Pindacāra, the practice of collecting alms-food, is observed by Theravada Buddhist monks who have gone forth from ‘home-life’ to ‘homelessness’. Since the time of the Buddha, lay people have been supporting monks this way with food, robes, shelter and medicine. In return, monks provide guidance to the laity on Buddhist teachings, thus forging a close, respectful, and symbiotic relationship between the two communities.
Most Ven. Nandapal Mahathera & Bhikkhu Sangha collecting Pindacāra
Life at Sadhanarama Bana Vihara around revolves the Sangha, a Community of Monks and Lay Community. The Community of Monks follow the Dhamma full time and teach the Dhamma to the lay Community, which in turn supports the Community of Monks by providing the Four Requisites of a Monk - Food, Robes, Residence and Medicines. Lay person, who wish to develop their practice participate in the programs and activities at the Monastery.
The Monks living in Forest live a life of simplicity, austerity with diligent effort to refine their minds. It is a daily ritual for monks to go on Pindacāra, where they walk through a village from one household to another, allowing devotees to make food offerings. The Monks never knew where their next meal would come from, or whether they would get any food at all. The Forest Tradition revival is an attempt to reach back to past centuries before modern era and revitalize the ancient standards of Buddhist practice that were missing in contemporary monastic life. In this way, our Monks function dual roles dedicating their life to the welfare and happiness of many and developing the mind.
Benefits of giving Alms Food
The donor enjoys five benefits such as longevity, good looks, great strength, great wisdom and happiness. The purpose of the Pindacāra is to preserve the traditional practice since Lord Buddha’s time some 2,500 years ago.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of modern living, it is most joyful and inspiring to still be able to witness this ancient tradition of Pindacāra being practised, what more to participate in it!