One day in the Jesuit house in Rome St lgnatius was sweeping the corridor when a young aspirant who wished to join the Society of Jesus put to him the following question. “Father Ignatius, if you knew that the world would come to an end in fifteen minutes time what would do? Ignatius leant on his broom, looked down his nose at this young man and replied: “I would go on sweeping the corridor”.

There’s a lot to be said for sweeping. Perhaps on a site devoted to Buddhism, it might surprise some that space is given up to this subject, but please suspend judgment for a moment or two, and then perhaps you’ll understand. You see, Buddhism and sweeping have a history. They’re old flames that have been involved with each other for many years. In the two Buddhist traditions this author knows best, Theravada & Zen, sweeping is an established form of practice, as much as vipassana or zazen. It isn’t as glamorous as the latter, and even good old mindful walking is better known in both traditions than sweeping. But, from Zen masters to novice Theravdin monks, sweeping has its place, much appreciated.

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