bhik·​shuni ˈbik-ˌshə-nē How to pronounce bhikshuni (audio)
plural bhikshunis
: a woman belonging to a Hindu or Buddhist monastic order : a Hindu or Buddhist nun
Other precepts, such as the one requiring bhikshunis to receive instructions from a bhikshu twice a month (but not vice versa), clearly reflect gender inequalities in Indian society at that time.Bhikshuni Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Blossoms of the Dharma: Living as a Buddhist Nun, 1999
The number of vows varies among different Buddhist lineages, and within each lineage, the bhikshus and bhikshunis have different numbers of vows.Thubten Chodron, Taming The Mind, 2004

Word History


borrowed from Sanskrit bhikṣuṇī, feminine derivative of bhikṣu bhikshu

First Known Use

1831, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bhikshuni was in 1831

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Cite this Entry

“Bhikshuni.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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