Better day 31.

“Sweep. The temple that is you.”


Every temple needs a sweeper… the temple that is you is no different. In the Zen tradition, there is always a temple sweeper. To some it may seem a lowly job, yet it is the most important of roles. To be the sweeper of the temple is to clear the path of the mind.

The temple sweeper keeps the leaves at bay, as they fall, preventing the dust from piling up, clearing the Zen garden, and the temple path, as well as the temple itself, ensuring a clear way of passage into the temple for all who enter.

It is said that a Zen monk has only two jobs. Sitting (zazen meditation), and sweeping. That is it. Cleaning is an important daily practice of a Zen monk, one of their most important. When sweeping dust, or raking leaves, it is important that the monk maintains a mind of Zen.

That mind of Zen is the sweeping. Because that is what is happening in that moment, and nothing else.

Not even an abbot is too lowly to sweep. Some of the greatest Zen abbots of all time have swept and raked. Everyone benefits from this action. So too can you.

When you are cleaning your home, washing up, or ironing, try to concentrate your mind only on the action, on the activity, the experience.

Through this practice, you can gain the experience to be able to clear the paths of your mind in the same way, mindfully, in the present moment. Allowing all other matters to fall away.


Today's thought is from the series '31 Ways to Have a Better Day'.