+3 votes
by (220 points)
by (220 points)
So monks are completely dependent upon other people. A monk's existence becomes rather fragile this way. If lay people stop giving him food, he will suffer and soon die. Apparently, he is indifferent to life and death.  

Thanks for your answer Sankha
by (17.6k points)
They are supposed to work on giving up the craving for existence and the craving for non-exitance.  Life is fragile whether you are a monk or not. A lay person can die in many ways that are rare for a monk.  But a monk's life is more peaceful and relatively less miserable.
by (220 points)
Thank you for your reply Sankha
by (17.6k points)
You're welcome!
by (1.8k points)
Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu
by (1.9k points)
We are all dependent on other people to some extent. Whether you receive money or food, we all depend on others for our livelihood.
by (17.6k points)
Agreed, Bhante. I would even go a step further and say that the more things we want in life, the more dependent we become in life.  So a lay person with many desires and wants can be more dependent on other people as compared to a monk who just needs food, robes and a place to park the body.
by (260 points)
I think some monks do not only live on alms, but I’m not sure the prevalence of this lifestyle. I only know of such happening in Korea. I found out this through a monk called Jeong Kwon, who was featured on a TV show about food; the monks at her monastery tend to a rugged garden, eat only vegetables and things from the ground, and even store and preserve some things to ferment them - which is unheard of in other monastic traditions. They make their temple food very simple, and the preparation seems to be a zen practice in itself; they even prepare modest feasts for visitors and anybody in the community who wants to partake. This may be due to the prevalence of the Mahayana practice there, wherein the perspective is on the virtue of the mother-like care, preparation and supplication of goods for others. I think it all depends on which tradition is being followed. Personal food preparation by a monk can be “balanced” out by sharing, if that is how you practice.

4 Answers

+4 votes
by (17.6k points)

Monkhood is a lifestyle different from the way of the householder. Monks are supposed to dedicate their lives for spiritual development.  To preserve that simple way of living which is conducive to progressing in the path, the Buddha introduced certain precepts that prevent monks from storing food, handling money, consuming what is not offered etc. 

Reasons for lay people offering alms to monks:

  1. as a way of showing gratitude and appreciation towards the monks.
  2. giving alms to virtuous beings is very good Karma. Read the Dakkhinavibhanga Sutta
  3. giving helps to weaken one's greed and cultivate good qualities like kindness(Metta)

     
     
by (220 points)
So monks are completely dependent upon other people. A monk's existence becomes rather fragile this way. If lay people stop giving him food, he will suffer and soon die. Apparently, he is indifferent to life and death.  

Thanks for your answer Sankha
by (17.6k points)
They are supposed to work on giving up the craving for existence and the craving for non-exitance.  Life is fragile whether you are a monk or not. A lay person can die in many ways that are rare for a monk.  But a monk's life is more peaceful and relatively less miserable.
by (220 points)
Thank you for your reply Sankha
by (17.6k points)
You're welcome!
by (1.8k points)
Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu
by (1.9k points)
We are all dependent on other people to some extent. Whether you receive money or food, we all depend on others for our livelihood.
by (17.6k points)
Agreed, Bhante. I would even go a step further and say that the more things we want in life, the more dependent we become in life.  So a lay person with many desires and wants can be more dependent on other people as compared to a monk who just needs food, robes and a place to park the body.
by (2.0k points)
Maybe good to add the two most importand reasons for almsgiving, good householder Sankha: to make merits, and - most importand - to build up, give into, relation with the Gems.
+2 votes
by (970 points)
Monks are the ones dedicating their life to learning and practicing the Dhamma. Both learning and practicing correctly takes special circumstances and many years of perfecting it.

The Buddha made it necessary for these special beings to interact with laypeople, so they can also learn from the monks, and even practice if they ask for instructions. If this would not have been a rule, monks would not interact with laypeople. They would just keep to themselves, secluded from the world. Giving alms to a pure monk gives enormous merit to the layperson with forbearing positive consequences to their rounds in Samsara. It is a great opportunity, which is given to laypeople. They may even inspire a few to go forth and practice themselves, becoming enlightened. So it is a gift to us from the Buddha.
0 votes
by (1.9k points)
I think monks can prepare their own food if they have the required ingredients. People give food to monks as a gesture of obeisance and purity of mind. It's all about mind states and purification of mind to elevate to the truth.
0 votes
by (2.0k points)

Good householder,

Living from Alms, a "beggars" live, does not only help to increase an understanding of goodness and gratitude, it also prevent to develop wrong concert, beliving being independend while still having desire.

It protects to become corrupt, doing the path or teach, for food, getting in trade.

It prevents from becoming lazy by feeling secure and be stilled in regard of wants. It prevents also to dwell in areas where Dhamma couldn't grow and to settle once somewhere seems to be food-security.

It is the foremost right livelihood, taking on giving, don't trade with common societies, not getting involved in ways to gain food, stay untouchable.

It's a distinction to common life, the ways of householder, neither to trade nor to store up (even a night) and cook food. A way of livelihood not open to critique, not harmful for anybody.

At least, it gives one planty of time, people usual busy 60+ % of time to care about food, store, defend... day by day.

Last but not least, this opens also ways to work, give into, the greatest field of merit. And it's out of compassion for others, that those freed from all desires, still going for alms, still receive food. For how could people ever give into relation, increase Nissaya, toward the Buddha, Dhamma, heir, the Sangha? Meet the forth Heavenly messanger.

Some thoughts in addition, might be inspirations, from a previous answer: [Q&A] Why are Monks not given to grow their own food? (Right livelihood)

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