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"With this in mind, the Buddha said, ’In all things, there is neither male nor female.’" The Vimilakirti is an essential text in several Mahayana schools, including Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. During Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism's golden age (China, ca.
7th-9th centuries) women studied with male teachers, and a few were recognized as dharma heirs and Ch'an masters.
Some women have been ordained as Theravada nuns in the presence of these Mahayana nuns, although this is hugely controversial in some patriarchal Theravada monastic orders. I've been told the nuns of Taiwan enjoy higher status in their country than the monks do.
The Zen tradition also has some formidable women Zen masters in its history.
"Women, Ananda, having gone forth are able to realize the fruit of stream-attainment or the fruit of once-returning or the fruit of non-returning or arahantship," he said. Some historians argue that this story was an invention written into scriptures later, by an unknown editor.
Ananda was still a child when the first nuns were ordained, for example, so he couldn't very well have been on hand to advise the Buddha. The most significant of these rules are called the Eight Garudhammas ("heavy rules").
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"In Asia, nuns' orders are working for better conditions and education, but in many countries, they have a long way to go.
And no nun's order was ever established in Tibetan Buddhism, although there are some women Tibetan lamas.