A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

If you like cleaning and want a justification for doing so then please read this book. If you want to mindfully clean every room then read the first chapter. The pictures are cute. That’s it. I gave up. Short book so was going to continue to end. Then realised life was just too short to spend another half hour reading it. If you are a novice Zen monk this is for you. Otherwise it states the obvious and I gave up trying to work out how, if you wash your dishes as you go along ( whilst cooking), you use less water. 
Great for many. Me? I’ll stick to Virginia Woolf whilst cleaning less.
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I started becoming interested in Japanese culture when I embarked on my spiritual path several years ago what I read many books on Zen and went to several Zen practice groups . I was fascinated by the precise form and the way of doing things without doing things.

 And  started incorporating mindful cooking and mindful kitchen once a month and then once a week. I always had a love and hate relationship with cleaning like so many of us . 

Even though in this book it describes the life of a monk in Japan. The tips are so practical that we can apply right away in our daily lives as well teach our kids. It has some cute drawings too. 

It describes  so many ways that a person can include those things in their daily lives - cleaning is not about cleaningphysical dirt only. It's about cleaning or mind and heart.  It has so many ideas on how we can teach kids at a very young age will you about community, family , things their value in our life  so they appreciate them .

I really love this book I also love that they have explained lot of Japanese terms and the purpose behind them. I will purchase this book in printed form  and use it as a referral to come back to it again and again thank you so much.

Cleaning our house is  cleaning our mind/ heart. Clutter in house is clutter in mind/ heart. 

I will look differently on how I will clean the toilet now 😃. 

Recommend reading it .

Thank you giving me opportunity to read this book.
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This is much in line with other books about cleaning and minimalism. There were a few nuggets of worthwhile information and practical cleaning tips but much of it felt all too familiar and similar to other titles on the market.
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A Short book that is mainly useful if you happen to live in a temple but with lovely little illustrations and a strangely calming effect..
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Shoukei Matsumoto, a Buddhist monk from a Tokyo temple, talks down to readers in How to be Anal Retentive 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!
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A delightful book which will be popular with all mindfulness devotees. 
The simple illustrations complement the text well.
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I really enjoyed this book. It seems to be the next progressively in the cycle of Hygge/Lagom etc books we've had over the kast few Xmas's. I thought the subject matter was interesting and really liked how the tone of peaceful contemplation is reflected in the wording and presentation.
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A guide for enlightenment through cleanliness and meditation 

The Japanese have an art for everything and everything they do is a mindful exercise with purpose.

An interesting book that makes you want to practice and achieve a calm and peaceful existence in our daily rushabout society

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Hard to describe this book but it is an interesting read. I dipped in and out of it rather than reading it in one go but still a highly intriguing concept.
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Cleaning the house while clearing your mind

Maybe it was the title of this book that first made me want to explore its contents or maybe it was whether the author, Shoukei Matsumoto, could help me re-shape my way of thinking; dust and clutter and scrambled chaotic life. Tidy, clean house - calm environment to live in and……. well, I can now admit that he’s right! I started following his advice and it left me with far less clutter running through my brain and the added bonus is that there is not much dust to be seen either.

Why? Let me tell you from a personal perspective how this philosophy works when practised. I’ve had to face some seriously stressful months later while waiting for an event that was going to be life-changing, one way or another. As the months progressed, I found myself becoming increasingly more jumbled, not bothering to devote any time to either my house nor my personal space. Papers were strewn everywhere with no order. Dust building up on the tables. My days were filled with jumbled thoughts. Stupid decisions. The nights were worse with nightmares and restless sleep – and then I started reading this little book on cleaning and clearing and realised how deeply I’d started descending the rabbit hole. I looked around me and saw things that had been left lying around for months unattended. Where once I took pride in cleaning and dusting, I found I was simply overlooking the mess. 

Shoukei Matsumoto made me realise that facing problems by physically cleaning, clearing and tidying my space made me feel calm and able to face problems with clarity once again.

There were bits which I suppose are necessary if you really have no idea about what type of clothing to wear while cleaning or what tools to use in the process but which I found unnecessary (who doesn’t know how to dust or use a broom my judgemental side asked?). Before, this would have really irritated me. However, I found myself simply thinking “Who am I to judge what information should or shouldn’t be included?” So Shoukei Matsumoto, thank you from a very grateful reader for restoring not only calm in my mind and heart but also in my cleaner and tidier house. 


