Buddha’s first invitation, ‘Come, monk, live the holy life so that you can put an end to suffering,' was an invitation to personally experience the truth in Buddha's teachings, by renouncing family life and adorning the robes of a monk. Buddha's encouraged a missionary way of life. When sixty followers had reached enlightenment, the Buddha sent them out to teach others with these words, ‘Go out, monks, and teach the truth, which is glorious in the beginning, glorious in the middle and glorious in the end, for the good of all beings.’
As the number of followers grew, restrictive regulations were imposed. A distinction was made between novice ordination and higher ordination, and formal rule of discipline of over two hundred rules emerged.
The Order of Bhikkhus,or formal order of monks formed, originally only for men. Later an order for women who renounced worldly life also emerged - a Bhikkhusi Order.
As Aloysius Pieris writes, "At the heart of Buddhism is a community. Sangha really means in Sanskrit ‘cemented together’, people who are sticking together. The Buddha’s doctrine was entrusted to a community and at the very inception of Buddhism, the message was preached and a community was formed together – the monastic community. So community is of the very essence of Buddhism. But, together with the monastic community, the Buddha said there were four kinds of disciples: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. From the beginning there was a tendency to define the community in terms of these four."