Morning Almsround

Before each morning almsround, all of us would need to get up very easy (as early as 4am) to start chanting. Khun Mae mentioned it is compulsory to chant before receiving alms.

The sāmaneras would undergo morning almsround in line with the Buddhist tradition. The sāmanera would carry the almsbowl and walk barefoot along roads to receive alms from alms-givers. For the first time novices, it is not easy for them as most of them are not used to walking on roads, some ladden with pebbles and small stones.

And as the morning sun rises, the novices would find themselves having to walk under the hot sun. Some morning pindapat lasts for 2 to 3 hours.

However, we often have lots of admiration for all the batches of novices where we could see novices from as young as 7 till the age of over 70 who have came to ordain had displayed a lot of patience, resillence, humility and determination.

If they had felt discomfort, heat, tiredness, thirst or pain, they never complained. They often walked in most orderly manner and receiving alms from those who gave with faith. Most of the villagers are not rich materially but they give alms with outmost faith without expecting anything in return.

Upon receiving alms, the monks, novices and nuns would chant blessing and transferrance of merits .

In December 2010 (Lampang, Northern Thailand), once there was a young novice of 7 years of age who told Khun Mae that his hands had became painful through carring the almsbowl- which can become very heavy when filled with rice (you can see from the photo below that the bowl can become heavy especially being carried by a young boy).  The weather then was told and even Khun Mae herself had been unwell due to weeks of insufficient sleep and hard work (to prepare for the event).

Khun Mae said that he only need to carry the almsbowl for a while. After that, he can put it down. But his mother had carried him in her stomach for 9 months. Even though her mom felt uncomfortable, she still carried him around, took good care of him without any complaints. He would be able to put down the almsbowl after a while. But for his mom, she would have to carry him inside her until he is born- no matter how uncomfortable, painful or heavy, she never complained.

Furthermore, when he was sick his mom had to carry him, worry about him and try to pacify him- for if she just put him down for a moment, he would start crying. The unconditional love of his mother made her carry him with her hands- even if it is for the entire night without complaint. As such, compared to what his mom had done for him, would it be alright for him to just endure a short while?

The boy nodded in understanding. After that, he never complained about the almsbowl being heavy anymore.

Khun Mae had advised those who undergo ordination as a gratitude to their parents. Therefore, temporary ordination should be for a minimum of 9 days to represent the 9 months that our mothers have carried us with her with unconditional love.

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