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The word alms comes from the Latin word, meaning "food given to the poor".
The giving of alms is the beginning of one's journey to Nirvana (Pali: nibbana). In practice one can give anything with or without thought for Nibbana. This would lead to faith (Pali: saddha), one key power (Pali: bala) that one should generate within oneself for the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. (Source:en.wikipedia.org)
The term "alms" comes from both Latin and Old English. Literally, "alms" is translated as "for the poor". The word "alms-giving" is also often used as a synonym for charity, who many individuals and organizations are seen as "alms-givers".
Here we have fasting, alms-giving, prayers, and a special three-day programme of litanies. With priests walking barefoot to church - all in support of a military emergency. (Source: dictionary.cambridge.org)
The term alms originally meant food taken compulsorily from the table of an inn-dining patron.
To a neighbour in serious or pressing indigence. Alms must be given by using such commodities as are superfluous in relation to present social advantages. Nay, more likely in the more acute forms of such indigence those commodities. Which may in some measure tend to future social advantages must be taxed to succour this indigence (Suarez, loc. cit., no. 5; De Conninck, loc. cit., no. 125; Viva, in prop. xii, damnatam ab Innoc. XI, no. 8). The transgression of this obligation likewise involves a grievous sin, because well-regulated charity obliges. One to meet the serious needs of another when he can do so without serious personal disadvantage (St. Alphonsus, H. Ap. tr., iv, no. 19). (Source: www.newadvent.org)
This article will define the term alms and some of the other terms that can be used interchangeably. It will also discuss some of the reasons you may want to use the term alms. And some of the reasons you may want to avoid it.