Asking for alms

By Paulo Coelho

Part of the training of a Zen Buddhist monk is a practice known as takuhatsu – the begging pilgrimage. As well as helping the monasteries, which depend for their existence on donations, and teaching the student humility, this practice has another purpose too, that of purifying the town in which the monk lives.

This is because, according to Zen philosophy, the giver, the beggar and the alms money itself all form part of an important chain of equilibrium.

The person doing the begging does so because he is needy, but the person doing the giving also does so out of need.

The alms money serves as a link between these two needs, and the atmosphere in the town improves, since everyone is able to act in a way in which he or she needed to act.

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet


  1. heidrun restin says:

    Dear Paulo,

    in the last year I wanted an occuptional therapy practice, however, I had not a penny. I placed a request to the guarantee bank NRW in Germany. The conversation with the banker was very personal. I got the money, the practice has existed since August 2009.
    If it is God`s will, then playing for the beggars, the givers and the takers, the money a minor role.
    I hope God does not see it as arrogance: – we become the tools of his actions.

    heidrun restin

  2. marie-christine says:

    what you give comes back

  3. marie-christine says:

    that makes sense. It is a good exchanging circle.