I observe the beggar’s bowl and marvel at what it does to the soul. The broken bowl is always empty because it doesn’t ask for more than what charity can offer. What is given is consumed by the beggar as he has no other need for the gift except to live without. For this reason, his daily collection is always enough for him.
It is never too little or too much. What is given is what he is contented with and he lives his life with little expectations. He knows tomorrow will be the same as today. His needs will not grow just because it is another day. He is satisfied with what is in his bowl at any one time. And even if he has nothing for the day, he knows his center will still hold.
His life is dedicated to one cause and that is to live as if he has nothing to his name. To him, to have enough is really no shame. He is not haunted by the cares of this world because his cares are no bigger than the bowl in his hands. His appetites will not overflow from the bowl. They are well contained. Neither has his bowl any room for greed. He is therefore not consumed by it. He doesn’t need to compete with others for praise or recognition. He is not tortured by the constant need to be ahead in life. He is self-sufficient. He is well off enough.
Everything he has is in his bowl. His whole possession is in his hands. He has nothing to boast about except to appeal to the generosity of the land. He knows this world is not dead to his appeal for help. He knows the listeners will listen, the givers will give, and the kindhearted will be kind. His life depends on it. His hope hinges upon this social faith and he is always indebted to what little that is dropped into his broken bowl.
He lives to savor one gratitude after another and it never ceases to keep his faith alive. The only pride he has in his living years is his belief in the charity of passerby. Their dispensation however meager carries him safely from one day to the next. His day starts and ends with what is collected and what is collected is good enough for the day.
Tomorrow may be different. He may have a little more or a little less but he is never too concerned about it. He sleeps soundly every night and wakes up expecting better. He is just grateful for the goodwill shown and he gives thanks for it everyday. The beggar’s bowl is a powerful symbol of a life of simplicity and contentment. It reminds us that we often go on our kneels to beg for things that money cannot buy because the things that money can often disappoint.
And in giving to the beggar's bowl, it returns the favor with this timeless message, “To possess is to give.” The givers are always reminded of this when they fill the bowl. To those who are more discerning, the message goes deeper. For you cannot truly be free in this life if you are not completely free from your riches. To have therefore is to have not. To own is to disown. And to give is thus to receive.
Seen from this often neglected light, those who give differs little from those who receive. For the givers may have everything yet they own nothing. It is therefore in their poverty - and not their claim to ownership - that makes them truly rich. Cheerz.