The begging bowl of the Buddha represents the ultimate theological root of the belief, not just in a right to beg, but in openness to the gifts of all beings as an expression of the interdependence of all beings. . . . Thus when the monk begs from the layman and receives a gift from the the layman, it is not as a selfish person getting something from somebody else. He is simply opening himself to this interdependence.

Thomas Merton, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property by Lewis Hyde