Saturday, 8 March 2014

A Bhikkhu's Single Meal: Alms Rounds In Burma

This beautiful Burmese documentary from several decades ago has now been added English subtitles, allowing yogis all over the world to benefit from watching it. It shares the role that food, and the offering of food, plays in the life of a bhikkhu.

“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

“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

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