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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This is a short read that gives an insight into a monk's life, however the cleaning tips do not transfer to a modern family life. The suggestion to get up early and start cleaning is great advice if you live in a monastery but if, like me, you have 3 kids, 3 dogs and a husband who works shifts the last thing I want to be doing (having had broken sleep) is to get up at 5 and clean floors! I do appreciate that a tidy environment does make you feel better but for me it's just a pipe dream!!
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An interesting take that I read through and tried to learn from. Did it work? Well, let's just say they won't be covering my flat into a monastery any time soon...
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I’d say it’s very faithful to the source text, reminds me of a self-help book I once read in Japanese. Though some might find the prose style irritating. I gave this book a 3-star rating primarily because translation-wise, it’s rather good. Didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would.
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Interesting book explaining how and why Buddhist monks clean the way they do.
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A good read for those interested in Buddhist philosophy and teachings but it will not change my cleaning practices. Clearly and simply written.
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Although this book is not really practical it is a meditative read. You definitely feel like getting up and doing a bit of tidying after reading it.  The examples are a little too extreme to be usable but the general idea is good.  It is very specific to the Japanese culture but is interesting all the same.
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Shoukei Matsumoto is a Zen Buddhist monk in Japan. In this book, he enlightens us on the Buddhist view on the practice of cleaning. They see cleaning as a way to express respect for the world that surrounds us. 
	Logically the way I clean, and especially the amount of time I spend cleaning is immensely different from the way the Zen Buddhist Monk do at their temple. Yet, simply reading about their ways gives you insight into how you can improve your own. 
	Since Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is one of my favorite books I figured I would like Matsumoto’s book as well. I certainly was correct on that point. There is just something about the way Japanese culture respects the house and its contents that I really admire. One could have all the things he or she desires, as long as you stuff them together in a room, and do not look after them, they will not make you happy. Whereas, properly looking after your possessions by keeping them clean and loved will be much more satisfying. 
	That being said, I am guessing you see why I find this Japanese cleaning philosophy fascinating. Yet, Japanese culture is very different from what my daily life looks like. Therefore some of the aspects of this book might seem not relatable to your own situation at all. Yet, this does not mean that these parts of the book are useless to you or me because it is the thought behind it that makes it interesting. “When you are polishing the floor, you are polishing your heart and your mind.”

 Throughout the book, there were little drawings to illustrate some of the described cleaning practices, and this was an amusing addition to the book. Furthermore, it is an incredibly short book. Perfect for when you are looking for a light read to brighten your mood. 

Three out of five stars for me.
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Shoukei Matsumoto is a Buddhist monk at Komyoji Temple in Tokyo. In this little book, he shares the day to day lifestyle of the monks, and how we can learn and benefit from their insights. There are sections on cleaning in general, specific areas of the home (and garden), and also a section on mind and body.

I think the key message here is to see cleaning and general maintenance not as a burdensome chore but as something of great spiritual significance - a way to cultivate the mind and clean the heart. I’m not sure I’ll ever achieve this (there are always things I’d rather be doing than housework.) But I can certainly appreciate the concept. Who doesn’t feel better when their surroundings are clean, orderly and well tended? I know I do. 

The way of life described by the author is very different from how most of us live. And those of us who do not live in Buddhist monasteries may find some of the advice hard to follow. There are some tips I will definitely try, and others I probably won’t. (Realistically, I’m not going to do my housework wearing Buddhist robes, or sew my own dusters. And, at least on weekdays, I’m not going to do all my cleaning first thing upon waking, not unless I get up in the middle of the night.) But there are some lovely ideas and insights here, about respecting our surroundings and the environment in general, and avoiding waste.

There are many little observations such as: “If your windows are cloudy or dusty, your mind will become cloudy as well”, and “People who don’t respect objects don’t respect people”.

An interesting and valuable little book which provides an intriguing glimpse into the daily life and mindset of a Japanese Buddhist monk and shares some wisdom which we can all benefit from.
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If you want to learn how to live in a cleaner, tidier, less cluttered home and environment, there are plenty of books with tips to help you in that process, but few will approach the topic with the mindset this book offers. All of the necessary tasks to succeed in living mindfully and in a minimalistic way are seen through the lens of spirituality.

Here we are invited to approach cleaning our homes in a sacred, nurturing manner, with slow deliberation, careful attention to detail and an attitude of reverence, while treating daily tasks as acts of humble gratitude for what we have and revealing the best way to take care of our possessions. 

This involves a room by room narrative based on the author's monastic environment and routine, all of which is fascinating and intriguing. Thankfully, most of it is applicable to those of us who live elsewhere, because the advice given is easily transferable to our own unique lifestyle and circumstances.

Simple line drawings and wise observational insights add to the charm of this little book, as does the author's description of his daily life as a monk. Although we might think we have nothing in common with him, we all need to take care of our homes and to live with awareness.

You will learn how to live with less, value what you already have and how to extend its life, making this a timely addition to the self help library. It's also a useful guide to being grateful, attentive and less materialistic in general, while viewing life from a perspective of care and consideration for others and the environment we live in.
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A nice little book with gently words and practices. Made me want to spring clean in the middle of winter. Not sure I'd use all the recommendations as they are not relevant. Easy to read and ponder life in general.
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