“Samu is the understanding and the experience of material as spirit. What use is it to live in this world if one doesn’t realize one’s thoughts through material? Work done in this spirit really becomes a panacea for the mind and is at the basis of spiritual power. All the great masters practiced samu diligently, this is why the majority of Zen stories take place in gardens, during building work or in the kitchens of temples”.
- Master Kosen; source
Samu refers to physical work that is done with mindfulness as a simple, practical and spiritual practice.
Samu might include activities such as cleaning, cooking, gardening, or chopping wood. It is a way to bring mindfulness into everyday life as well as to get things done.
Samu is popular in Zen monasteries, particularly as a means of maintaining the monastery and as practicing mindfulness.