Here's what this Buddhist monk has learned about the spiritual practice of cleaning:
- Cleaning practice - that is sweeping, polishing, wiping, tidying, washing - constitutes an important step toward inner peace.
- Buddhism does not separate the person from the environment and "cleaning expresses our respect for and sense of wholeness with the world that surrounds us."
- Cleaning when done mindfully is a powerful meditation practice. For that reason, Japanese Buddhist monks routinely clean their own temples. "This is because the cleaning practice is not a tool but a purpose in itself. Would you outsource your meditation practice to others?"
- There is no end to cleaning just as there is no ending of or "graduation" in meditation practice. " Right after I am satisfied with the cleanliness of the garden I have swept, fallen leaves and dust begin to accumulate. Similarly, right after I feel peaceful with my ego-less mindfulness, anger or anxiety begin once again to emerge in my mind. The ego endlessly arises in my mind, so I keep cleaning for my inner peace. No cleaning, no life."
Shoukei Matsumoto says the spiritual practice of cleaning is "very simple. Sweep from the top to the bottom of your home, wipe along the stream of objects and handle everything with care." After cleaning up your home, apartment or room, he recommends extending the practice into other life areas. While he doesn't identify what those areas may be, his suggestion is stimulating. What if we began to tidy up our relationships and friendships to make them "cleaner"? Or, how about cleaning up the way we drive our vehicles, making roadways and traffic less anxiety producing? Or, how about cleaning up the way we treat people who serve us – baristas, store clerks, bank tellers, waiters and waitresses, flight attendants, etc.,