was the status of the bhikkhunis during the Buddha's time?
When the Buddha allowed women to join the Order, a large number
of women welcomed the opportunity given to women for the first
time in Indian history. Some wanted to join the Order to escape
the dreadful life of having to remain in the kitchen for most
of their time, some wanted to escape from a meaningless life
of widowhood, some were doing it as a fashion, or simply followed
their close relatives. In the latter case, some of them proved
to be trouble for the Sangha, but for most of the cases, these
women were sincere in their spiritual search as it was the first
time they enjoyed such freedom.
bhikkhunis who were recognised by the Buddha as being foremost
in the Vinaya, teaching dharma, etc. They were active in propagating
the teaching of the Buddha in the same manner as the bhikkhus.
were well known in preaching and were popular among ministers
and noble families. Once a king asked a learned nun to explain
certain dharma and later asked the same question to the Buddha.
He was surprised to find that the bhikkhuni expounded the dharma
topic the same way as the Buddha. He was happy and convinced
that in fact the teaching of the Buddha had taken root properly.