The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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A nun (bhikkhuṇī) is a woman who has renounced ordinary society to live a celibate monastic life. As in Theravadin countries, Tibetan women practitioners (generically called ani) could not traditionally attain the full ordination of bhikshuni, since the ordination lineage was held to have died out. There were numerous communities of ani, but there were fewer of them than male monastics and their status was lower.
In Theravāda lands, the nun’s lineage died out around the turn of the first millennium and traditionalists do not believe that it can or should be revived because there are no nuns to ordain new nuns.
Women Under Primitive Buddhism, I. B. Horner, 1990.