Saturday, 19 October 2013

Various views on the practice of "Pindabat", or the alms rounds of monks

The Meditator Guidebook to Myanmar is in its final stages. As the guide gets closer to publication, we will begin to share excerpts of what yogis and meditators may expect... some sneak previews of what is to come. Here is an excerpt from the section on Monastic Life, and discusses the monks' alms rounds. We have included three quotations that were placed towards the end of this section:

“The gifts are never acknowledged. The cover of the bowl is removed, and when the offering has been put in, it is replaced, and the monk moves on. And when they have made their accustomed round, they return, as they went, slowly to the monastery, their bowls full of food… It is a good thing to give alms—good for yourself, I mean. So that this daily procession does good in two ways: it is good for the monk because he learns humility; it is good for the people because they have thereby offered them a chance of giving a little alms. Even the poorest may be able to give his spoonful of rice. All is accepted. Think not a great gift is more acceptable than a little one. You must judge by the giver's heart.” Harold Fielding, Soul of a People

“Offering alms to monk on their daily rounds is considered of even greater merit than sending an elaborate meal to the monastery or inviting monks to one’s home to partake of food: it is spontaneous and lacking in show or ostentation and there is also a spirit of impersonal and impartial good will.” Khin Myo Chit, Colorful Myanmar

“The first alms round was a magical experience with devout donors and plenty of gratitude both from them and from us. The life of an alms mendicant is interesting, the householders are respectful and grateful to have someone representing Buddha to them, when they give us food they feel joyful and thus earn merits. We monks are equally grateful, with their donation we can live this wonderful life another day without difficulty. It is a mutual symbiotic relationship of joy with neither side accumulating a sense of debt to the other.” Canadian monk

A foreign monk accepts rice from a young villager outside of Shwe Oo Min Monastery in Northern Yangon