Buddhist Monk Alms Bowl 10″ x 11″
The begging bowl, or alms bowl, is one of the simplest but most important objects in the daily lives of Buddhist monks. It is primarily a practical object, used as a bowl in which to collect alms (either money or food) from lay supporters. also has symbolic significance associated with the historical Buddha. According to one legend, when he began meditating beneath the Bodhi Tree, a young woman offered him a golden bowl filled with rice, thinking he was the divinity of the tree. He divided the rice into 49 portions, one for each day until he would be enlightened, and threw the precious bowl into the river. The word for begging-bowl in Pali is patta; in Sanksrit it is patra.