Alms-round on the streets of Penang

Photograph credits to Gary Chen and The Star.
The disciplined procession of Sangha members through the streets of George Town, Penang.

The disciplined procession of Sangha members through the streets of George Town, Penang.

Malaysian daily The Star reported that 135 ‘bhikshus’ (monks), ‘bhikshunis’ (nuns), and novices went on an alms-gathering procession on the streets of George Town on 8 December.  The alms-round was held in conjunction with a novitiate programme organised by Kek Lok Si, the largest Māhayana Buddhist monastery in Penang.

Every year, hundreds of lay Buddhists in both Theravāda and Māhayana traditions ‘forgo’ worldly life for a short period of time to experience the taste of renunciation.  Even though the period may last only 10 days to a month, the experience has proven invaluable for Buddhists to taste the joys of spiritual life and consequently become better-adjusted people.

Temporary novices experience the taste of renunciation and the happiness of spiritual life.

Temporary novices experience the taste of renunciation and the happiness of spiritual life.

The alms-round in Penang provided an opportunity for devotees to offer food to monastics and to support the development of Sangha.  We rejoice over this wholesome programme which involves community participation, and keeps traditional Buddhist practice in the public eye.  Sadhu anumodana.

Alms-procession to Air Itam.

The alms-procession making its way on the 2-hour, 6.5km route from George Town to Air Itam.