Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House, by Shoukei Matsumoto

Staff review by Chris Saliba

Shoukei Matsumoto, a Buddhist monk, explains the spiritual benefits of cleaning your house.

In this short, easy to read book, Shin-Buddhist Shoukei Matsumoto does two things. Firstly, he provides a fascinating glimpse of temple life for a Japanese monk. There are the daily routines, the way meals are prepared and the tools, clothing and utensils that are used. Matsumoto also gives some impression of the gentle, reflective atmosphere of the temple: incense, polished floors and a respect and appreciation of simple objects.

Secondly, Matsumoto explains some aspects of Buddhist philosophy. We learn the importance of cleanliness and how keeping our environment neat and orderly reflects our respect not just for objects, but for people as well.  (“People who don’t respect objects don’t respect people.”) A constant refrain of the book is how regular cleaning, in an almost ritual-like manner, will not only keep the house clean, it will also keep you heart pure.

Your everyday domestic chores will become a way to clean your heart.

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind is a captivating little guide to the good life. It comes with lovely illustrations and practical tips on all sorts of cleaning. It will give you a lightness of being after having read it.

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind, by Shoukei Matsumoto. Published by Penguin. ISBN: 9781846149696  RRP: $19.99

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