If there is no rebirth, what is the response for a layman asking as below?

Oh, monk, I have been feeding you for ten years and I was told that my good deeds could secure me a better fortune on my re-birth, and that I will be paid a hundred or even a thousand times more. I was told that this deed of mine could even secure me a place among the Devas. But now I hear you say in secret amongs you that there is no re-birth, so tell me why should I give you this bowl of rice if there is no reward for me?

I feed my son too for ten years, but he gives me delight and I also know that he is going to support me when I'm aged and weak from feeding you and him. But you, you say that you will be extinguished like fire and be here and nowhere, so why should I feed you?

Ooh, is it because of my compassion that I feed you? But if so where is your compassion when your aim is to delight in the Jhanas and at last be extinguished leaving me and my son at lose? Tell me why I shouldn’t call you a hypocrite?


2 Answers 2


Buddhism is not an obligatory religion but a religion of voluntary individual participation. There is no obligation to feed monks for non-Buddhists who have not gained appreciation and thus gratitude towards Buddhism.

Monks have carried the teachings over the centuries & established places for dedicated practice. Therefore, grateful Buddhists feeds monks who they have personal faith in & respect for. For example, I once expelled a monk from my home & advised him he was not welcome for alms, because I had no faith in that monk.

In short, non-Buddhists or non-faithful have no obligation to feed monks.

Also, Buddhism states monks should be easy to look after & not cause hardship to supporters. In other words, if your family will be deprived due to feeding a monk, Buddhism does not expect you to feed a monk.

Dhammapada 49. As a bee gathers honey from the flower without injuring its color or fragrance, even so the sage goes on his alms-round in the village.

  • Would a monk even respond at all, if they were asked a question like the OP's during an alms round?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 10:59

If one would expand his awareness and look into the matter discerning, one would possible say:

"That's the way it is. One should never regret ones done good deed.

For the giving of alms to a contemplative Epic will spend many lifespans in heaven.

For the regret of having given alms to a member of the Sangha, on account of established wrong views act of thoughts and speech, if not coming to mind and timely not let it become even a bodily act of reject, Epic will for many livetimes have planty and whealth, but neither will she/he be able to enjoy the wealth and even the son of this livetime will not care for herghim in her/him age. Many times she/he will be heirless.

Grain, wealth, silver, gold, or whatever other belongings you have; slaves, servants, errand-runners, & any dependents: you must go without taking any of them; you must leave all of them behind.

What you do with body, speech, or mind: that is yours; taking that you go; that's your follower, like a shadow that never leaves.

Thus you should do what is fine as a stash for the next life. Acts of merit are the support for beings in their after-death world.

Aputtaka Sutta: Heirless (2)

On the significance of this, to that occassion:

"Indeed, it is trough association with fools, that foolish thoughts arising, or having arised, become nurishment.So is it that association, tending to the fools, listen on their advices leds upward, gives neither pleasant hold in this nor the next world, not to speak about beyound."

When ever the thought might arise "It would be good to be taught and encouraged in good ways, for long time benefit, it would be good to be explained what is benefical, what lead not to long lasting benefit." One might know how, whome and where to approach to be conductive satisfied.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial purpose and other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange]

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