Alms

related topics
{god, call, give}
{church, century, christian}
{group, member, jewish}
{rate, high, increase}
{law, state, case}
{company, market, business}
{@card@, make, design}
{household, population, female}
{system, computer, user}

Alms or almsgiving is a religious rite which, in general, involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue.

It exists in a number of religions. In Philippine Regions, alms are given as charity to benefit the poor. In Buddhism, alms are given by lay people to monks and nuns to nurture laic virtue, merit and blessings and to ensure monastic continuity. The word comes from Old English ælmesse, ælmes, from Late Latin eleemosyna, from Greek ἐλεημοσύνη eleēmosynē "pity, alms", from ἐλεήμων eleēmōn "merciful", from ἔλεος eleos "pity".

Contents

Buddhism

In Buddhism, alms or almsgiving is the respect given by a lay Buddhist to a Buddhist monk, nun, spiritually-developed person or other sentient being. It is not charity as presumed by Western interpreters. It is closer to a symbolic connection to the spiritual and to show humbleness and respect in the presence of normal society.[note 1] The visible presence of monks and nuns is a stabilizing influence. The act of alms giving assists in connecting the human to the monk or nun and what he/she represents. As the Buddha has stated:

Householders & the homeless [monastics]
in mutual dependence
both reach the true Dhamma....

In Theravada Buddhism, monks (Pāli: bhikkhus) and nuns go on a daily almsround (or pindacara) to collect food. This is often perceived as giving the laypeople the opportunity to make merit (Pāli: puñña). Money should not be accepted by a Buddhist monk or nun, although nowadays not many monks and nuns keep to this rule (the exception being the monks and nuns of the Thai Forest Tradition and other Theravada traditions which focus on vinaya and meditation practice). In countries that follow Mahayana Buddhism, it has been impractical for monks to go on a daily almsround. In China, Korea and Japan, monasteries were situated in remote mountain areas where it could take days to reach the nearest town, thus making the daily almsround impossible. In Japan, the practice of a weekly or monthly takuhatsu took its place. In the Himalayan countries, the large number of bikshus would have made an almsround a heavy burden on families. Competition with other religions for support also made daily almsrounds difficult and even dangerous; the first monks in the Shilla dynasty of Korea were said to be beaten due to the Buddhist minority at the time.

Full article ▸

related documents
John the Evangelist
Abgar V of Edessa
Lumen Gentium
Labarum
Apostles' Creed
Lapis lazuli
Sangha
Theotokos
Juan Diego
Jerome
Leda and the Swan
Execution by burning
Ebionites
Sirach
Ur
Second Temple
Lord of Misrule
Endovelicus
Roland
Hindu mythology
Hecatonchires
Sif
Atargatis
Cadmus
Aristaeus
History of discovery and distribution of the remains of Aegean civilization
Themis
Deucalion
Nut (goddess)
Mopsus