January tends to be a month of self-improvement. Our plans often include some sort of fitness goal, perhaps a faddy diet, or a new way of organising our lives. In recent years, we’ve looked to the ancient Greeks and Romans for a dose of stoic philosophy, tried some extra-neat folding, courtesy of Ms Marie Kondo, and spent hours memorising the habits of successful people in order to be more efficient, effective and, well, happy. This year, however, it’s Zen monks who can offer us some life-changing wisdom to help us achieve a clear mind. How? Simply by cleaning.
Published earlier this month, A Monk’s Guide To A Clean House And Mind by Mr Shoukei Matsumoto, a Buddhist monk at Komyoji Temple in Kamiyacho, Tokyo, has become a bestseller in Japan, and provides a simple guide to scrubbing your way to enlightenment (with some fashion, grooming and dietary help along the way). Based on the day-to-day tasks in the monastery where he lives, Mr Matsumoto’s book distils ancient Zen teachings into easy adjustments that will help you to clear your house, head and heart and be at peace. Scroll down for a few tips on how you can clean up your act.