Can we make our daily activities as a meditation practise ?

I'm not asking about being aware on what we are doing. When we do samatha meditation, we focused on the breath only. I'm asking, When we do day to day activities, focusing only what we supposed to do.

This practise will give good materialstic achivements for sure. But, is this help to be enilightened ? Did Lord Buddha advice us to do something like this ?

I lost interest to do day to day things. Because, the results gives from those are impermanant, useless in the long run (samsara). I'm looking for a way that help me to maintain the life while help me to be enlightened.

Edit: We all have a certain level of focus when we do something. Is building a intense focus on something (materialstic things) a good practise ? Will it help me learn dhamma ?

1 Answer 1


For day to day activities the ideal is:

SN35.95:10.1: “In that case, when it comes to things that are to be seen, heard, thought, and known: in the seen will be merely the seen; in the heard will be merely the heard; in the thought will be merely the thought; in the known will be merely the known.

But this is also quite difficult, since day to day activities bring experiences that capture, repel or deceive us. For example, watching a favorite TV show while ignoring the baby's diaper is foolish.

The Buddha therefore qualifies his advice with a very tough prerequisite:

SN35.95:5.1: “Do you have any desire or greed or affection for sounds known by the ear … smells known by the nose … tastes known by the tongue … touches known by the body … thoughts known by the mind that you haven’t known, you’ve never known before, you don’t know, and you don’t think would be known?”

Meditation firmly grounds our practice in the prerequisites. It provides a basis for the restraint needed to go about our day to day activities unentangled. Not only do we have to disentangle ourselves from what is desirable, but we also have to disentangle ourselves from what is repulsive. We have to clean the dishes, scrub the toilet, and more. Chores are endless and impermanent. Yet they are also important. Fortunately, because others shun such activities, one can earn a living doing the necessary things which others avoid. Indeed one can maintain one's life with Right Livelihood doing necessary things which others avoid.

Such a practice of day to day activities requires a measure of equanimity. And with equanimity, we might answer the Buddha's question:

SN35.95:9.2: “No, sir.”

And having asserted this to the Buddha, we might then also say this about our day to day activities:

SN35.95:25.1: Even as you see a sight and get familiar with how it feels you wear away, you don’t heap up: that’s how to live mindfully. Eroding suffering like this, you’re said to be in the presence of extinguishment.

To which the Buddha answered long ago:

SN35.95:36.2: “Good, good, Māluṅkyaputta!

Regarding focus of meditation, notice that the Buddha says "you don't heap up". The Buddha also says "wear away". Heaping strain upon strain grasping at intense focus is therefore unskillful. It is more skillful to ease and wear away the strain so that clarity and insight emerge in our meditation. Materialism can be confused with focus. However, we can wear away that attachment by practicing contentment whether the cushion is coarse or fine. For support in this day to day practice, good spiritual friends will become important.

  • focusing only what we do like focusing on breath when we do samath meditation , is this a good practise ? , (If we wonder while doing something , directing thoughts to that thing). We all have a certain level of focus when we do something. Is building a intense focus on something (materialstic things) a good practise ? Will it help me learn dhamma ?
    – Dum
    Mar 21, 2020 at 14:00
  • Thanks for the feedback. I've added clarification on materialistic intensity of focus.
    – OyaMist
    Mar 21, 2020 at 16:12

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