Sunday, July 13, 2003

the beggar

Since I just posted that fat article on religious pluralism, I should mention that I recently saw, for the first time ever, a Korean monk on begging rounds-- on the street where I live! I don't know how widespread this practice is any longer; I'm aware that many of the monks in Japan still do takuhatsu, collecting money and food as they go door to door. My impression living here in Seoul is that begging rounds (am ashamed to say I don't know the Korean term for this!) aren't all that common these days. I remember, back in the mid-90s, seeing monks kneeling in Seoul subway stations, beating on their mok-tak (a kind of hollow wooden clacker shaped like a gourd or fish, it makes a sound like a hard dook-dook-dook when struck), with an offering box placed in front of them. Now, in 2003, I don't see these monks that much.

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