The Buddha was the first religious leader to accept equal spiritual potentiality of men and women. The nature of enlightenment transcends gender difference, which otherwise tends to limit women in their social contexts. For this reason women were accepted into the Order (Sangha), and proved themselves worthy of the Buddha’s recognition. Some of them were individually praised by the Buddha, such as Bhikkhuni Patacara who was foremost in Vinaya, and Bhikkhuni Khema who was foremost in wisdom. Among lay women, Visakha was foremost in offering dana and Samavati was foremost in loving-kindness. In brief, women showed equal capability in practicing and propagating Buddhism in early Buddhist history. Even now both men and women who practise the Buddhist teachings can undoubtedly attain enlightenment.
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