For the benefit of all sentient beings

For the benefit of all sentient beings

Hate doing dishes? Who doesn't? What about cleaning dishes for 120 people? Sounds pretty miserable. However, at Tushita Meditation Center in Dharamsala, India people from all over the world pay to wash dishes as part of the curriculum during meditation retreats.

Man standing in front of meditation center in India

Most of the curriculum is spent studying various aspects of Buddhism and meditating for up to 7 hours a day, all in silence. However, acts like dishwashing and toilet cleaning are considered "karma yoga" and are important for generating positive merit through service.

Paying to wash dishes for hundreds of strangers sounds grim, however there is a sign above the kitchen sink at Tushita that beautifully expresses another way of thinking about it through mindfulness practice:

"Every time you wash anything, think: I am washing away all the stains of the delusions of all sentient beings. Think that the water, detergent, etc. is the complete graduated path to enlightenment and that you are cleaning away all the obscurations from sentient beings' minds."

I am washing away all the stains of the delusions of all sentient beings

Whether you're washing dishes, picking up a piece of trash on the street, or doing any unglamorous chore or task, instead of thinking how does this benefit me, try reframing it that your selfless act is benefiting the lives of others. You'll be amazed by how much this shift in mindset does for your well-being.

At BHANTI, we promote a service oriented mentality through our messaging and how we run our business. That's why we donate a portion of profits to support education and community initiatives from where our garments are made. For more information on how we give back check out Our Mission.


  • Susan Bershad

    Agree with Michael and Donna 100%. For me the rewards of volunteering have far outweighed the time and effort I put in. I began volunteering in an East Harlem pediatric dermatology clinic in 1983 and have never stopped. Our patients are constant sources of education and joy. Because of them, I believe in the resilience of the human spirit despite illness and misfortune. I feel very lucky to have cared for children from dozens of countries around the world and many neighborhoods of NYC. Their potential to triumph over the circumstances they were born into, including poverty and war, never ceases to astonish me!!!

  • Donna Goldfarb

    Volunteering for over 20 years in facilitating a grief support group helps others while also knowing that I am helping myself to stay in the moment and be present for myself and others.

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