The disciplinary regulations for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis are intended to create a life that is simple and focused, rather than one of deprivation or severe asceticism.However, celibacy is a fundamental part of this form of monastic discipline.First and foremost, they are expected to preserve the doctrine and discipline now known as Buddhism.They are also expected to provide a living example for the laity, and to serve as a "field of merit" for lay followers—providing laymen and women with the opportunity to earn merit by giving gifts and support to the bhikkhus. Many monks and nuns live in monasteries to stay away from the secular world. Females pursuing a monastic life are generally called nuns, while male monastics are called monks.Initially consisting only of males, it grew to include females after the Buddha's stepmother, Mahaprajapati, asked for and received permission to live as an ordained practitioner.
The Buddhist monastic order consists of the male bhikkhu assembly and the female bhikkhuni assembly."Monasticism" (mid-15c.) is from Middle French monastique ('monastic,' 'monkish'), directly from Late Latin monasticus, itself from Ecclesiastical Greek monastikos, 'solitary, pertaining to a monk,' from Greek monazein "to live alone." The term "monasticism," along with its closely allied "monk," is very weak analytically speaking and should not be used in serious ascetic-arts cultural studies or encyclopaedic summary. For the ancient Greek language possessed a completely separate term, namely, cenobio (plural cenobios), 'common' 'life.' In this way, the English forms "cenobite" and "cenobitic" more aptly bear the associations of our typical modern perception of a "monk," 'a communal participant in spiritual life' that is nowadays taken for "monasticism," 'renouncing normal worldly cares in devotion to higher sacerdotal foci.' Cenobitical life, in the name of "monasticism", then, has certainly played a major role in many Christian, especially Catholic and Orthodox lineages. This communal monastic lifestyle grew out of the lifestyle of earlier sects of wandering ascetics, some of whom the Buddha had studied under. Titling this article "Monasticism" cannot effectively explain or support the deeper connotations of what this word is able to convey. ) and original bhikkhunis (nuns) was founded by Gautama Buddha during his lifetime over 2500 years ago.Monasticism in Christianity, which provides the origins of the words "monk" and "monastery", comprises several diverse forms of religious living.It began to develop early in the history of the Church, but is not mentioned in the scriptures.
Most of the modern disciplinary rules followed by bhikkhus and bhikkhunis — as encoded in the Patimokkha — relate to such an existence, prescribing in great detail proper methods for living and relating in a community of bhikkhus or bhikkhunis.