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Sweeping Changes: Discovering the Joy of Zen in Everyday Tasks Hardcover – March 1, 2000
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
This delightful, offbeat book is at once a pragmatic primer on housekeeping and an aesthetic treatise on the mindfulness of Zen practice. Thorp, a lay monk and laid-back Californian who has studied Zen for 40 years, emphasizes the intent surrounding each housekeeping activity, not the end result of cleanliness. Lawns should be mindfully mowed "with every fiber of your being"; dishes should be washed with particular, single-minded care. "Your life and all that's in it are simply on loan to you and are clearly precarious," cautions Thorp, encouraging readers to use certain chores (raking dead leaves, recycling and mending clothes, for example) as occasions to reflect on the transience of life. He also notes that housekeeping can provide opportunities to feel gratitude for the interconnectedness of all things: the water flowing from the river through the treatment plant to the sink sustains life in the home; clean windows allow for greater openness to the outdoors. Thorp brilliantly uses the quotidian nature of oft-despised chores to teach important lessons about perpetual respectfulness and appreciation. This book can serve as an excellent introduction to an accessible, independent Zen practice, or simply as a gentle reminder of the innate spirituality buried in everyday acts. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Writer and research scientist Thorp!s lighthearted book has a curiously familiar feel, as though it must have existed in the collective imagination before he wrote it. Yet it is authentically his own, this series of thoughtful essays on the use of the ordinary tasks of pet care, dish cleaning, and other daily household chores to facilitate a Zen Buddhist approach to life. Thorp!s book is amusing, engaging, truly enlightened, and enlightening. Highly recommended.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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Upon reading the first section of the first chapter, a mere page or two, I knew this book was going to be a treat. It frames for you a single thought or consideration about the world around you. This I found well worth using the rest of the day to ponder.
I deliberately then read only one section each day. Sadly after 39 days of having this book as my daily companion, I have finished reading it.
It was shear joy, as this book illuminates your own life, your common everyday occurances and helps you see how each contributes to the whole. I plan to read this over and over again. This has given me an inside to Zen, that I would not have oridinarily had. With the bibliography in the back of the book I'm encouraged to read more.
Also, as not to miss the point of the name "Sweeping changes" it gives a much more satisfying view on housework. It brings it more into an overall perspective. You are caring for the things that help support you. It is a synergistic relationship.
What impact! What a joy! It echoes my experience, when I first encountered ZEN in the 1960s, by reading books by Alan Watts, and in the 1980s, in practice with others. So, I bought the book -- via Amazon, of course.
It arrived in good time and in very good condition. I read it, savor it, quote from it (but not in this review -- you'll have to buy it for yourself to discover its value).
I like the short chapter format. Easy to begin and stop reading, while waiting for something else to happen.
Hard to forget.
Thorp’s clear voice is a reminder that life is an art form and that attention to ordinary detail is the key to artful living. Inspired by reading the book I was in the kitchen preparing lunch and noticing details. I became aware of the particular “dance” I do as I take food and utensils from refrigerator and drawers, as I wipe off cabinet tops, cut up food, turn on faucets. It was amazing to me, and so much more pleasurable than my usual rush to simply “get it done.”
As Thorp says, “There is no way to arrive at ‘finished.’ There is no road leading to ‘perfect.’” He helps us to reclaim our five senses plus our sense of humor as he moves through the various rooms in the house, shining the light of awareness on one object and another, teaching us to become intimate with our home. Nothing is more important, he says, than to “nurture a respect for your own life and reverence for all the little things that keep it going.” This is a book I want to reread regularly.