Pare Down Your Belongings

a person holding an egg tray
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The more of the excess you give,
the more of contentment you gain.

In Zen, we have a word for almsgiving: kisha. It means gladly giving something up, without regret. This is how we describe it when you toss coins when visiting a temple or shrine. Why would anyone be glad to give up something as important as money? The reason is that by getting rid of things, we give up some of our attachments. Since attachments are likely to cloud our mind, letting go of attachments has the power to make us feel happy. This also applies to things…

It’s true – it can seem wasteful to cast things aside. But it’s a question of how you go about getting rid of them. If a friend or someone you know might wear it [i.e. the clothing you have not worn in years] or be able to use it, you can give it to them, or donate it to a charitable organisation. Another place to dispose of it is a flea market. Any of these options aligns with the mentality of not letting things go to waste while still holding true to the kisha spirit of almsgiving. Disposing of things that you ought to get rid of will create more space, which will increase the comfort of your home and improve your daily life. Needless to say, this will have a positive effect on both your physical and your mental well-being.

Shunmyo Masuno (Translated By Allison Markin Powell)
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Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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