Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. Throwback Thursday is an awesome opportunity to share old favorites as well as older books in our TBR. I love this idea as I only started blogging about a year and a half ago. Therefore, I have lots of old favorites to talk about. While I may not remember all of the details needed to write a complete review, I’m happy to share the thoughts and impressions that have remained with me long after I finished the book.
My pick of the the week is:
The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie
“‘Oh! How adorable! I didn’t know you had a cat!’ she exclaimed.
I am always surprised how many people make this observation. Why should His Holiness not have a cat?
‘If only she could speak,’ continued the actress. ‘I’m sure she’d have such wisdom to share.’
And so the seed was planted . . .
I began to think that perhaps the time had come for me to write a book of my own—a book that would convey some of the wisdom I’ve learned sitting not at the feet of the Dalai Lama but even closer, on his lap. A book that would tell my own tale . . . how I was rescued from a fate too grisly to contemplate to become the constant companion of a man who is not only one of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate but also a dab hand with a can opener.”
Starving and pitiful, a mud-smeared kitten is rescued from the slums of New Delhi and transported to a life she could have never imagined. In a beautiful sanctuary overlooking the snow-capped Himalayas, she begins her new life as the Dalai Lama’s cat.
Warmhearted, irreverent, and wise, this cat of many names opens a window to the inner sanctum of life in Dharamsala. A tiny spy observing the constant flow of private meetings between His Holiness and everyone from Hollywood celebrities to philanthropists to self-help authors, the Dalai Lama’s cat provides us with insights on how to find happiness and meaning in a busy, materialistic world. Her story will put a smile on the face of anyone who has been blessed by the kneading paws and bountiful purring of a cat.
I decided to write about this book today because it’s something a bit different for me. I’m always posting about historical fiction and mystery/thrillers but this was such a fun book I thought it deserved some props. I read it a couple of years ago for one of my book clubs and liked it enough to pick it for the book club I organize.
The Dalai Lama’s Cat was a quick and highly enjoyable read. It is told in the first person (cat) . The cat has a delightful demeanor which varies depending on the circumstances – everything from slightly haughty and entitled to contemplative and nurturing. As you’d expect, the cat’s unique access to His Holiness provides her with the opportunity to observe the Dalai Lama as he provides guidance to those seeking advice and enlightenment.
This book is great for anyone wanting to learn about Buddhism principles in an easy, entertaining way. The lessons learn can be applied to everyone and it never comes across as being “preachy”.
“… “Becoming a monk is not a true cause of happiness either!” Then, adopting a more serious expression, he continued, “We each need to find out our own personal methods of cultivating happiness, but there are general principles. Two main true causes of happiness: first, the wish to give happiness to others, which Buddhists define as love, and second, the wish to help free others from dissatisfaction or suffering, which we define as compassion.”
On how it felt to suffer the indignity of expelling her first furball:
“Leaping to his feet, Chogyl seized a copy of that day’s newspaper. He used the women’s fashion section to clean up the rug on which I had deposited copious quantities of my own fur. I slunk to the kitchen for a cleansing drink, and by the time I made my way back, there was no sign of the horror that had befallen me in the calm sanctuary of the hallway.
I resumed my place on the filing cabinet, falling into a deep slumber. There’s nothing like a good, long sleep to allow unpleasantness to recede into the past.”
I would also like to share with you, my favorite meditation. It’s called the Loving-Kindness Meditation. Though I admit I don’t practice it nearly as often as I should, I’ve found it really makes me feel great no matter what frame of mind I’m in when I do.