Page 20 - The.Miracle.of.Mindfulness
P. 20

Allen smiled as he spoke. I was surprised. 

I knew that Allen hadn't learned this from read- 

ing any books. This was something he had 

discovered for himself in his own daily life.

Washing the dishes to wash the dishes

Thirty years ago, when I was still a novice 

at Tu Hieu Pagoda, washing the dishes was 

hardly a pleasant task. During the Season of 

Retreat when all the monks returned to the 

monastery, two novices had to do all the cooking 

and wash the dishes for sometimes well over 

one hundred monks. There was no soap. We had 

only ashes, rice husks, and coconut husks, and

that was all. Cleaning such a high stack of bowls 

during the winter when 
was a chore, especially 

the water was freezing cold. Then you had to 

heat up a big pot of water before you could do 

any scrubbing. Nowadays one stands in a kitchen 

equipped with liquid soap, special scrubpads, 

and even running hot water which makes it all 

the more agreeable. It is easier to enjoy washing 

the dishes now. Anyone can wash them in a 

hurry, then sit down and enjoy a cup of tea 

afterwards. I can see a machine for washing 

clothes, although I wash my own things out by 

hand, but a dishwashing machine is going just 

a little too far!

While washing the dishes one should only 

be washing the dishes, which means that while 

washing the dishes one should be completely 

aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. 

At first glance, that might seem a little silly:


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