No, that’s not a misspelling of “bikinis.” It refers to a female Buddhist monk.
Naturally, the females must do more penance in order to attain to enlightenment. In fact, it’s generally taught that women must reincarnate as men to become Buddhas, the penis being all important in this quest, apparently.
Walk into any Buddhist temple in Korea, and you will readily find female monks, or “bhikkhunis,” walking or praying in the temple grounds, just like any other male monk. Sometimes it’s even harder to notice at a glance if they are female or male; which indicates that in Korea, there are almost no hints of discrimination in terms of the Buddhist faith.
Despite the modern trend, where bhikkhunis are treated relatively equally to monks compared to other countries, they do follow some different rules. In daily life, bhikkhunis abide by nearly 348 precepts, some 100 more than male monks who follow around 250, and they also wear five pieces of clothing, while the men wear three.
Korea is one of the few nations that recognizes and continues female monastic lineages, along with only a handful of other countries, including Taiwan. Even today, there are only a few countries where women in training can receive ordination, which has resulted in foreign bhikkhunis coming to Korea to be ordained and also many female Buddhists from around the world come to study the religion.
According to Buddhist experts and historians, it was during the 4th century that the bhikkhunis first appeared in Korea….