begging for alms

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begging for alms

Postby Heruka » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:14 am

with dharma being a cottage, self help, new age coffee table industry, are begging monks for alms relevant in this modern day age? is there not a better way for financial sangha group support away from traditional means?
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Re: begging for alms

Postby wukong » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:50 pm

mahayana monks by-in-large do not beg. as buddhism moved to china chinese society was not tolerant of this lifestyle so monks there no longer collected alms. rather, they are sponsored by patrons who might be friends or family members or a wealthy philanthropist. in asian countries well established monasteries may be big enough to be self sufficient.

many monks today in the west work in order to support themselves. it is very difficult being a monk or nun here and the fact that a lot of ordained have to work and were ordinary clothes 5 days a week puts huge pressure on them to disrobe. i think this is true for theravadin monks as well as i have known a few in regular employment.

btw, what monks do is not actually begging. they're not allowed to be a burden on people. they collect alms which is different from begging. essentially they will stand in one spot and will not solicit anything but will wait for someone to donate to them out of their own individual motivation. the karma is purer all round this way.

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Re: begging for alms

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:14 pm

There is quite a body of works in a related issue that displays Buddhism's rise and fall as influences in specific geographic areas by state sponsorship of Buddhism. Where Buddhism was allied with the state or government of the area it was able to propogate. Without such state sponsorship, which back in the day was usually backing by a monarch or lord of some type Buddhism tended to erode.

India serves as example. With Ashoka it flourished and had state sponsorship. Prior to the advent of the Muslim invasion Buddhism had already been largly replaced by forms of what we now call Hinduism which had become state sponsored religions. Leaving the Muslim invasion perhaps as just the coup de grass for Buddhism in INdia.

Japan may be another example. Without state sponsorship Buddhism is in a state of decline.
This is perhaps related as monks and such though receiving in some cases alms directly from laypeople as in Tibet the erection of a complex system of monkhood required the use of the state in some form, and state sponsorship.

Tibet would probably serve as example of Buddhism with large large state sponsorship.The state being essentially the religion in a national sense.

Was the getting away from simple alms giving the reason then for Buddhisms decline in many areas....the circumstance of a creation of a system of monkhood which was rather complex...
Was its survivability hindered by its complexity. Did it loose its ability to be adaptive to circumstance by becoming very complex and thusly requireing a certain set of circumstance(the politic support) to survive.

Was that a error? Is that the case?
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Re: begging for alms

Postby Heruka » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:42 am

thanks ron, that was a very good post.

i often thought the flowery poetry of the mahayana was more to do with kingly patronage and sponsorship and survivability.
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Re: begging for alms

Postby Indrajala » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:08 am

Heruka wrote:with dharma being a cottage, self help, new age coffee table industry, are begging monks for alms relevant in this modern day age? is there not a better way for financial sangha group support away from traditional means?


It depends on the culture and tradition.

In Theravada monks are not allowed to even touch money (though whether this is entirely observed or not is another matter), so donating cash directly to them is inappropriate. However, they have a tradition where laity feed them lunch everyday and the community enjoys it while earning merit in the process. It is a win win situation for everyone.

In Japan you still see the occasional beggar monk even in Tokyo, but they're usually doing it for their basic essentials like underwear and health insurance. The majority of temples get their big bucks from doing funerals and all the other related post-mortem rituals.

In Taiwan you also see begging nuns and monks, but that's not their main source of income. They get a lot of financing from the huge number of lay people. In some cases the financing is enormous which enables some groups to build monuments and other costly projects.

Basically it seems in most countries begging is only minor and not terribly common.
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Re: begging for alms

Postby Huifeng » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:56 am

Heruka wrote:with dharma being a cottage, self help, new age coffee table industry, are begging monks for alms relevant in this modern day age? is there not a better way for financial sangha group support away from traditional means?


I'm wondering where exactly Dharma is "a cottage, self help, new age coffee table industry"? Maybe I'm missing something.

My own system is simple:
If you look after people, people will look after you.

And I haven't gone hungry yet. :smile:
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Re: begging for alms

Postby mudra » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:37 am

Huifeng wrote:
Heruka wrote:with dharma being a cottage, self help, new age coffee table industry, are begging monks for alms relevant in this modern day age? is there not a better way for financial sangha group support away from traditional means?


I'm wondering where exactly Dharma is "a cottage, self help, new age coffee table industry"? Maybe I'm missing something.

My own system is simple:
If you look after people, people will look after you.

And I haven't gone hungry yet. :smile:


:thumbsup:
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Re: begging for alms

Postby BFS » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:42 pm

Huifeng wrote:
My own system is simple:
If you look after people, people will look after you.

And I haven't gone hungry yet. :smile:


:D :heart:
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