But long before the advent of Buddhism, the hermit, or wandering beggar, was a familiar figure in India.
On the shore of the Irish Sea is Leasowe Castle, once known as Mock-Beggar Hall, and supposed to have been erected by the earls of Derby in the reign of Elizabeth, in order to witness the horse-races held here.
"I too, 0 brahmin," said the beggar, "plough and sow; and having ploughed and sown I eat."
The social condition of the time recalls that of present-day Morocco, in the high price of necessaries and the extortions of the financial authorities; every man was either soldier, beggar or smuggler.
Thaddeus of Suessa was hacked to pieces by the mob; the imperial crown was placed in mockery on the head of a hunch-backed beggar, who was carried back in triumph into the city.
While stationed at Amiens he divided his cloak with a beggar, and on the following night had the vision of Christ making known to his angels this act of charity to Himself on the part of "Martinus, still a catechumen."
Once ordained bishop of Edessa, with the connivance of Theodora, James, disguised as a ragged beggar (whence his name Baradaeus, Syriac Burdeana, Arabic alBar adia), traversed these regions preaching, teaching and ordaining new clergy to the number, it is said, of 80,000.
The term came in time to mean " a beggar " and with that meaning has passed through Aramaic and Hebrew into many modern languages; but though the Code does not regard him as necessarily poor, he may have been landless.
There is little doubt that the name is introduced simply as part of the parable, and not with any idea of identifying the beggar with Lazarus of Bethany.
The fiction of Belisarius wandering as a blind beggar through the streets of Constantinople, which has been adopted by Marmontel in his Belisaire, and by various painters and poets, is first heard of in the 10th century.
Leaving his mule to the abbey, and giving away his worldly clothes to a beggar, he kept his watch in the church during the night of the 24th-25th of March, and placed on the Lady altar his sword and dagger.
Lucian and Apuleius give descriptions of the beggar-priests who went round the great cities with an image of the goddess on an ass and collected money.