UBC Promotes the Ancient Pindapata Tradition
On October 1, 2023, monks, and nuns at the Uganda Buddhist Centre lined up to participate in a traditional Buddhist practice known as Pindapata, which involves going door-to-door and along the roadside to receive food and other items from the villagers.
Venerable Bhante Buddharakkhita, speaking to the media, explained the importance of this ancient ceremony and the recent ordination of Buddhist nuns.
Pindapata is a tradition that dates back to over 2,600 years to the time of the Buddha. It involves monks and nuns going from one home to another collecting alms, primarily food, for their daily sustenance. This practice was initiated by the Buddha himself, highlighting its deep historical roots. This year’s Pindapata was particularly significant because it included 7 Buddhist nuns, who temporarily received ordination as nuns for three weeks.
Pindapata is a daily practice where Buddhist monastics receive material support from the community. In return, they dedicate themselves to meditation, studying Buddhist scriptures, and sharing their spiritual practices with the community. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
What is so intriguing is that this tradition predates the Buddha, as ascetics and religious sects in India were already practicing this form of alms giving. The Buddha adopted and continued this ancient tradition when he began his dispensation.
Venerable Bhante Buddharakkhita also mentioned the challenges faced when he first introduced the Pindapata practice to Uganda. People were unfamiliar with the practice and often confused the monks, sometimes mistaking them for beggars or individuals in distress. Over time, the Uganda Buddhist Center has grown, and the community has gradually understood and embraced these practices.
Currently, there are plans to make this event monthly and even weekly as people gradually learn and appreciate this rich symbiotic tradition. We plan to ordain sixty novice monks and 60 nuns for a short period to give young boys and girls a chance to experience the richness of a monastic life.