Cats In Buddhism And A Legend

Cats in Buddhism and a legend

In Buddhism, cats represent spirituality. They are enlightened beings who convey calm and harmony. That is why it is often said that whoever cannot connect with himself can never come into true contact with a cat and cannot understand its secrets. 

In fact, it won’t surprise anyone that cats play a role in Buddhism. A legend is told in Thailand that over the years cats have become representatives of peace in many Asian temples.

It is often said that dogs are man’s most loyal friends. That is certainly true. Nevertheless, anyone who knows the character of cats knows that the relationship with them is at least as intimate as that with the dog. This is one of the reasons why monks like the master Hsing Yun speak of the healing power of these animals.

We invite you to learn more about cats in Buddhism.

Cat sleeps in the Buddha's arm

A Buddhist legend about cats

First of all, it is important to clarify a few aspects. In contrast to Christianity, Buddhism is not organized in a vertical hierarchy. Religious authorities refer to sacred texts, but at the same time there is great flexibility with regard to a wide variety of topics.

The legend we are introducing to you here has its roots in a particular school of Buddhism, namely Theravada Buddhism or Buddhism of the School of Elders. The Book of Cat Poems , also known as Tamra Maew , originated in Theravada Buddhism in Thailand . To this day, the original is kept in the National Library in Bangkok as a valuable cultural heritage.

In these ancient papers there is an enchanting story in which a person dies who has previously reached the highest spiritual level. Your soul connects to a cat’s body. Her life then only corresponded to the life expectancy of a cat and seemed very short to her. However, the soul on the verge of death knew that it would move to an enlightened level.

The Thai people developed some curious practices in line with this belief …

Cats in Buddhism

When a family member died, their body was locked in a tomb with a live cat. This crypt had an opening through which the cat could get outside. When this happened, it was assumed that the soul of the loved one was now in the body of the noble cat. In this way the soul achieved liberation and the path of calm and spirituality on which to prepare for the time after physical death.

Cats and spirituality

It is said that cats are like little monks meditating, able to bring harmony to one place. For example, for the Buddhist Order of Fo Guang Shan, cats are like people who have attained enlightenment.

  • Cats are free creatures that drink when they are thirsty, eat when they are hungry, and sleep when they are tired. You do exactly what needs to be done without feeling the need to please anyone else.
  • You don’t get lulled by the ego.  Another aspect of interest to Buddhists is that cats learned to understand humans a long time ago. Humans, on the other hand, have not yet been able to understand cats.
  • You are independent but loyal and loving. Her expressions of love are intimate and subtle, yet surprisingly profound. Only people who are able to immerse themselves in their inner being, with respect and devotion, will be able to enjoy their unshakable love. Cats will never find anything in moody people who may even scream. 

Cat sits next to bowl of fruit by the window

In summary it can be said that it is not necessary to read the ancient Buddhist texts to understand that cats are special. That their looks invite you into introspective universes, their fascinating postures inspire you to practice yoga, that they are prime examples of elegance and balance.

Man loves cats, he even adores them. The fact that cats behave like authentic deities may also be due to their past and we humans admit this with pride.

We have all experienced unforgettable moments full of magic and authenticity through our very own stories with cats. These surely also served as inspiration for the weaving of the Buddhist legend, which was finally captured with ink, paper and mysticism.

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.”

Sigmund Freud

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