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ZEN FOR CATS by Henry Beard (an ...

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:23pm

by Henry Beard (an excerpt)

Dogaku: The Wisdom of the Tao

The Miao that can be meowed is not the eternal Miao.

The cat that can be named is not the eternal Cat.

The wild cat wandered at the beginning of heaven and earth.

The tame cat is the mother of ten thousand kittens.

Ever outside, one can see what the animals see.

Ever inside, one can see what the humans see.

Tiger and housecat, these two spring from the same source, but differ in nature.

Because they are so unlike each other, they appear to be separate.

Because they are one and the same, the line between them is fuzzy.

Fuzziness within fuzziness,

The cat-door leading to the mystery.


Things are only found by misdirection.

Circling is the motion of pursuit.

Withdrawing is the direction of attack.

Vanishing is the perfection of resistance.


The food bowl is a treasure, but it is the hollow it shapes that makes it useful. i

The wall keeps out the wind, but it is the door cut into it that makes it useful.

The house provides shelter, but it is the empty space within that makes it useful.

What is there would have no utility

If what is not there were lacking.

No sound, the true source of restfulness.

No medicine, the surest sign of health.

No dog, the ideal companion for a cat.


The Master's Cat makes no effort.

If the Master throws a stick, she will not fetch it.

If there is a fire in the Master's house, she does not sound the alarm.

If a burglar enters and seizes his possessions, she refrains from attacking the intruder.

Having no purpose, she cannot fail.

Never failing, she incurs no blame.

Blameless, she is the apple of her Master's eye.


Why did cats become companions for humans?

It is because they had nothing in common:

Nothing to envy,

Nothing to fight over,

Nothing to say.

Since neither of them had any expectations

They were entirely satisfied with each other.

The cat wasn't seeking anything in particular

And would have eaten the mice anyway.

The human wasn't looking for anything special

And the cat fell right in his lap.

Nothing brought them together;

Nothing can keep them apart.


Butsuneko Shingyo: The Teachings of Buddha's Cat

The Four Noble Truths

I Our lives are full of unnecessary suffering.

II There is a way to put an end to unnecessary suffering.

III The way to put an end to unnecessary suffering is to get a human to take care of you.

IV To get a human to take care of you, follow the Eight-Fold Path and observe the Ten Precepts.

The Eight-Fold Path

1. Bathing oneself

2. Looking adorable

3. Purring and showing affection

4. Personifying mystery

5. Catching mice

6. Projecting restfulness

7. Amusing oneself

8. Using the catbox

The Ten Precepts

1. Do not eat any of the pet birds, or fish, or small mammals in your human's house.

2. Do not scratch or bite your human.

3. Do not be overly friendly to your human's guests.

4. Do not steal easily missed meal ingredients from the kitchen counter.

5. Do not take a dump in the middle of the carpet unless the catbox is truly filthy.

6. Do not devour the mouse until it has been shown to your human.

7. Do not come back to the house when first called.

8. Do not fill up on the dried food.

9. Do not reveal your secret hiding place.

10. Do not drink water out of the toilet while your human is watching.

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