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A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  2,666 ratings  ·  370 reviews
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
Paperback, 130 pages
Published January 4th 2018 by Penguin (first published December 15th 2011)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  2,666 ratings  ·  370 reviews

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Sean Barrs
Confession time: 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
Sam Quixote
Oct 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: reading about different views on cleaning and being clean
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
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
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
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondō at the start of 2016 and, when I read about A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind, I thought it might offer similar nuggets which I could incorporate into my routines.

Shoukei Matsumoto, 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
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: june-2020
I expected this book to change my life but it was literally how to clean a house and some really silly stuff I don't think anyone can implement. ...more
Tess Wheeler
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Alia Makki
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The main difference between authentic self-help books and patchworked ones is in the authors. Authors who don’t practice what they preach speak empty words. They leave no marks on their audience’s memories. The example of books written by false teachers are plenty. They fluff up the market, but nobody remembers the titles or authors.

Authors who practice what they preach, their words stick. Words that stick result in follow-up actions, in retention of information, in happier environments.

Olga Miret
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018, japan
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.
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
Bert Verheyden
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Eye opening book about the fundamental tasks of cleaning. Not only will you be cleaning your house more often, you will be cleaning your mind and heart as well. This book will give a new definition to "chores".

Although it seems as if you won't have any time doing only a fraction of the rituals, selecting those you deem useful and translating them towards your own flow, will prove liberating in the long run.
Angharad Dalton
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Those who don’t need to read this book will, while those who do need to won’t 😑

That’s the most Zen thing I’ve ever written so I think the book has had an effect...
Kate Singh
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the spiritual mind connection to cleanliness and being organized. Loved how he connected gratitude and a pure heart with washing away the dust and dirt. Not the most detailed or helpful in "how" to clean and organize...but he is a monk in a simple monastery, after all, right? I mean, what does he really have to organize. ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction, library
After reading and loving The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, when I saw this on my library shelf, I quickly picked it up. This is a book that doesn't have anything particularly new in terms of advice but reading it in the spring air was very refreshing and it inspired me to spring clean. While I would never lead a monk's lifestyle, I found some inspiring and useful bits of advice in this book and it was put in a way that wasn't the slightest bit patronising.

Part of the book I didn't find useful
Debbie Young
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
An intriguing little book, which I suspect I found more enjoyable because of the line drawings that reminded me of a Herge Tintin illustration, (and because it was short, easy and quick to read).

It's an odd combination of common sense and often very obvious suggestions to keep your home clean and tidy plus suggestions that I suspect work as well outside the Buddhist monk author's community, e.g. adopting a particular pose each time you enter the bathroom, and leaving dried green tea leaf dregs i
Alyce Hunt
A dinky little book which offers an insight into the daily life of a monastery and the monks who inhabit it. The cleaning advice offered is pretty much common sense - make sure you involve your family, don't do gardening when it's raining, tidy things away at night before you go to bed and don't leave things unfinished - while some of the tips aren't going to be applicable to the majority of households, but it's interesting to view a snapshot of a vastly different lifestyle. ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I really enjoyed this book. It is very simple and easy to read. I found the details of a monks life interesting. I also like the connection of cleaning - to the state of the mind.
Bogi Takács
Personally I found this little book more informative about Japanese Buddhist monks' day-to-day life and the attitudes they have toward cleaning, repairs, etc. than as a guide to keeping your house clean. I enjoyed it and thought the illustrations (by Kikue Tamura) really added to it, I'm not sure why the illustrator isn't credited on the book's Goodreads page.
Source of the book: Lawrence Public Library
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tiny book packed with wisdom even for Westerners. I loved it!
Julie Bestry
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a charming little book whose value will depend on the person reading it. If, like some reviewers, you take the perspective that anything that is not written and customized for you, and immediately practical in your own life, and reflective of your own spiritual or religious or social values, and you denigrate anything of that sort, well, this book isn't for you.

The book is not an instruction manual for how to clean a two-story American house. The idea that getting up and cleaning early i
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
The Monk's guide to a clean house and mind helps in throwing light into the ways of the Buddhist monks. The mantra that cleaning is not a superficial act but an inner one of constantly keeping laziness at bay is a good one.

It helped in developing my vocabulary of Japanese household items.
If you are a Monica I would definitely recommend you this book, even if you are not, it wont hurt you to flip through this book.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really was hoping for something deep and philosophical, but apart from a couple of ideas, I got sparse instructions on how to clean my altar, how to wash my butt, and how to re-paper my Shoji paper door.
Andy Luke
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
There's a lot to like about this: a fine print, good illustrations, pocket-sized, full of great domestic tips. However, it's all couched in Buddhist-clique negative language. Everywhere are offensive exaggerations, ridiculous generalisations and contradictions. Its written for the priveleged and anyone who does not have a full-time job, unless you work as a cleaner. This book has a lot of condescension and arrogance. Undoubtedly monk-authentic but in an elite fashionista way. There's also a ridi ...more
Slawka Scarso
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I agrre with Matsumoto when he says a clean house will lead to a clean mind and heart, and living in a messy and dirty place will affect our spirits. I mean, I look at the mess on my desk and it hardly makes me happy. However, I wish it had been more practical, I wish there was some kind of advise that could easily be adapted to the reader's lifestyle. After all, it is quite clear Buddhist monks will never read this book, it's meant for people who have nothing to do with temples, who lead normal ...more
Sharon Heow
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good book that cultivates one's soul and mind. Cleaning is not just a boring chores or getting rid of dust but learn to appreciate and value things around you. A fresh and clean environment do related to fresh and clean mind of a soul. ...more
Quinten Sprenkels
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book made me more mindful about my room and is a book a recommend to anyone who wants to make a change to their habits of keeping their homes tidy.
Irina Söderholm
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book offered me some inspiration but it's not very optimal guide for us westerns, I think. ...more
Oct 27, 2018 marked it as to-read
Had to laugh at myself for spilling red wine on the table (and on this library book) while reading it. Even though I will never meet the cleanliness of monks, I aspire to have a cleaner house.
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Goodreads Librari...: Add translator & illustrator 2 9 May 05, 2020 03:29AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Typo in description 2 11 Mar 09, 2019 11:46PM  

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