I have done some talks about Samu in the past, all vanished. One that survives is that one that I did for the Zazenkai and talks about the attitude of Samu ...
http://www.treeleaf.org/library/zazenka ... php?page=5
I will try to do another one in the next day or so (cause I just happen to have lots of work in the garden that has to be done around here)!! :?
Samu is vital to Practice. In fact, Samu --IS-- "working Zazen"!
No, the monks were assigned their different work assignments (very little in a monastery is a matter of free choice for a young trainee monk), and usually rotated through all the work in the monastery.
I believe it is important that the work you pick for daily Samu should be something you mentally resist a little. If you are engaged in Samu around your house, yet hate washing the dishes or washing the bathroom in your house, that is excellent samu ... because a large part of our practice is, of course, learning to drop resistance and drop "likes" and "dislikes", and just to be present with how things are. Samu does not have to be something outside of our normal life though, and if you are busy with a job in the office or taking care of home, well, just pick something in those places that you mentally resist. Samu should perhaps last an half hour or hour at least, so for overworked people, you can select things within your existing duties at home and work. Excellent Samu! And if you can volunteer, it is good to pick something with a bit of resistance too.