Reflections on Alms (1 Viewer)

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Jun 17, 2019
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In reading threads on spanging, begging, flying a sign, etc. I come to realize a few things. First, that anything someone gives me is a sacrifice on their part. Even the current charity I give to others is a number in my budget. How impactful that sacrifice is varies, although often it is those equally in poverty that give the most.

Second, that the push to work as able is desirable and in reflection I see my chronic pain and general weakness as a hindrance to labor creating resources for travel. My last physical job at Starbucks killed me to the point of growing concern amongst my doctors. My current job is much less physical yet still leaves me with frequent head and backaches. So it seems the often available one-day manual labor isn't a particularly feasible option given the already existent physical pressure of travel. I'd fall apart more than I did as a barista, which among physical labor jobs is rather low on the totem pole. This doesn't rule out labor altogether as certainly there are some short jobs which are less physically demanding. I’ve seen some helpful suggestions for finding work that isn’t back-breaking (or just getting more support from organizations with money).

The second connects to the third in the need to be reciprocal to those who give to me. Traditionally in the Buddhist context, this is done by the teaching of the Dhamma (teachings of the Buddha) and the opportunity for great merit (positive kamma/karma) by giving to renunciants. The first requires me to study and practice more, as while I am at a point to describe many points of philosophy and practice, I don't want anyone looking to me as a teacher in a serious way. I don't feel ready for that yet. The second requires me to actually be someone worth giving to, this is largely covered within the practice itself by abstention from killing, lying, theft, sexual misconduct, intoxicants and many other shitty behaviors as well as the implementation of many positive behaviors like compassion, equanimity, perseverance, and more.

I do also know that when you walk around in a robe (it me), people talk to you. They ask questions and want real answers. I have a strong background in mental health care (my current job) both as a patient and a care-giver (in both professional and peer spaces). Such that I do feel qualified right now to give some measure of counseling to those around me. This is another thing I can give to others as recompense for the support given to me.

I don't think I would've seriously considered these things if not for StP, for which I am grateful. It reminds me of this monk who wanders New England and whose practice I take as inspiration.

Do y'all have any thoughts on ethical spanging? Or the religious tradition of seeking alms?
 
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Maxnomad

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Jan 8, 2018
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Beautiful post, something I've thought about myself. I'll try to come back when I have more time/feel less stupid. Ty for posting
 

Maxnomad

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San Luis Obispo
So traveling and begging at least used to be required for monks right? It's a strong tradition in christianity too I think. For me anyway flying a sign is an opportunity to feel things like self loathing or greed, and let them pass by, as well as to feel the scorn of some folks at least, to know that these emotions are empty of inherent truth. What better lesson for dependant conditionality than depending on the condition of everyone who walks by?

As far as work being preferable to begging, why should it be? We're all living off the sun. A relative handful of people are shameless enough to get good at pillaging, and the rest of us are expected to siphon our subsistence off those few warlords and drug pushers and consider ourselves pure while we live on credit. No such thing. Enclosing a field to grow a crop is an act of violent exclusion. Cultivating and sharing the dharma seems like the opposite, and getting fed is something you were gonna do either way. And for me, when I have it, it feels good to give
 

Juan Derlust

the map isn't the territory
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Swell video.

Yep - life is mostly suffering.

And outdoor living means lots of bug bites. Not to mention Lyme disease...

Anyway, silliness aside, this fellow (I've already forgotten his name) seems to have a lot to share.

What else do you got?
 
OP
Lotus Shaped Potato
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USA - New England
Read an article about a Jain nun who moved to London and carries on her practice there.


Jain monks renounce all material possessions and rely for food and shelter on the Jain community..."Of course the environment is different here but if you are committed and devoted then living life as a Jain monk can be achieved anywhere you go," says Samani. "In London there are 10,000 Jain families and I rely on them for food and accommodation and in return it is my job as a Jain monk to give them spiritual upliftment. It's a type of symbiotic relationship."
 

Juan Derlust

the map isn't the territory
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whoever produced Amongst White Clouds should hire a competent subtitleist; many of the subtitles flash too quickly to be read and understood. A test of patience no doubt...


I discovered among the comments somebody took the trouble to transcribe all the nano titles...
 
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Juan Derlust

the map isn't the territory
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all in all it was pretty good I just can't help but find some something to gripe about
 

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