A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind

Cleanliness is next to enlightenment. In this Japanese bestseller a Buddhist monk explains the traditional meditative techniques that will help cleanse not only your house - but your soul.Live clean. Feel calm. Be happy.We remove dust to sweep away our worldly cares. We live simply and take time to contemplate the self, mindfully living each moment. It's not just monks tha...

DownloadRead Online
Title:A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind
Author:Shoukei Matsumoto
Rating:

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind Reviews

  • Olga Miret

    Thanks to NetGalley and to Penguin UK for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

    Sometimes I read the title and the description of a book in one of my favourite genres and it is intriguing enough or it has something that makes me want to read it. But sometimes I see a book that is completely different to what I normally read but still, it seems to call me and this is one of those books.

    As I am about to move (houses and countries), I thought a book about cleaning (not

    Thanks to NetGalley and to Penguin UK for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

    Sometimes I read the title and the description of a book in one of my favourite genres and it is intriguing enough or it has something that makes me want to read it. But sometimes I see a book that is completely different to what I normally read but still, it seems to call me and this is one of those books.

    As I am about to move (houses and countries), I thought a book about cleaning (not only our houses but also our minds) might be an asset. And, oh boy, was I right!

    This book does what it says on the tin. I can’t guarantee you that you’ll end up cleaning more if you read it, but I’d be surprised if it doesn’t make you think about the process.

    I don’t know how accurate a translation of the original this is, but I loved the simple style of writing. Although the sentences are not elaborate or complex, and the ideas it contains seem extremely simple, they are beautiful in their simplicity and unassuming. This is not a book of advice that will quote analytics, statistics, and numbers of followers. It just explains what life for Zen monks living at a temple is like, and explains their philosophy.

    I am not very house-proud and I can’t claim to spend a lot of time cleaning (and even less thinking about cleaning), but there are some chores that I do enjoy, and some whose mechanics can free my mind and make me forget the things around me. Although this is not what the book is about (it is a way of life and it is very specific and ordered), I think most of us will identify with some of the thoughts behind it.

    The book highlights the importance of respecting nature, our bodies, our possessions (and we don’t need many), all life, and each other. It is a short book and it is also a relaxing read that will make you look at things differently and give you some pause. And, as I said, you don’t need to be big on cleaning to enjoy it.

    I thought I’d share some examples of passages I highlighted from the book, so you can get an idea of what to expect:

    I hope you enjoy applying the cleaning techniques introduced here in your home. There’s nothing complicated about them. All you need is a will to sweep the dust off our heart.

    ‘Zengosaidan’ is a Zen expression meaning that we must put all our efforts into each day so we have no regrets, and that we must not grieve for the past or worry about the future.

    It goes without saying that dust will accumulate in a home that is never cleaned. Just as you have finished raking the leaves, more are sure to fall. It is the same with your mind. Right when you think you have cleaned out all the cobwebs, more begin to form. Adherence to the past and misgivings about the future will fill your head, wresting your mind from the present. This is why we monks pour ourselves heart and soul into polishing floors. Cleaning is training for staying in the now. Therein lies the reason for being particular about cleanliness.

    I hate ironing. I must say that after reading this I know what I’ll think about when I have to iron something from now on:

    How to Iron. When ironing, visualize yourself ironing out the wrinkles in your heart.

    By letting go of everything, you can open up a universe of unlimited possibilities.

    A lovely book, a deep book, and a simple book. I kept thinking of friends and relatives who might enjoy/benefit from it (and I don’ t mean because of the state their houses are in!). And I am sure many of you would enjoy it too. Just try it and see.

  • Tess Wheeler

    What a delightful little book. I read it from cover to cover within an hour and found it calming and fascinating in equal measure.

    This bestseller by a Zen Buddhist monk is in the tradition of books about minimalism, mindfulness and decluttering. It draws a line from cleaning your home and living in an uncluttered space, to cleansing your soul and feeling calm and fulfilled. Shoukei Matsumoto explains that in the temple, the monks begin their day by sweeping dust away, not because the temple is d

    What a delightful little book. I read it from cover to cover within an hour and found it calming and fascinating in equal measure.

    This bestseller by a Zen Buddhist monk is in the tradition of books about minimalism, mindfulness and decluttering. It draws a line from cleaning your home and living in an uncluttered space, to cleansing your soul and feeling calm and fulfilled. Shoukei Matsumoto explains that in the temple, the monks begin their day by sweeping dust away, not because the temple is dirty or messy, but to take away the gloom in their hearts. And he explains that undertaking household tasks mindfully and with joy will make you happier and more enlightened.

