there bhikkhunis in Theravada tradition?
This question cannot be answered in a simple "yes"
or "no." We need to understand that when the Buddha
established four groups of Buddhists, namely bhikkhus, bhikkhunis,
laymen and laywomen, there was no distinction between Theravada
and Mahayana. In fact the differentiation came into existence
many hundred years afterwards.
who went to plant the seed of ordination in China belonged to
Theravada, and even the vinaya which the Chinese Sangha follow
is Dhammagupta, subsect from Theravada.
Asoka's period in the 3rd century B.E. there were at least 32
schools but with clear record and separate set of teachings
only 18 schools were established, twelve sprang from the early
branch and eight emerged from the Mahasanghika which could be
roughly said to be the forerunner of Mahayana.
reason for Theravada not to accept bhikkhuni Sangha tracing
their lineage from Mahayana lineage is unfounded. The ordination
lineage followed by Mahayana derived from early Buddhism.
is how does Mahayana differ from Theravada? Generally speaking
Mahayana differs from Theravada in its philosophical exposition
of Dharma. However, the highly complex way of explaining dharma
all took root from the early teaching of Buddhism which branched
out and blossomed in Mahayana.