In Buddhism, alms or almsgiving is the respect given by a lay Buddhist to a Buddhist monk, nun, spiritually-developed person or other sentient being. It is not charity as presumed by Western interpreters. It is closer to a symbolic connection to the spiritual and to show humbleness and respect in the presence of normal society.[note 1] The visible presence of monks and nuns is a stabilizing influence. The act of alms giving assists in connecting the human to the monk or nun and what he/she represents.
Monks receiving alms in Luang Prabang, Laos, 2010.
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