    “Life is a daily training ground, and we are each composed of the very actions we take in life.”

    I should admit at the outset that while I’m a fan of this aspirational approach, I am not one of life’s naturally tidy people. Rooms in my house frequented by visitors might muster an 8 out of 10 rating — marks detracted for dusty shelves and skirting boards, and a few scattered magazines — but the hidden areas of my home would score far lower; I have messy bookshelves, an untidy desk and a frankly embarrassing wardrobe full of unworn clothes.

    Perhaps these messy hidden spaces are symptoms of a cluttered mind, complicated emotions and years of emotional baggage? All I know is that January usually sees me wishing for clean lines and empty surfaces. While I’m a long, long way from owning as few possessions as a Buddhist monk, the spirit of the book spoke to me and there were many practical tips as well as pearls of wisdom for me to take away.

    “When ironing, visualize yourself ironing out the wrinkles in your heart.”

    How different is this Zen approach to my own! For many years, when my four children were young, Sunday evening was my designated ironing time. Out would come the laundry baskets of clean washing and I would position my ironing board in front of the television set and treat myself to marathon sessions of Dawson’s Creek to get me through the ordeal of school uniforms and work shirts.

    I’ll be honest and say that not being a Zen master, I doubt I could have maintained this visualizing of my heart for two to three hours. But now that my ironing pile is smaller, maybe I can manage a mindful and serene twenty minutes?

    The book is divided into sections such as Understanding Cleaning, Useful Items, The Kitchen, Personal Items, Outside the Home, and Body and Mind. And the charming line drawings should not go unmentioned — they complemented the book’s message with their pleasing simplicity.

    Having no tokonoma or butsuma of my own to tend to, and no shoji paper screen doors to clean or repair, the book provided an absorbing insight into domestic Japanese culture. I imagine people will find it interesting and enlightening on many different levels.

    Matsumoto’s parting thought is that spring cleaning is not only a way of clearing the mind of all the year’s grime but that — when undertaken with your family — it can also strengthen the bonds you share. Now if I can just persuade my family to read this little book and adopt its principles…

    A lovely book with a simple but effective message — do read it.

  • Jera Em

    This is a great book on cleaning. Some of it is specific to Buddhist temples along with a few specific things you're unlikely to find in the West such as shoji doors but the basic philosophy and the majority of the advice is all really useful and relaxing to read. I liked the emphasis on taking the time to appreciate the everyday things surrounding us in particular.

    I think combining this with Marie Kondo's method would lead to some excellent tidying methods. She was definitely influenced by Shin

    This is a great book on cleaning. Some of it is specific to Buddhist temples along with a few specific things you're unlikely to find in the West such as shoji doors but the basic philosophy and the majority of the advice is all really useful and relaxing to read. I liked the emphasis on taking the time to appreciate the everyday things surrounding us in particular.

    I think combining this with Marie Kondo's method would lead to some excellent tidying methods. She was definitely influenced by Shinto and other traditional Japanese practices, so that makes sense. I look forward to trying some of these out. ^^

  • 7jane

    This book perhaps reads the best if you think that you will use those hints and opinions that you can use, and view the rest as an interesting view on places of Zen and the mind of those who live in them. This book clearly works best if you have already decluttered and minimalized (or nearly-minimalized) your place, though some points would work already.

    It is a book on cleaning the house inside and outside (outside being the garden and walkways), plus cleaning your body and mind. There are some

    This book perhaps reads the best if you think that you will use those hints and opinions that you can use, and view the rest as an interesting view on places of Zen and the mind of those who live in them. This book clearly works best if you have already decluttered and minimalized (or nearly-minimalized) your place, though some points would work already.

    It is a book on cleaning the house inside and outside (outside being the garden and walkways), plus cleaning your body and mind. There are some nice illustrations within. The writer is a Zen buddhist monk in Tokyo, who shows us how they do cleaning in Zen temples, and what they think of it, and personal clealiness and eating. What they use while cleaning, and what they wear while cleaning, is also quite interesting (and cute, in my opinion).

    There's talk about when to clean, airing out, weather, avoiding procrastination; cleaning for particular places and rooms (including hard-to-reach places, slide doors, and the altar). There's also talk of repairing, scenting, mold removal; enjoying seasonal changes, organization of objects, and spring cleaning. Sometimes certain cleaning operations are done on certain-numbered days, which is interesting. I do find it strange, when it comes to talk of their eating, that they avoid onions, leeks, and garlic, because I really like having them in my foods, but I can still understand and accept that in some places they are not used.

