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.
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.