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When King Bimbisara met Buddha, he accepted him as his master, and said to him "I take refuge in Buddha". The mad elephant came and knelt at his feet. Just before Devadatta died, and was at his weakest, he said "I know I am about to die, I take refuge in him" (about Buddha).
As for alms, I didn't just mean that the problem is that it is a burden on society. The problem is also one of self-sufficiency. Something is seriously wrong with a system where a man is not responsible for his own well-being, and must beg for his own up-keep. Money doesn't buy happiness, but as a member of the human race here on earth, one can't give up the physical.
It has always intersted me to know that the Buddha has so many followers, yet has this "stain" in his background.