Buddhist monastics rely on the generosity of others. The alms round or pindapāta is a tradition where lay people offer food to monastics to sustain their spiritual practice for the day. Monastics walk silently with their alms bowls through the town or village, and if people feel inspired, they may offer food as a gesture of generosity and kindness.
Going for alms is not begging. The monastics simply walk or stand silently and receive what is offered. It helps to develop contentedness and humility in the monastics, and generosity and service for the people offering.
When and where is Empty Cloud’s alms round?
Currently, the monastics walk for alms on Saturdays through West Orange, NJ. The route begins around at Empty Cloud Monastery at around 9 a.m. and ends at the West Orange Farmers’ Market. They remain at the Farmers’ Market until around 10:30 a.m.
Can the monastics walk by my place?
Potentially! If you live in West Orange and would like the monastics to pass by so you can make an offering, contact our dāna coordinator here. If you have other questions feel free to ask the monastics in person, or contact us.
What can I offer?
Sādhu, anumodanā! The monastics are happy to receive whatever food you may like to give. Please note that our monastics are vegetarian, and that one of the monks is allergic to food from the USA made with non-organic pesticides and herbicides. Your kindness and generosity is very much appreciated!
Fun fact: The word pindapāta is a combination of two words, pinda and pāta in the Pāli language. Pinda means “a lump of food” and pāta means “bowl”. So pindapāta means literally “placing of food in a bowl.”
Even the sight of a Buddha statue can plant the seed of Dharma in a person’s mind – or strengthen the faith of those who are already faithful. Placing statues at a monastery is therefore a way to help countless beings establish the conditions for awakening.
Here at Empty Cloud Monastery, we have many plans to continue “Buddhifying” the monastery inside and out. If you would like to contribute, either by making a donation to the general statue fund, donating to support a specific statue project, or even donating an entire statue yourself, you can send us an email or make a donation to the Statue Fund here:
In the Buddhist scriptures we read of countless female disciples of the Buddha attaining full enlightenment. At Empty Cloud we wish to homage this legacy by putting in sixteen statues of female Arahants (enlightened beings), representing the Bhikkhunis (female monks) who attained enlighenment in the time of the Buddha. This will be in the form of two rows of eight, leading to a meditation platform housing a statue of Tara, a female Buddha.
If you would like to help us honor the female capacity for awakening, thus inspiring future generations of women to pursue enlightenment, please contribute to this worthy and meritorious project. Send us an email now for more info, or make a donation to the Statue Fund here:
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Please make sure that all organic food items are labeledas such, as one of our resident monks is allergic to most pesticides and herbicides present in food made in the USA, so the residents will know it is safe for him to eat.
As the pandemic began, countless people lost their jobs, their income, their relatives, their friends. And as the pandemic grinds on, the problem is not going away – it’s only getting worse.
Every week since April, Empty Cloud Monastery has been providing fresh organic food to families in need. As time has gone by, we’ve narrowed down our focus to serving local Latina women and their families. This community, comprising mainly essential workers, has experienced a huge number of sickness and death due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their plight has been exacerbated by a lack of governmental support, job losses, and even deportation of family members by I.C.E.
Thanks to kind donations we have been able to feed more than forty families each week, giving food to about 150 people in need. We have seen that the program helps to not only address the emergency food shortage these families are facing, but that it’s also provided a source of nutritional, fresh food to families that don’t always have access to high-quality produce.
As we get more and more connected with the community, we would like to keep our program going! If you would like to nurture the Buddhist qualities of compassion and generosity, you can support our efforts by contributing to our project. All donations go directly to purchasing fresh organic produce, which is delivered to the doorstep of dozens of struggling families throughout the Newark area.