Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Religion Belief Begging As Spiritual Path

Religion Belief Begging As Spiritual Path Image
I've done some research, and it looks like we are in good company. Turns out begging is an ancient spiritual practice, accepted and respected in many parts of the world. Not only that, but giving to begggars is also a good thing.


In many, perhaps most, traditional religions, it is considered that a person who gives alms to a worthy beggar, such as a spiritual seeker, gains religious merit.

Many religious orders adhere to a mendicant way of life, including the Catholic mendicant orders, Hindu ascetics, some dervishes of Sufi Islam, and the monastic orders of Buddhism. In the Catholic Church, followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic became known as mendicants, as they would beg for food while they preached to the villages.

In many Hindu traditions, spiritual seekers, known as sadhus, beg for food. This is because fruitive activity, such as farming or shopkeeping, is regarded as a materialistic distraction from the search for moksha, or spiritual liberation. "BEGGING, ON THE OTHER HAND, PROMOTES HUMILITY AND GRATITUDE, NOT ONLY TOWARDS THE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE GIVING FOOD, BUT TOWARDS THE UNIVERSE IN GENERAL." This helps the sadhu attain a state of bliss or samadhi.

In traditional Shaivite Hinduism, old men, having lived a full life as a householder in the world, frequently give up materialistic possessions and become wandering ascetic mendicants (sadhus), spending their last months or years seeking spiritual enlightenment. Villagers gain religious merit by giving food and other necessities to these ascetics.

In Buddhism, monks and nuns traditionally live by begging for alms, as did the historical Gautama Buddha himself. This is, among other reasons, so that lay people can gain religious merit by giving food, medicines, and other essential items to the monks. The monks seldom need to plead for food; in villages and towns throughout modern Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and other Buddhist countries, householders can often be found at dawn every morning streaming down the road to the local temple to give food to the monks.

For those of you who are also following our first project on prayer - Praying For Prosperity - here's a link to A Work In Progress - the next post in that series.

You also may enjoy these free books:

Order Of The Golden Dawn - The Invoking Pentagram Ritual Of Earth
Ashe - Journal Of Experimental Spirituality