10 March 2014

Schedule of Alms Round by ThaBarWa Sayadaw U Ottamasara and Sangha

Schedule of Alms Round by
ThaBarWa Sayadaw U Ottamasara
and Sangha
at Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple 
in Singapore

The daily alms-round and the alms food collection observance is dated back to Lord Buddha's time as can be seen from the Pindapataparisuddhi Sutta (Sutta 151 of the Majjhima Nikaya - translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi) and is continued to this day by the ordained Sangha (monks) in all Theravada countries.  

Alms offering is a means of doing good deeds and developing generosity by lay Buddhist.  Indeed, the alms round provides the devotees with the opportunity to support to the Sangha and the monastery.

It also said to create a field of merit for all sentient beings, an opportunity to show the true qualities of the heart. Freely giving from a generous heart loosens the grip of selfishness. Both donor and recipient are enriched by this practice.

The alms round also reminds monks that their practice is not just an individual matter and that they depend on, and are indebted to, others for food and provisions. Food collection and consumption is a duty of the Theravada Buddhist monk and this is enshrined in the ordination procedure of the monk. As part of the ordination procedure, every newly ordained Theravada Buddhist monk will be given the following admonishment by his preceptor ... "Going-Forth has alms-food as its support. For the rest of your life you are to endeavour at that".

The alms bowl, a symbol of the monastic order, symbolizes dependence on others, all-acceptance and generosity.

During the alms round, as a group, monks walk single-file according to seniority, that is, ordination date. The robes are arranged formally, covering both shoulders.  

The monks walk barefooted into a street and then from house to house, not favoring rich or poor neighborhoods, accepting, but not requesting, what is freely donated (dana, offering) 

If you would like to make an offering, please approach one of the monks and place your donation (dana, offering) in the alms bowl. If your offering is too large to fit into the bowl, it can be symbolically placed there and then given to one of our lay volunteers who helps with this ceremony. 

When making a donation (dana) during the alms round, donors may ask that the merit from their offering benefit a friend or relative, as well as sentient beings caught in distressing conditions or difficult situations. 

Giving (dana, donation) is one of the essential preliminary steps of Buddhist practice. When practiced in itself, it is a basis of merit or wholesome kamma. When coupled with morality, concentration and insight, it leads ultimately to liberation from samsara, the cycle of repeated existence.  

Lord Buddha said that the practice of giving (dana, donation) will aid us in our efforts to purify the mind. Dana accompanied by wholesome volition help to eradicate suffering in three ways. 

First, when we decide to give something of our own to someone else, we simultaneously reduce our attachment to the object; to make a habit of giving can thus gradually weaken the mental factor of craving, one of the main causes of unhappiness. 

Second, giving accompanied by wholesome volition will lead to happy future births in circumstances favorable to encountering and practicing the pure Buddha Dhamma. 

Third, and most important, when giving is practiced with the intention that the mind becomes pliant enough for the attainment of Nibbana, the act of generosity will help us develop virtue, concentration and wisdom (sila,samadhi, pañña) right in the present. 

These three stages make up the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path, and perfecting the path leads to the extinction of suffering.

The purity of the recipient is another factor which helps determine the kammic fruitfulness of a dana. The worthier the receiver, the greater the benefits that will come to the donor.  Therefore, to earn the maximum merit, we should give as much as we can, and as often as possible, to the noble ones. Gifts to a Sangha and bhikkhu who strives for the state of a noble one, or to a Buddhist yogi (meditator) who lives by the Five Precepts, will also yield bountiful results.

Generosity associated with wisdom before, during and after the act is the highest type of dana. The most excellent motive for giving is the intention that it strengthens ones efforts to attain Nibbana. Liberation is achieved by eliminating all the mental defilements (kilesa), which are rooted in the delusion of a controlling and lasting "I."

Once this illusion is eradicated, selfish thoughts can no longer arise. If we aspire to ultimate peace and purity by practicing dana or doing good deeds, we will be developing the dana parami, the perfection of giving, building up a store of merit that will bear its full fruit with our attainment of enlightenment.

As we progress towards that goal, the volition involved in acts of doing good deeds or  dana will assist us by contributing towards the pliancy of the mind, an essential asset in developing concentration and wisdom, the prime requisites of liberation.

We are very grateful to be able to carry on this Theravada Buddhist tradition in Singapore. We are indebted to the Ajans (abbots), officials and the volunteers of Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple for allowing us to practice the ancient way of Lord Buddha at the temple premises. 

We will be doing alms round, with no expectations, as per following schedule .....

Venue :
Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple
50B Jalan Bukit Merah Road
Singapore 169545
(Bus: 120, 147, 167, 196, 197, 961,
Nearest MRT Station: Outram Park, Redhill)

Date :
From 12th to 16th March 2014

Time :
From 10:45am to 11:15am

Please take this opportunity to perform dana (donations) to ThaBarWa Sayadaw U Ottamasara and the Sangha who are virtuous and selfless.

sadu ... sadu ... sadu ...