Now that so many are preparing for the western tradition of Christmas, it's an old tradition to clean the house, but in the buddhist tradition there is a traditon to clean the the Temple, in a deeper understanding this also means the "Outer, Inner And Secret" cleaning. So cleaning in this way one cleans one's surroundings like house and temple and so on, one cleans the inner sourroundings with cleaning meditations and offerings to the local deities and one cleans ones mind with purification practices. Here is a excerpts of a teaching the 3. Dodrupchen Rinpoche gave on:
The Merits of Cleaning a Temple
Buddha gave a teaching called;
‘The five merits of cleaning.’
Cleaning creates a clear mind for yourself!
First he said it is important to understand that if we are motivated to clean the environment out of attachment and craving, it will never be an expression of true cleanliness. If we clean from the right motivation, on the other hand, we will not just achieve a clean environment, we will also attain mental and emotional lucidity, which is the true practice of cleaning meditation.
Cleaning brings about a clear mind in others.
The second merit is that anyone who comes to the temple will feel some kind of clarity in their own mind, instead of the usual clutter and confusion, because they will feel attuned to the neatness and beauty of the environment.
Cleaning attracts celestial beings.
While the first two merits are easy to understand, the third is somewhat different. It concerns the celestial divinities of the god-realm. Buddhism acknowledges six possible realms of existence – the hell, hungry ghost, human, animal, jealous gods and god realms – the latter of which includes miraculous beings of power and blessing. The Buddha said that despite our not be able to see these beings, they are able to visit us. If the environment is dirty however, they will never grace us with their presence.
Only negative energies, spirits, and demonic forces will come and enjoy our dwellings. Negative attracts negative. It is very important to understand that we are not talking about enlightened Buddhas here, just beings of higher qualities than ourselves.
Cleaning causes beauty.
The fourth merit that the Buddha taught is that if you clean the temple or hermitage or whatever, it will create the type of karma that causes beauty.
If you would like to become beautiful or handsome, you should clean the temples and shrine rooms.
Cleaning causes rebirth in the god realms.
The fifth and final merit that cleaning causes is a higher form of
rebirth. We require more than this kind of merit to become a Buddha or take rebirth in a Pure Land; we require wisdom for that. Ordinary cleaning however, will lead to a level of virtue that is the cause of a rebirth in the heavenly realms of the gods.
Five Benefits of Cleaning.
Dodrupchen Rinpoche includes another five categories that further illustrate the benefits of cleaning a temple as a meditative practice.
The benefits of cleaning in this life and the next
The benefits that cleaning meditation will bring about in this life are happiness, wealth, and health. Dodrupchen provides the example of the Arhat Midugpa (Unattractive) in order to illustrate this point. Midugpa was initially a novice monk who came to stay at Jetavana. He was quite ugly however, and whenever he went out on his alms-round, he was offered very little food by the lay devotees. Some kind of discrimination must have been taking place. Midugpa started cleaning the hermitage at Jetavana, and after a while he found that whenever he cleaned he received good alms offerings.
One day another monk wanted to clean the area that Midugpa cleaned and Midugpa pleaded with him to desist, because he relied upon that area to ensure he received food. The other monks were confused by this response until Midugpa explained the unusual relationship between his cleaning activities and his alms-round.
This focus on cleaning did not just ensure that Midugpa had food to eat, it also contributed to his eventual attainment of Arhathood. The point of this story being that cleaning a temple will also bring about happiness, wealth and health.
Dodrupchen then says that the benefits of temple cleaning for the next life are that it will bring about the kind of rebirth where we experience enjoyment and happiness.
The ultimate benefit of cleaning the temple in this life is that it clears the clouded mind. Dodrupchen quotes another story to illustrate this point, this time of a woman named Saga who had five sons. One day all of Saga’s five sons were killed in an accident. The Buddha instructed his followers not to tell Saga of the fate of her sons. He gave her Dharma teachings instead, and she meditated upon them and became an Arhat. Only then did the Buddha tell her that her sons were dead. As she had now attained Arhathood, this news did not cause her to suffer as it otherwise would have. If she had learned the news before she attained liberation, she would never have been able to realize Arhathood, because her mind would have been too preoccupied with sadness and suffering. Just as Saga did before us, if we can clear our cluttered mind, we will be able to realize the truth.
Cleaning helps us to free the mind from obscurations. O:-)
This is only excerpts of Dodrupchen Rinpoche's teaching!