The Buddha’s thoughts on the benefits of housework

I am back working on the Avadānaśataka and have been smiling at the frame story for number 38. The scene is as follows: Anāthapiṇḍada, we are told, usually sweeps the Jeta Grove, but one day he is distracted and does not show up. So the Buddha himself picks up a broom and sets to work, joined by his senior monks. Following this, he gives his monks a talk about the benefits of cleaning (in my slightly clunky draft translation):

“There are these five benefits, monks, in cleaning. What five? One purifies one’s own mind, one purifies another’s mind, one becomes attractive to the minds of the gods, one accumulates suitable roots of skillful action, and at the break up of the body one arises in a good destiny, a heaven realm, amongst the gods. These are the five benefits of cleaning.”

I have to say I am rather delighted by this teaching. Next time I am scrubbing the sink I will try to turn it into a meditational experience, and perhaps I too will enjoy some of these benefits!

Time to find out what happens next in the story…

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About naomiappleton

I work in the Divinity School at the University of Edinburgh, where I research and teach subjects related to South and Southeast Asian religions.
This entry was posted in Buddhism, Buddhist texts, Religious narrative, Translation. Bookmark the permalink.

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