"belonged to the women and benefactresses attached to the pilgrims"

The Buddha believed that both men and women could attain enlightenment and he established an order of bhikkhus (monks) and as well as bhikkhunis (nuns), with identical practices and rules of governance.

As Susan Murcott comments, "The nun's sangha was a radical experiment for its time."

Thousands of women joined the order of bhikkhunis, while lay Buddhist women followers, many of them from wealthy backgrounds, supported the reformatory movement, with money, shelter, gardens, and material for robes, food, medicine, and so forth. Buddhism also received the patronage of wealthy queens and royal women.

Readn an account of some famous women who figure prominently in the early Buddhist texts.