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Thero, Bhadanta, and Venerable.. are words for addressing the old monks, abbots in pagodas and/or temples. I really do not know how they are ranked in Buddhist Sangha. Which title is the highest... and what else?

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From AccessToInsight's Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms:

samaṇera (samaṇerī):
Literally, a small samaṇa; a novice monk (nun) who observes ten precepts and who is a candidate for admission to the order of bhikkhus (bhikkhunīs).

bhikkhu:
A Buddhist monk; a man who has given up the householder's life to live a life of heightened virtue (see sīla) in accordance with the Vinaya in general, and the Pātimokkha rules in particular.

thera:
"Elder." An honorific title automatically conferred upon a bhikkhu of at least ten years' standing.

mahāthera:
"Great elder." An honorific title automatically conferred upon a bhikkhu of at least twenty years' standing.

The female equivalents are samaṇerī, bhikkhuni, theri and mahātheri.

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"Venerable" is the English-language translation of Bhadanta (or Bhante).

As well as What is the appropriate use for the term bhante? see also Thero:

The word literally means "elder". These terms, appearing at the end of a monastic's given name, are used to distinguish those who have at least 10 years since their upasampada (higher ordination).

See also Ajahn which appears to mean the same thing ("for Buddhist monks who have passed ten vassa") but in Thai language

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  • No, Bhante is elder of Aavuso in Vijaya, but Aacariya is a person who has the quality of Aacariya, numbers of memorizing, understanding, and experience more than 10 years. Thero may not be qualified as Aacariya. 1 younger vassa calls 1 elder vassa "Bhante". Qualifications unmixedtheravada.blogspot.com/2017/09/… – Bonn Jun 1 at 1:13
  • I think you're saying that -- 1) a younger monk would say "Bhante" to an older monk -- 2) But an older monk would call a younger monk "Avuso" (meaning "friend"), not "Bhante" -- 3) "Ācariya" (meaning "teacher") depends on whether a monk has memorised and understood etc., not only on seniority -- 4) "Ajahn" is the the Thai word/equivalent for the Pali "Ācariya". – ChrisW Jun 1 at 9:19
  • It's also true, isn't it, that "Bhante" is an appropriate way for any layperson to address any monk? – ChrisW Jun 1 at 9:47
  • 1-4 yes. The last one is yes as well such as in nakulapitasutta 4sacca.com/?rm.r.14.1...bhante,nakulapit#hl – Bonn Jun 1 at 11:47

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