A while ago I reading Radhika Abeysekera's "Relatives and Disciples of the Buddha" and really enjoyed hearing some of the historical stories about what led the Buddha's disciples to go forth into the monastic life, and how the achieved great spiritual feats once joining the order.
It was also good to learn a little more about Khema (the first female chief disciple of the Buddha - female equivalent of Sariputta) and Uppalavanna (the second female chief disciple - female equivalent of Maha Moggallana) and what role they played in the initial successes of the bhikkhuni order.
For anyone interested in learning more about Khema, Uppalavanna and other early prominent female disciples of the Buddha, I recommend the following online resources:Pt. III - Great Female Disciples (from "Relatives and Disciples of the Buddha")
by Radhika Abeysekerahttp://www.budsas.org/ebud/rdbud/rdbud-03.htmBuddhist Women at the Time of The Buddha
by Hellmuth Heckerhttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el292.htmlBhikkhuni-samyutta (Discourses of the Ancient Nuns)http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl143.htmlInspiration from Enlightened Nuns
- Susan Elbaum Jootlahttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el349.htmlTherigatha · Verses of the Elder Nunshttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html
"Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'." (Snp 3.6)
"Whether I were to preach in brief, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach in detail, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach both in brief or in detail, Sāriputta, rare are those who understand." (A I 333, Sāriputtasutta)