Are monks and nuns supposed to live together or independent?


Are there any rules that require members of the sangha to live and practice together or can they live and practice independently?


Hi Benlim,

It depends what you call living and what you call together.


There are monasteries where nuns and monks live in the same place, but there are also monasteries dedicated to one or the other!

And this is sure not a problem :smiley:

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Do you mean a single monk, or nun, living on their own and operating independently from the Sangha?

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In the case of a bhikkhu there’s no Vinaya requirement that he live with a bhikkhunī. There is a requirement that he live with at least one other bhikkhu (i.e., his teacher) during the formative years after his ordination. When he has fulfilled the criteria for being nissayamuttaka (freed from the obligation to live in dependence on a teacher) then he may live eremitically if he wishes.

For further details see the chapter on “Dependence” in Ajahn Thanissaro’s Buddhist Monastic Code.


As to what’s required of bhikkhunīs, I’ll have to let someone else answer as I’ve forgotten all the details.


As far as bhikkhuni vinaya that pops to my head, there is also a nissaya period for bhikkhunis (2 yrs).
A bhikkhuni should stay where there are bhikkhus nearby for the Rains Retreat period. biPC56
A bhikkhuni should seek feedback from both bhikkhu and bhikkhuni sangha at the of the rains period. BiPC57
A bhikkhuni must request ovada (teaching) and the date for the uposatha from the bhikkhus each fortnight. BiPC59

I hope that helps