    The book made me also think about seasonal clothes: both doing this, and just having the same clothes year-round available, appeal to me but the mention here certainly makes me weigh mentally the benefit of both approaches. The point about cleanliness and cleaning helping the state of mind I find true, even if I'm not yet quite as good about cleaning.

    Certainly this book makes me think about how I can improve my cleaning, and those viewpoints and activities I can't/won't have are still interesting to read about. Which makes me see that this book is well worth reading, and quite inspiring.

  • MargeryK

    A cute little book I bought as a gift and sneakily read before wrapping it!! Makes sense of some Japanese household things. I liked it a lot.

  • Nigeyb

    I read

    by

    at the start of 2016 and, when I read about

    , I thought it might offer similar nuggets which I could incorporate into my routines.

    , a Buddhist monk at the Komyoji Temple in Kamiyacho, Tokyo, explains how a monk’s day begins with cleaning, and the various rituals, many cleaning based, which punctuate the day.

    This slim, quick-to-read g

    I read

    by

    at the start of 2016 and, when I read about

    , I thought it might offer similar nuggets which I could incorporate into my routines.

    , a Buddhist monk at the Komyoji Temple in Kamiyacho, Tokyo, explains how a monk’s day begins with cleaning, and the various rituals, many cleaning based, which punctuate the day.

    This slim, quick-to-read guide offers practical cleaning tips, as well as insights into life in a Buddhist temple, however it is far too weighted towards the daily routines of the monks and so less applicable to those who live in an ordinary home.

    That said, I did pick up a few good tips, for example...

    - Newspaper will come in handy when cleaning glass. Lightly crumple a piece of newspaper, apply a small amount of soap and water, then wipe your windows until they are squeaky clean. Newspaper is much better than rags or towels when cleaning windows

    - Once you learn how to see how your inner turmoil manifests itself through your surroundings, you can reverse engineer this, mastering yourself by mastering the space in which you live

    One of the messages is around how you approach cleaning, it's not what you clean, but how you approach the task. Apparently one of Buddha’s disciples achieved enlightenment solely through the act of sweeping.

    OK, but not a patch on

    - which I loved and still use many of the techniques.

    3/5

  • Dannii Elle

    In 2017 I began to incorporate more self-care and spiritual practises into my life. In 2018 it has been my goal to really engage with a more mindful, present, and tranquil lifestyle. For that reason I felt very conflicted about what to rate this book. I loved the essence of this book and was so sure I was going to adore it, before I began reading. In actuality, I loved the idea of it more than the end result.

    This book opens up the ideologies behind many of a monk's daily practises and shows how

    In 2017 I began to incorporate more self-care and spiritual practises into my life. In 2018 it has been my goal to really engage with a more mindful, present, and tranquil lifestyle. For that reason I felt very conflicted about what to rate this book. I loved the essence of this book and was so sure I was going to adore it, before I began reading. In actuality, I loved the idea of it more than the end result.

    This book opens up the ideologies behind many of a monk's daily practises and shows how the reader can also use the same mindful techniques to improve their environment and mindset. I really appreciated how, for such a short book, this provided details on a multitude of everyday items in the Japanese culture. I found these sections of interest but, perhaps, not of great use to a Western reader. Once I understood the simple concept of the book - how cleaning is led about getting rid of grime and more about cultivating the mind - there was nothing more this book had to offer me as I have little use on knowledge of how to properly care for a shōji or a monk's clothing.

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Shoukei Matsumoto, and the publisher, Penguin, for this opportunity.

  • Gabrielle

    3 and a half stars.

    "Think of your home as an allegory for your body."

    In Zen, it is often said that the profane is sacred and that the sacred is profane; that's why what can seem like menial tasks to some are viewed as ascetic practices for monks, as Shoukei Matsumoto explains in this little book.

    "A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Clean Mind" is basically exactly what the title promises: it's an insightful explanation of the way cleaning and maintenance is handled in the context of a Zen monast

    3 and a half stars.

    "Think of your home as an allegory for your body."

    In Zen, it is often said that the profane is sacred and that the sacred is profane; that's why what can seem like menial tasks to some are viewed as ascetic practices for monks, as Shoukei Matsumoto explains in this little book.

    "A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Clean Mind" is basically exactly what the title promises: it's an insightful explanation of the way cleaning and maintenance is handled in the context of a Zen monastery, how those practices reflect Buddhist principles, are a part of one's meditation and mindfulness practice - with some advice on how to reproduce the techniques in one's own home.

