed for a living until she had health problems. When her father asked her to become a nun, she agreed, and in 1963, she entered a monastery in Wat Sanampram, Pechaburi Province, and studied Dharma. "As a nun I got to know chastity, learn the history of Buddhism, and learn about Dharma doctrine as a phenomenon," she says. "Before, I never knew that to be born, grow old, suffer and die are normal things." She finished her Dharma and Pali studies, achieving grade six, in 1970. In 1972, she went to India to study because there is no school for nuns in Thailand. Nun Pratin obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Pali Arjariya and her Master’s degree in history in India in 1976. While studying in India, she realized that one problem of Thai nuns is the lack of opportunity to study and she made it her goal to set up a school for nuns when she returned to Thailand. But firstly in 1977, Nun Pratin established the Thai Nun Institute in Pak-Tor district, Rachaburi province. Today, the Thai Nun Institute has 26 branches around the country and more than 10,000 members. Secondly in 1990, she founded the Dharmajarinividhaya School for young women who are interested in the study of Buddhism. The school also offers general subjects. The Thai Nun Institute also established the Mahaprachabordee College in Nakornrachasima province in 1999 and offers Bachelor’s degrees in general subjects and the study of Buddhism. It cooperates with the Institute of Thai Women Facilitation of the Mahamakut Rachavidhayalai University. Nun Pratin has spent more than 33 years initiating projects to improve the status of nuns in Thailand.

Thai Nun Institute