Friday, January 15, 2010

Giving Alms

In the cold, pre-dawn darkness, we waited. It wasn't long before throngs and throngs of saffron-robed monks took to the streets of Luang Prabang for their daily ritual of collecting alms. (There are more than 4,000 monks in this small city of 100,000.) They had already been up, the first of their daily worship sessions under their belts, before hitting the streets, barefoot and humble, to receive the offerings proffered by the locals that would feed them for the day. Monks eat two meals a day (breakfast and lunch only), but are not allowed to shop or cook for themselves. Therefore, they rely on the generosity of their communities and families, and their daily rounds are a stirring sight to behold. I was very touched by it all. The generosity of some of the poorest people on the planet reminded me that I have a long way to go.

"Happiness does not come from having much,
but from being attached to little. "
Venerable Cheng Yen

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