    I enjoyed the read, even if I didn't really learn anything new. Matsumoto does a wonderful job in showing how Buddhist outlook and principles can really be an integral part of everything one does through the day, But I also found the book a bit repetitive, and while some of the advice is very interesting and inspiring, it is not always practical or easily applicable in a non-monastery context (I do not have shoji paper doors, for instance).

    That being said, it was a nice reminder to add a layer of mindfulness to my housekeeping and gave me a lot of chew on regarding some choices of house cleaning supplies and various household items. Monks try to waste as little as possible, and if there's something I take away from this read, it is to be a bit more diligent on that front. It reminded me of a book I read years ago about the Japanese way of practicing voluntary simplicity in one's lifestyle, that also emphasized neatness and reducing ownership of material possessions to a minimum.

    A quick and inspiring read!

  • Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    my house is an absolute mess.

    It’s not dirty just, very, very messy. There are books everywhere. I used to organise them but I have long since run out of shelf room. Books pile up, they get shoved into corners and form giant stacks and then I can’t find the ones I want (though all the best ones get shelved, of course.)

    I need to sort them out. So after reading this I found myself going online and buying four new bookshelves to display the rest of my books on. This monk argues th

    my house is an absolute mess.

    It’s not dirty just, very, very messy. There are books everywhere. I used to organise them but I have long since run out of shelf room. Books pile up, they get shoved into corners and form giant stacks and then I can’t find the ones I want (though all the best ones get shelved, of course.)

    I need to sort them out. So after reading this I found myself going online and buying four new bookshelves to display the rest of my books on. This monk argues that our homes reflect our minds, and in a way it is true. If our homes are disorganised and messy then our minds become unfocused and disorganised. Our homes, our temples, reflect our thoughts and our degree of motivation for the day. And I really do agree with this sentiment.

    However, not all of us live as monks do. Some of us have to go to work. Some of us have university commitments. Some of us have both at once and some even more things to deal with. The point is not all of us can rise early in the morning and clean the entire house everyday (like this monk argues we should do) because there is simply too much to deal with in real life. We don’t all have the benefits of a stress free day spent in meditation and walking the grounds of a Buddhist temple.

    This book shares a strong ideal, though it is one shared in complete ignorance about how the rest of the world works.

  • Sam Quixote

    Shoukei Matsumoto, a Buddhist monk from a Tokyo temple, talks down to readers in

    A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind.

    Living in a clean house helps your mind in an immensely positive way, not least because, duuuuh, it’s nice to live in a clean house, and cleaning in itself can be quite calming – I totally agree. But that’s the entire book. “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Hardly an original sentiment and definitely not in need of an entire book, however short, to

    Shoukei Matsumoto, a Buddhist monk from a Tokyo temple, talks down to readers in

    A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind.

    Living in a clean house helps your mind in an immensely positive way, not least because, duuuuh, it’s nice to live in a clean house, and cleaning in itself can be quite calming – I totally agree. But that’s the entire book. “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Hardly an original sentiment and definitely not in need of an entire book, however short, to explain something so straightforward a concept. And, my word, do you notice how thin the material is! It’s 100% filler.

    In case you’re a drooling imbecile heading in for your latest lobotomy, he literally describes cleaning, cleaning instruments (brooms, dustpans, rags), and how to clean sinks and windows: soap, water, rags, elbow grease. WOOOOOAH! Mind. Blown. Get Colombo off the case, the age-old mystery of how to clean a sink is solved!

    Then he describes cleaning the toilet, the floors, doing the laundry, ironing the laundry, storing clothes. At one point he literally describes washing your face and brushing your teeth. I mean, is this an instructional manual for aliens inhabiting their first human host – what’re we babies?? Who actually needs to be told that cleaning your teeth is a good idea?! If you don’t know what to clean and how, let alone to brush your fucking teeth every day, AND you can read this book, you need to be studied!

    Matsumoto frames the bleeding obvious throughout with a woowoo pseudo-spiritual bent like:

    "If you enter a damp bathroom, your heart also becomes damp. If mould grows in a bathroom, then mould also grows in your heart. If the body is washed sloppily, then impurities of the heart cannot be removed... If the bathroom is kept clean, then you can keep your heart clean as well."

    … yeah, so just keep your bathrooms clean for hygienic reasons, ok?

    I agree with a lot of what this book is promoting: clean living space, clean living in general like eating clean, practicing mindfulness, prioritising sufficient sleep, not putting off tomorrow what you can do today, respecting all living things, being organised, and not cluttering up your house with needless junk. But I didn’t need to read a book affirming my beliefs, nor do I expect the information contained within these covers will be anything anyone isn’t already aware of.

    Keep your house clean by not acquiring this unnecessary book!

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.