Buddhist monastic order, traditionally composed of four groups: monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. Established by the Buddha, it is the world's oldest body of celibate clerics. Together with the Buddha and the dharma, it makes up the Threefold Refuge, a basic creed of Buddhism. Buddha established the bhiksu sangha for men and later the bhiksuni sangha for women. Members depend on alms from the community, since they are discouraged from engaging in commerce or agriculture. They live according to the Vinaya Pitaka.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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