Sam Quixote's Reviews > A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind by Shoukei Matsumoto
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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 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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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 28, 2018 – Shelved
October 28, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Greta (new)

Greta I’m wondering what made you read this book anyway, Sam? It doesn’t seem like something you normally would read.


message 2: by Sam (new) - rated it 1 star

Sam Quixote Greta wrote: "I’m wondering what made you read this book anyway, Sam? It doesn’t seem like something you normally would read."

You’re right, it’s not. But I think it's important to read outside my comfort zone, try new subjects, broaden my horizons, etc. It doesn’t always pay off but, hey, that’s how it goes! And I’m into self-improvement anyway and trying to be more spiritual.


message 3: by Greta (new)

Greta Well, you seem fine to me. And there’s nothing spiritual about cleaning a toilet anyway if you ask me! :)


message 4: by Sam (new) - rated it 1 star

Sam Quixote Greta wrote: "Well, you seem fine to me. And there’s nothing spiritual about cleaning a toilet anyway if you ask me! :)"

Thanks! The concept is that the outer reflects the inner so by cleaning your surroundings you’re cleaning your mind. I think there’s something to that – I definitely feel better at seeing an empty sink as opposed to one filled with dirty dishes, pans, cutlery, etc. – but, like I said, an entire book explaining that is a bit much.


message 5: by Greta (new)

Greta True, and a kitchen sink can contain more germs than a toilet if you don’t keep it clean, that’s a known fact. But I don’t feel this has anything to do with being spiritual. I know a couple of people that are almost OCD’d about keeping their house clean and I don’t think they’re exactly spiritual at all! When I visit them (which isn’t often), I don’t really feel at ease.
Like you said in your review, just keep it clean for hygienic reasons!


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