Monastics that go for alms in the West


Thanks for sharing, Bhante! Do you two have a planned route or will it be sporadic? I’m just wondering if eventually people will know to expect to see you.


We are still trialling routes and timings as it’s just our second day. We will probably end up having regular supporters meet us near the end of our route on the way back to our Vihara, as that should be pretty predictable.


Maybe their alms bowls could have GPS chip? That would be wonderful use of technology:)


Or FindFriends on the iPhone. One could share during alms.
Another one is Glympse for GPS sharing.


I’m glad the chip would be in our bowls not our brain, but actually, good ideas for modern times, thanks!


Thank you Bhante. Actually, that was my first thought (to chip monks):slight_smile: There could be Pali Canon, Pali translator and meditation application on it. An algorithm would plan the alms rounds for you using statistics of Buddhist population in the area, face recognition software and weather forecast… but maybe it is too far fetched:)


There’s a young monk in New England (USA) who wanders year-round on his own through the forests and towns of the area, ala the Thai tradition (e.g. Ajahn Lee). Here’s where I first learned about him:

Subsequently Pamutto Bhikkhu was a fellow student at a week-long teaching gig I attended at BCBS (Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Massachusetts, USA) – topic “Self, Non-Self, and
Contemplation of Death” , with teachers Sayadaw U Jagara (aka Martin Boisvert) and his brother, Mathieu Boisvert, an Indic scholar.

Rather quiet, unassuming fellow, and always seemingly content and cheerful.


Thanks for sharing this, @cjmacie. I actually just spent a week on retreat where Pamutto was one of the teachers. He’s returned to lay life as an Upasaka, and he shared a lot about his experiences as a wandering monk. It’s clear monastic life had a deep impact on him—I found him to be super insightful, kind, and dedicated to the Buddha’s path.


Did he say why he left monastic life?


@Polarbear, he did. I think many of us in attendance had the question in mind, and someone on the retreat asked him during a Q&A. The details are personal—and I felt, while hearing him describe the situation, that it was the hardest decision he’s ever made—but essentially he had some health concerns that were difficult to address as a monk. He gave an inspiring talk about what it’s like to still continue the practice, even in lay form, and I get the sense that he is still very much intent on Awakening.


We went on almsround once a week last year, but most of the time we received nothing. There was however one very kind baker who often gave us some bread and a cup of coffee, even though he knew nothing about Buddhism. Sometimes you discover kindness in the most unlikely places.


Nice to see that there is a listing of monastics going on alms round in the West. I regularly support the Pacific Hermitage monks in meal offerings, and after two years of getting to know Ajahn Sudanto, the abbot at PH, it is clear that the almsround support is a result of Ajahn Sudanto’s tireless generosity and patience in sharing of the Dhamma with the local community. His metta is infectious, and his ability to connect with peoples from all walks of life is endearing and inspiring.

For Theravada Buddhist practices and the Sangha to take roots in the West, daily almsround is the key ingredient. Without the daily interaction with the lay community and visibility, there is limited opportunity for the householder to practice dana and hear the Dhamma, and for the monastic to practice gratitude (particularly in the West) and be a relevant part of the community.

Ajahn Sudanto references the Buddha as saying that almsround is a field of merit.