The Buddha taught us that there is nothing shameful in begging for what is genuinely needed. He taught that to do so is a supremely important practice. Begging was not simply an expedient means for getting the monks and nuns fed. This could be readily achieved without the alms round. The practice was designed to bring home the basic facts of life and to help overcome the shame associated with making needs known. The monk or nun standing in dignified calm with her or his empty bowl is the embodiment of the Noble Truths.

David Brazier, The Feeling Buddha