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Offering Food (Dana) to the Monks
"In this way, monks, this holy life is lived with mutual support, for the purpose of crossing over the flood of saṁsāra and making a complete end of suffering.”
The Buddha, Itivuttaka #107
For over 2,500 years, support for the monastic life has been provided by lay supporters through daily acts of generosity. The monks are not allowed to own, accept or handle money. They are not allowed to store or prepare food, and can only eat food which is presented to them daily. The Buddha deliberately required the monks to be totally dependent upon the lay community for their physical support. He wanted them to be unencumbered by any worldly responsibilities. Free to live a life dedicated to simplicity, contentment and contemplation, monks can spend their time and energy to study and practise the Dhamma. Deepening their knowledge in meditation, they benefit the lay community by sharing whatever insight they gain through teaching, advice and example.
DAILY MEAL (Dana) EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK
Offering food to the monastic community provides an opportunity to visit and participate in the lifestyle of the monastery. The monks eat one main meal a day in late morning, which they are required to finish by midday. Everyone is welcome to join the program on any day and to bring food to offer to the monks and to share with other lay visitors.
(PLEASE NOTE: On two or three weekdays during the month Dana is offered at 7:00am by people rostered on to do so. There is a blessing for those offering, but no communal meal or talk. There will be no one there at the usual time of 10:30 am. Please check the calendar for these days.)
Except for these 7:00 am days, the best time to arrive is 10:00 am to set out food for the 10:30am Almsoffering. There is a microwave for heating, but otherwise dishes should be pre-prepared ready to eat, as the monks take the food into their bowls to be eaten immediately.
RICE OFFERING (Pindapata - Almsround)
This custom dates back to the time of the Buddha. At 10:30am, collect a plate with a small amount of rice and fork or spoon and join the line of people on the front verandah. As the monks walk by you can spoon a small portion of rice into their bowls. After this offering, please leave the plate of rice on a dedicated table and proceed to the Shrine room where the monks will return to give a blessing after being presented with and collecting food in their bowls from the buffet table.
The senior monk will be invited to and recite a short verse in Pali (a language spoken at the time
of the Buddha) . Immediately after this is a time to step forward and offer any other requisites to the monks (no cash or cheques, which should be deposited in the donation box). No meals are cooked at the monastery, so items such as uncooked rice we will not be used. After the offerings,
a traditional Pali blessing is chanted by the monks to share the merits of the gifts given with departed loved ones.
Buddhism: Blessing at Almsoffering with Subtitles & Translation at Dhammagiri Forest Hermitage - YouTube
After the blessing by the monks, lay visitors are invited to select their meal from the buffet table, while the monks will eat their meal by themselves in the Shrine Room. Following the meal and clean up (usually around 11:45am), lay visitors may return to the Shrine Room for a talk by the senior monk and an opportunity to ask questions.
Not many people attend Tuesday to Friday. Therefore, Rukmani organises a roster of people to offer Dana to ensure that the monks will get food on these weekdays. If you can commit beforehand to offer Dana on Tue, Wed, Thu or Fri, please contact Rukmani at: rukmanijayasinghe[at]gmail.com
or Arosha at: arosha.amarasekera[at]gmail.com
Lay visitors are requested to dress modestly when visiting. Please, no shorts for men or women or dresses above the knees or low necklines.
Sharing the meal with others is a way to make new friends and connect with the community at Dhammagiri. Many people from different cultures and backgrounds come to the monastery and there is always a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We look forward to seeing you here.
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