As a Buddhist society, we believe in giving, being kind, caring, and compassionate. We take into account, quite automatically, our intention while trying to be helpful to those in need of our help. The underlying wisdom is: If we give with good intention, there invariably is spiritual merit to be gained from it.
We have come a long way as a society. Times have changed. Today, we live in an age when some of the values and beliefs that we deeply hold still have started to be wholly meaningless.
This much we can say about our present without even flinching – the age we live in today is the age of prosperity. Wading through the challenges of being small and underdeveloped with little resources, we made it to the shore. We are today a by much confident and forward-looking nation. However, challenges we have many to deal with, which will require fundamental shift in the way we look at things. Otherwise, it might not be long before we become a prosperous nation with increasing number of beggars. That is, as if we do not have too many ironies already to grapple with.
We are today regularly visited by gangs of maroon-clad youths knocking at our doors at odd hours. They are all young and able-bodied, going about alms begging for easy living. And they are rude. If your fail to open the door, they lock you from outside and, going the down the steps, they throw malevolent curses.
It is wonderful why our young and able-bodied people are resorting to alms begging when they can be our partners in our nation-building narrative. Why are they drawn to this profession that is so belittling to themselves and our culture? Some of them could be real spiritual practitioners, but they don’t come knocking on our doors every other week. The question is: who are these gangs of beggars roaming in the city corners?
We might be influenced by our culture and spiritual beliefs to not see such groups of people going about begging as a problem. But the fact is it is already a serious concern. There is a possibility that such a way of life can become more organised and go underground to give rise to serious crimes in the future.
There is a need to find who they are. If our plans and policies are leaving a large number of young and able-bodied Bhutanese in the fringes of our society, we need to bring them back. One way or the other, we sure can enable them to live honourable and dignified life.