Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Almsgiving Day

The Outside Grounds

Day 34 - I think Jay's sisters were up before 4:00 am. There surely was a lot of work which went into preparing the necessary items for the almsgiving lunch for five monks. Buddhists in Sri Lanka have important memorials for relatives. They usually occur on the death anniversary. Today, Jay and his sisters did almsgiving for Jay's dad who died three years ago yesterday. Also, elder sister's husband died the same year. The siblings also remembered their mother who passed away 16 years ago.

Food Offering

We took a van to a small temple beside the canal in Havelock Town at about 10:30 am to set up the special lunch. Jay's elder sister and husband had a strong connection with the head monk at the Sugathadharshanaramaya Buddhist Temple.

Near a Canal

First, they dedicated a small tray of each kind of food with a monk. There was prayer and offering for this food to the benefit of the Buddha. Often these small gifts are later left for the benefit of animals. After, we returned to the room where all the food had been set up.

Temple Older Monk

The head monk gave a short sermon. Jay and his sisters sat on a mat and during one portion and poured water into a bowl that overflowed. After that, they served lunch to the monks offering them the bowls one at a time. There is a practiced order to the selections offered. If a monk didn't care for a particular item, he'd just politely indicate by covering his larger bowl.

Overflowing Water

Serving Lunch to the Monks

All the dishes were cleared. As well as food, we had brought along gifts. The large set includes eight things a monk needs and was presented to the elder monk. Also, material for new robes was placed in front of the five monks in attendance.

String Tieing

A small sermon by the elder monk commenced. All held a string that passed for each to hold including Jay and his sisters. When things wrapped up, each received a tied piece of that string which they will wear on their wrists for a while.

The almsgiving was a nice way to remember those who we have lost. Since my dad also passed away this year, it gave me a time to reflect on all these people had done to foster and encourage the life we live today.

Looking at the Water


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