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Tattoo designs - B >> Buddhist Begging Bowl

Buddhist begging bowl Buddhist Begging Bowl Tattoos - The begging bowl is one of the primary symbols of the chosen life of the Buddhist monk. Every monk who has been initiated into Buddhist practice carries with him a begging bowl on his journey through life. It signifies the surrender of worrying about worldly living and also of concern for tomorrow. The Buddhist monk moves through the highways and byways of life with nothing but his begging bowl and his staff - and his beliefs.

Whatever is put in the bowl in the way of food or money are considered gifts from the universe. Though the bowl may seem to represent dependence on others for nourishment, the greater symbolism lies in the Buddhist teaching of non-attachment, impermanence and emptiness. The bowl is perhaps the ultimate symbol of submission and selflessness.

Buddha with begging bowlThere is a Buddhist legend that tells of the young aesthete who, after a long period of austerities, had reached a point of great physical weakness. A young woman offered him a bowl of rice, which he took. Eating only what he needed, he discarded the bowl, and was able to continue on is way. The young aesthete was Gautama the Buddha, who by accepting the offering of food survived his austerities and achieved enlightenment. The lesson in this story points out the wisdom of the Middle Way and all those practitioners of Buddha's teachings are encouraged to walk this path, which avoids extremes. In this case, the extreme austerities at one end and extreme attachment at the other.

In Buddhist countries, it is the practice of the people to respect and honour those who have dedicated themselves to the practice of the Buddha Dharma. The begging bowl is seen as a sacred symbol of the Buddha and his teachings and so to give alms to the monks who carry them is an acknowledgement of the Dharma and an honour and blessing for the giver. It is said to represent the middle way between giver and receiver, where both are united in one act.

Buddhist begging bowl images

Before Buddha appeared on the Earth, the begging bowl was the symbol of the renunciate or sadhus in India. It is important to recognize the deep symbolic and philosophical differences between the path of renunciation and the path of denial. In some historic texts on the origins of religious symbols, it is said that some observers of a strict spiritual path carried with them a skull for the purpose of begging for alms. The skull was both a symbol of non-attachment and also a reminder of human mortality, for both the believer and the giver of alms.

Today, in modern Thailand, young men may 'serve' a period of time in Buddhist monasteries as an alternative to serving in the military. And many Thais believe that all individuals can learn valuable life lessons by spending periods of their formative years living in the discipline and rituals of a Buddhist Monastery. Many can be seen in the streets of Bangkok, their heads shaved, wearing saffron robes and carrying a begging bowl. Those who remain in the monasteries keep their begging bowls.

The bowls themselves were traditionally of iron or clay, but over the centuries they have been made of many materials. In keeping with the symbolism of the bowl, the simpler the bowl, the greater it serves its purpose. Images of Buddha often show him holding a begging bowl.

Buddhist Begging Bowl Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!In Buddhist temples and shrines, some begging bowls may even be made of materials as precious as gold. But as symbolic of a vow of poverty, a monk's bowl would be as simple as possible.

Get inspired by some great images and photos in our Buddhist Begging Bowl Inspiration Gallery

See also: Buddha Tattoos, Religious Tattoo Index, Conch Shell Tattoos, Buddhist Knot, Parasol Tattoos, Buddha's Footprint Tattoos, Buddhist Victory Banner, The Empty Throne, Three Jewels, Buddhist Tattoo Index

Tattoo designs - B >> Buddhist Begging Bowl

Tattoo Symbol Index - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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