- Although Gotama Buddha established an order of nuns (bhikkuni) during his lifetime, the Sangha of Burma and other Theravada Buddhist countries does not include women, since the ordination rites for them were lost to the Theravada tradition. Inscriptions indicate that there may have been ordained nuns during the Pagan (Bagan) Dynasty.Despite the lack of equal status with monks in modern Burma, many women become ascetics (often referred to as sila-shin, "owners of good moral conduct," or dasa-sila, "observers of the 10 precepts"), shaving their heads and wearing pink robes. They are estimated to number around 30,000 (compared to 300,000 monks), and large communities of nuns live in Sagaing and Mingun. Their activities are essentially the same as male monks: meditation and study of the Pali Canon. Women are still ordained as nuns in Mahayana Buddhist countries, such as China and Korea, and some Buddhists have suggested that the Mahayana rites could be used to start a new order of bhikkuni in Burma and other Theravada countries.
Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). Donald M. Seekins . 2014.
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