10 April 2008

Letter 1.6

With regard to begging, I don't glorify it. I've done some of it before I was ordained, and I know that it's a rather tiresome business. (Though in Asia it's not considered dishonorable in any way.) What I do glorify is the generosity, the devotion, even the faith, if you will, of the people who consistently give me far more than I need or, for that matter, could possibly use. They know I can’t use what they give me, but when someone runs half a block to catch up with me to be able to offer me something without any expectation of even so much as a 'thank-you' (monks observe silence when on their alms-rounds) then that is worth glorifying. If I serve no other purpose here I am worthwhile in simply being an object to whom things may be given. I think, though, that most Westerners would have to see this for themselves to understand the attitude and the way of giving that these people have…

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