Friday, February 10, 2006
Of monks and their cats
What is it about monks and cats? As I’ve already mentioned, my esteemed namesake Pangur Ban, hero of the Gaelic poem, kept a monk as his catted one. Birman cats, it is said, originated in a Buddhist temple.
Still intrigued by Haruki Murakami’s magical cats, I began hunting around for more felines in Buddhist tradition. Before long, I sniffed out Dharma the Cat, a comic strip about a wise cat whose job it is to lead a novice monk, Bodhi, on the path to enlightenment. Dharma is there--along with the wily mouse Siam--to teach Bodhi by example. In Episode 1, “Time,” Dharma demands to be fed early, and Bodhi learns that “time is an illusion.”
One helpful feature of Dharma's web site is that each cartoon comes with extensive commentaries from practitioners of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Wicca--among others. Just about the only religion that isn't represented is my own: catymology, which I have defined as a philosophy or cult whose followers invoke the principles of catymology in order to claim the deity of individual, or in some cases all, cats. Verb: catymologize. To convert to catymology. “In his efforts to achieve cult status, Aloysius catymologized over five hundred humans.”
Catymology does have much in common with Buddhism: felines are naturally adept at living in the moment. That makes us perfect, in my humble opinion.
(Dharma the Cat image used by permission.)
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1 Old Comments:
Very pretty kitty! And, thanks for pointing me to Dharma the cat. Fun!