Practice of the Giving and Receiving

TAKUHATSU is a traditional Buddhist practice in which monks leave practice sites, be it a monastery, hermitage, or forest shelter, to re-enter secular places and collect donations from lay people. However, such Buddhist begging is different from a modern fundraising campaign or ordinary begging. Indeed, Buddhist begging is a practice of mutual generosity (Dana), whereby Takuhatsu is really to be perceive as monks’ gift to the laity. However, since monks vow to leave all of their personal possession in the name of the liberation of all living beings, they thus rely on the generosity of the laity to maintain their physical existence. On the other hand, since the laity are deeply absorbed in worldly matters, Tokuhatsu practice helps them not only through the generosity of the monks who offer them intangible goods, but also through the act of their own generosity towards the monks.

Yet, it is important to understand that although the giving of the laity serves to cover the existential needs of the monks, this act exceeds mere material significance. Indeed, at the same time as there are material benefits for the monks and the monastic community, there are also immaterial benefits for the donor. Thereby, when it is given without expectations and from a pure heart, the merit of giving also increases. However, this is realized only if the act of giving is guided by the original nature, and not by the ego of the giver. In fact, the ultimate goal of the practice of giving and receiving is to break down the boundaries between giver and receiver, with the act of giving and receiving also becoming one and the same.

When this is attained, the only remaining feeling is a deep gratitude for all that we receive, but also for all of our gifts that are accepted by others. Namely, before giving and receiving become one, the act of receiving a gift from the giver creates equal or even greater value for the giver than the value created by his own giving. Hence, the practice of giving and receiving generates, over time, a sense of respect and gratitude for all that is given and received, in both the recipient and the giver.