I Beg Your Pardon

The monks back in Buddha’s time were called beggars. That was their practice and their sustenance. Each day the beggars and the Buddha would go into the towns and beg for their daily meal. They were well respected as they begged. They didn’t beg for money because they could not eat money. They begged for food and they shared whatever they received with the community, because some got more and some got less and some were not able to make their begging rounds.

In our capitalist societies, we don’t like beggars. We believe that what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours. If you want what I have, you should work hard for it and then you will both have what I have and appreciate it more because you worked for it. That’s not really true.

We are all beggars. Some of us are just better at begging than others and we are able to get more. Then we forget to share with those that are less able to beg than we are. Besides not sharing what we received through our particular style of begging, we justify not sharing by imagining that others are less deserving than us. This not sharing and looking down on people makes us uncomfortable. It’s even worse if we are in need and nobody is sharing with us. Then we may feel like people are looking down on us and we feel unworthy of receiving what they have. Whether we have, or have not, because we are beggars and don’t like beggars, we come into conflict with ourselves.

As we all beg our way through life, it is helpful to like beggars. It is wonderful to both give and receive help from those around us. Sharing, being generous, and being gracious nourishes happiness. Disliking beggars, nourishes contempt. We are all deserving of our daily meal. We are all beggars. We are all Buddha.


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