The Art Of Simple Living Book Summary By Shunmyo Masuno

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The Art of Simple Living is an informative yet practical book that dives into the spiritual teachings of Zen Buddhism and reveals how to apply them in our daily lives.

Through this book, readers will learn powerful habits and techniques necessary to create a more peaceful and clutter-free life.

Written by renowned Japanese psychologist Shunmyo Masuno, this book serves as a complete how-to guide on simplifying one's life and letting go of material pursuits.

Utilize the tips provided, then notice the difference in how you approach each day with clarity, gratitude, and purposeful intention.

The Art Of Simple Living Book

Book Name: The Art of Simple Living (100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy)

Author(s): Shunmyo Masuno

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 20 Minutes

Categories: Mindfulness & Happiness

Author Bio

When looking for a summary of The Art of Simple Living, it's important to know who the author is.

Shunmyo Masuno is the creator of this insightful book.

He is a celebrated Japanese Zen monk and garden designer as well as the head priest of the Kenko-ji Zen Buddhist temple in Tokyo.

Furthermore, he serves as a professor of Environmental Design at Tama Art University in Japan.

With so many qualifications and expertise, Masuno's writing provides meaningful wisdom to those pursuing simplicity in their lives.

His heartfelt advice can guide readers on their journey to live with less but mean more.

Learn How Zen Buddhism Can Help You Find Meaning And Joy In Everyday Life

Everyday Life

The Art of Simple Living proposes that when it comes to happiness and fulfillment, less is more.

As we live in an ever-straightforward world with so much stimuli around us, it can be hard to be our best self.

That’s why The Art of Simple Living provides over 20 of the best everyday practices from Zen Buddhism – for those looking for a simpler and more meaningful way to live.

These teachings encourage you to focus on revamping your attitude and discovering habits and choices that bring a lasting sense of peace into your daily life.

From morning rituals to relationships, you’ll learn how frugality can replace complexity in every aspect of life.

You’ll understand why monks go barefoot, what calligraphy has to do with the soul, and how even mundane activities can bring profound joy.

Rather than pursuing greatness with little thought or reflection – trying to maximize productivity and win big – let The Art of Simple Living show you the power of presence in life.

Acknowledge that often times, the less we focus on material objects and accomplishments – the more happy we can truly be.

Transforming Your Attitudes Is The Key To Getting Along With People

The Art of Simple Living features the key idea that transforming your own attitudes is essential for getting along with people.

It’s often easy to focus on someone’s negative traits, but instead, we should appreciate his positive qualities and learn how our qualities complement theirs.

We must also take the time to get to know them, beyond just a cursory observation of social networks and fleeting encounters.

Zen Buddhism suggests that every social encounter, no matter how small, is an opportunity to build meaningful connections – as such we should try to keep our interactions as deep and enjoyable as possible.

Even if a relationship doesn’t work out in the end, if we do this then it will still be a valuable experience.

Ultimately, learning how to interact better with people starts with looking inward and trying to improve ourselves – when you become more confident in yourself this will manifest itself outwardly in your relationships, forming stronger bonds between all involved.

The Key To Simplicity And Contentment: Embrace The Buddhist Concept Of ‘Chisoku’ And Treasure What You Already Have

The message of the Art of Simple Living is clear: Treasure what you already have!

We live in a culture that encourages us to buy , buy, buy and spend as much money as possible.

Greed becomes an addictive poison, and we are never satisfied for long – instead always desiring more and more.

But living simply and free doesn’t mean toiling away with possessions we don’t need or enjoy; it’s about recognizing the fullness we already possess within us.

To begin this journey, practice the Buddhist teaching of chisoku – “be satisfied.” Chisoku is an antidote to greed’s poison because it allows us to feel fulfilled without needing more than the bare essentials for our basic needs.

Therefore, next time you find yourself wanting something that isn’t necessary, ask yourself instead “Do I really need this?” Remembering to treasure what you already have brings a new calmness into your life and often opens up innovative opportunities to make use of existing resources instead of running out every time something comes up.

So seek out a life which centers around valuing what you already have-a life rich in contentment and mindfulness– rather than one focused on comparing ourselves or being obsessed with acquiring things.

Changing The Way You Eat, Drink And Dress Can Give You More Energy

More Energy

In The Art of Simple Living, one key takeaway is that what we wear and eat can affect our energy levels.

To start with something small, try taking off your socks and shoes.

Monks do this everyday in order to strengthen the body and ward off colds, so there must be something to it!

If you don’t feel like going barefoot all the time, slip on a pair of thong sandals instead – the skin between your big toe and second toe is a pressure point for your internal organs, so walking in these sandals will massage what’s important to your health.

Another way to inject more life into your day is to focus more on eating vegetables than animal products.

