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Buddhist Monk Alms Bowl

Buddhist Monk Alms Bowl


Regular price $98.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $98.00 USD
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Buddhist Monk Alms Bowl 10" x 11" The bowl is brushed stainless steel while the plate is polished stainless steel.

An alms bowl is a round, oval-shaped eating vessel used by monastics, with a flat bottom and a narrowed opening with which they receive offerings from human and heavenly beings. Its composition and size are described in the monastic rules so that it holds the appropriate amount of food for the stomach. The rules stipulate that an alms bowl must be crude in form to not create greed, dark grey in color to not incite desire, and of a fixed size to encourage contentment.

Originally, having an alms bowl was an everyday necessity, but as Buddhism was transmitted to China the practice of making daily food offerings was not adopted by the Chinese laity. However, as stipulated in the monastic rules, alms bowls are still given when a monastic is ordained, though few actually use their bowl. The alms bowl still stands as an emblem of how all Buddhas, as numerous as grains of sand in the Ganges, practiced to end their desire. All those who receive the alms bowl should focus their mind on acting with self-control and self-respect.

My name is Patra in Sanskrit and yingliang qi in Chinese. In English, I’m called an almsbowl. In the early days of Buddhism, Sakyamuni Buddha and his disciples used me to obtain their food. They would go out with their alms bowls to get food for their daily meal. In ancient China, monks and nuns couldn’t get along without me. Even though there was enough to eat in the monastery, members of the community were not given any food without having their bowls. That is why monastics with their bowls were said to be exactly like clouds floating in the sky, for they did not need to worry about where their food would come from. It was said, “One bowl has held the food of a thousand families. A solitary monastic travels on his journey of a hundred thousand miles seeking liberation from the cycle of birth and death.”


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