A bhikkhunī (Pāli) or bhikṣuṇī (Sanskrit) is a fully ordained female Buddhist monastic. Male monastics are called bhikkhus. Both bhikkhunis and bhikkhus live by the vinaya. Bhikkhuni lineages enjoy a broad basis in Mahayana countries like Korea, Vietnam, China, and Taiwan.
According to Buddhist scriptures, the order of bhikkhunis was first created by the Buddha at the specific request of his foster-mother Mahapajapati Gotami, who became the first ordained bhikkhuni, relayed via his attendant Ananda (who also urged for the Buddha's acceptance of it). The bhikkhuni order spread to many countries.