Bhikkhuni refers to the tradition of Buddhist holy women, or nuns.
While the lineage of Buddhist nuns (Bhikkhuni) was originally provided for by the Buddha, it spread widely in the Mahayana tradition. Since the 11th century many believe that lineage has been broken. The official ordination of nuns has declined in the time that has passed since the order’s founding in the Buddha’s time, therefore rendering the current incarnation ‘untrue’ or ‘impure’ in the eyes of the sangha. Regardless of this development, many Buddhist women continue to follow in a parallel tradition.
Many women continue to follow the spirit, if not the letter, of the bhikkhuni order as pious laywomen even though they are either never ordained or are considered “semi-ordained” since they are not recognized officially by the Sangha in the Theravada tradition, these women attempt to lead a life following the teachings of the Buddha. They observe 8-10 precepts and do not follow exactly the same codes as ordained Buddhist monks. They receive popular recognition for their role but not official endorsement.aksjd;lfjalksddjoiajlgknaioe;jras;dlkfhajsklndjvahs;dgh;alsjdflkjwioean;kjlnvjakhsdkjf;hlnweoriqwjerklnasdfPartly responsible for the movement is Voramai Kabilsingh, who received the eight precepts of the Thai female renunciant (mae chi) from Phra Pronmuni of Wat Bovoranives. Her example eventually caused a number of young women to follow her example, donning yellow robes, and found the first Thai monastery for Buddhist women.
The traditional appearance of Theravada nuns is much like that of monks, including a shaved head and either white or pink robes. Bhikkhuni orders enjoy a broad basis in Mahayana countries like Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan.