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
Through corruption of the Dhamma comes corruption of the discipline, and from corruption of the discipline comes corruption of the Dhamma. This is the first future danger as yet unarisen that will arise in the future. You should recognize it and make an effort to prevent it. (AN 5.79)
Neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. (DN 16)