A diet rich with veggies prompts a tranquil mind and clear skin – this promotes an inner peace which helps with vitality.

Not ready to give up meat yet? Just make vegetables the main event on certain days of the week and work your way up!

Finally, achieving energy doesn’t always mean doing less.

Undertaking tasks slowly or making an effort to source coffee beans yourself can create a feeling of productivity that leads to revitalisation far better than takeaways from cafes or stores.

It might take longer at first but as any monk would tell you: life brings us energize when we work for them.

Simple Changes To Your Morning Routine Bring Calm And Focus To The Rest Of The Day

Many of us are so overly busy that we often forget the power of simple changes to our daily routines like changing our alarm clock.

This is because small modifications to our morning schedule can make all the difference to how we tackle the rest of the day!

Simply waking up 15 minutes earlier each day can provide enough time for us to relax and enjoy a peaceful cup of tea or coffee by an open window, as we take in chirping birds welcoming the sunlight.

Hearing these little birds can make our spirits soar, freeing up both space and heart from being over-busy.

Our physical spaces must also be cleared when beginning any morning ritual.

In Zen Buddhism, monks clean every corner of their temple not just because it’s practical but because they believe it helps enlighten their minds – giving rise to a “clean mind” state otherwise known as enlightenment.

Using this same technique, while not a monk, you can sweep away cobwebs from your nooks and crannies – throwing out items that don’t serve you whilst buffing your floor with a special polish.

One should always pay particular attention to one’s shoe collection because it reflects which step we take next in life.

Lining them up carefully, then gently placing them beside each other is also an effective way of paying more attention to our own footsteps so that we know exactly where we’re headed and stay focused during the course of the day

Taking A Zen Approach To Art Improves Life And Self-Discovery

The Art of Simple Living is more than just a book: it’s a way of life.

Its central message is that art and calligraphy can improve your life in simple yet powerful ways.

Take the example of the fifteenth century Zen monks Ikkyu and Sesshu – their exquisite paintings and calligraphy were not made to be appreciated by others, but rather to connect with their true selves.

By taking this same approach, you can embark on your own journey of self-discovery through art.

You’ll also need far fewer tools than many Western artists use to create artwork; Zen art practitioners often use only one pot of ink for an entire piece, showing that an artist doesn’t need a full color spectrum to effectively communicate their feelings or ideas.

Furthermore, instead of simply looking at artwork, people can incorporate it into their daily lives by hanging calligraphy depicting meaningful sayings in places like the traditional Japanese home alcove, or ‘tokonoma’.

By reflecting on the wisdom encapsulated within these pieces each day, we can benefit from powerful artwork without even having to make our own.

The Key To Joy Is Integrating Nature Into Your Daily Life


Integrating nature into your daily routine is something that has been known to bring joy and relaxation to anyone who takes the time to do it.

Taking short walks, visiting a temple garden, or creating a miniature garden with natural elements can all be beneficial activities.

When we look around us at nature’s cycles, there’s a valuable lesson in how we should live our own lives.

Nature doesn’t stay stuck in one place; it moves forward with change and renewal.

Instead of dwelling on past mistakes or grievances, take note from nature’s constant flux and use that as an inspiration to keep life interesting and new.

You don’t need much space for integrating nature into your daily routine either!

Even something as small as a balcony or window ledge will do the trick; just take a few moments out of any day to imagine majestic mountains or tranquil rivers and recreate that mental image with twigs, soil, and water.

You’ll soon have your very own little corner of serenity that can help you relax whenever you need it!

Seize The Moment And Make The Most Of Your Life

We must never forget that our time and our opportunities are limited.

We may think that there will be plenty of time in the future to pursue personal growth, but like the Zen parable of two plum trees, we must act now if we want to make the most of our lives.

The Buddhist concept of Shoji teaches us to think deeply about both life and death – considering them as two sides of a coin.

It encourages us to plan for our lives as if we only have six months left on Earth and makes us ask ourselves how we would like to spend those moments.

This is one way to ensure we live life with purpose and intention, making sure not to miss a single opportunity along the way.

Finally, Jomyo reminds us that although our lifespans are predetermined at birth, life itself is still a gift rather than something owned by us.

Our lives cannot be measured in length alone; instead their value rests in what we do with it during the precious moments given to us each day.

Wrap Up

The Art of Simple Living is a powerful reminder to live a more minimalist and rewarding life.

The key message in this book is to reject greed and strive towards a simpler existence.

Life can be stress-filled, but it doesn’t have to be that way; it’s important to focus on the present rather than worrying about what’s next.

This means taking extra time with food, including not watching TV while we eat and savoring our meals in quiet contemplation instead.

By making intentional choices about how you live life can make for a happier tomorrow!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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