Spring is here! The practice of spring cleaning dates back centuries to cultures from around the world. In some traditions, the purification of a physical house is the external representation of deeper inner work. In Japanese Buddhism, cleaning is a way to cultivate the mind: Shoukei Matsumoto, a Buddhist monk at the Komyoji Temple in Tokyo and bestselling author of A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind, has begun his days with cleaning since entering the Temple in 2003.
To aid your hygiene and health regime, and to launch our Spring Sale, we share Matsumoto’s ‘Soji: Meditation on Zen Cleaning’ from the Ignota Diary 2020, a tool for the practice of everyday life containing rituals, tarot spreads, astrological navigation, moon magic, a holistic health appendix including healing herbs, ayurveda, acupressure and much more.
Until 24 April 2020, 23.59 PST, you can get 30% off every item across our website, including Spells: 21st-Century Occult Poetry, Nisha Ramayya’s acclaimed debut States of the Body Produced by Love, The White Paper, a guide to the magic of technology and our rapidly evolving systems of governance, and Ursula K. Le Guin’s evergreen The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, introduced by Donna Haraway.
A Meditation on Zen Cleaning
By Shoukei Matsumoto
In Japan, cleaning is called ‘Soji’ and valued as a way to cultivate our minds. In fact, Soji is beyond mere cleaning. Buddhist monks in a monastery put more time into practicing Soji than into practicing Zen meditation. Actually, Zen is not only about meditation but about your whole life.
A monk’s day begins with cleaning. We sweep the temple grounds and gardens and polish the temple building. We don’t do this because it’s dirty or messy. We sweep dust to remove our worldly desires. We scrub dirt to free ourselves of attachments.
One important thing Soji practice tells us is that we never complete cleaning. Just as leaves begin to fall right after you sweep, desires begin to accumulate right after you refresh your mind. We continue cleaning the gloom in our hearts, knowing that we will never end it.
How can you change your daily housework into an opportunity to contemplate yourself? I recommend that you have your own ritual when you start cleaning. In my case, I give prayer and chant a short mantra to a little Buddha statue before cleaning. Once you make it your daily routine, it protects you from evils. This is the power of routine.
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