Alms gathering of Buddhist Monks Add Video

Alms gathering (Pindapata) is the means by which Buddhist monks and nuns get their food. This practise differs from begging. A beggar asks or pleads for alms whereas Buddhist monks and nuns only present themselves at the door of a potential donor, stand quietly for a few moments and after receiving something, move on. The Mahāvastu says: The wise monk asks for nothing, the noble ones do not hint of their needs. They just stand and let their bowl be seen. This is how the noble ones gather alms. The bowl (patta) in which the food is received and later eaten out of, is one of the eight requisites of monks and nuns.


Food  is material nutriment ingested by organisms to satisfy the pangs of hunger and to sustain the body. In ancient India food was classified as either hard or soft (S.I,162) and could be consumed by being either eaten, drunk, chewed or sucked (Pj.I,207). Unlike in some religions, the Buddha did not teach the concept of pure or impure food and thus Buddhism has no food taboos, although there are some restrictions for monks and nuns but only for purely practical reasons. However, he did praise moderation in eating (Sn.707) and encouraged this in his monks and nuns. To this end and for reasons of health, he made a rule that they should not eat after noon: 'I do not eat in the evening and thus I am free from illness and affliction and enjoy health, strength and ease' (M.I,473). While he usually ate very modest food or even scraps, when invited to the home of a wealthy person for a meal he would eat ?fine rice with a selection of sauces and curries? (M.II,7). Buddhism sees love as being able to add an important dimension to almost anything, even to food; preparing it, sharing it with others or even just eating it. The commentary to the Jātaka comments: ?No food is tastier than that given by a loving friend. Even the sweetest confection made without care is not as tasty as the plainest gruel given with love? (J.III,142). The Buddha made this same point when he said: ?Tasty or bland, much or little, one can eat anything made with love. Indeed love is the highest taste? (Ja.III,145). The Buddha suggested to his disciples that they recite these words as a reflection before eating: 'We will eat in moderation. Reflecting wisely we will not eat for fun, for amusement or for physical attractiveness but only for the maintenance and continuance of this body, for allaying the discomfort of hunger, for assisting in living the holy life and with the thought "I will end the old desires and not give rise to new ones and thus be healthy, blameless and live in comfort" ' (M.I,273). The Buddha said that when you give a hungry person food you give them more than just a material substance, you also give them all the things that food imparts - life, beauty, satisfaction, strength and intelligence (A.III,42). The Buddhist epic, Maṇimegala, says: ?Hunger ruins good birth and destroys all nobility; it destroys the love of learned men for their learning, even though previously they thought it the most valuable thing in life. Hunger takes away all shame and degrades the beauty of the features; it makes men stand with their wives at the door of others. This is the nature of hunger, the source of evil craving, and those who relieve it cannot be praised too highly. Food given to those who already have enough is generosity wasted, but food given to relieve hunger is real generosity. Those who do this will prosper in this world, for in giving food they give life.

Posted by Saloeurm Savath on August 8, 2010 at 1:47 PM 2066 Views

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