The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Power of Meow by David Michie is a delightful novel that tells the story of a cat’s forays into meditation. Though fictional, the book contains some excellent snippets of well essentialised Buddhist wisdom, just enough to make this book more than just a story but not enough to make it didactic.
His Holiness’s Cat (HHC) has a charming voice and a delightful perspective on the world. She lives with the Dalia Lama and wanders around the nearby area, visiting friends at a nearby café. She listens in to the humans’ conversations and shares her insights into their lives with the reader, and through this we get to know the human characters around her.
Though a cat, HHC has the same kind of challenges as most people when they start to meditate—mental fleas—and some of the other characters have the same issues which the Dalai Lamas addresses in his wise but simple manner. HHC and the other characters on the same path learn the benefits of even a small amount of meditation each day, and HHC even gains some insight into her past lives.
It’s a simple story, not one of great drama, but it has some amusing moments and a lovely easy quality to it. The book will be a real winner for anyone who loves cats and is interested in Buddhism, be they someone with a passing interest or a long time practitioner like myself. Highly recommended.
People who enjoy the Dalia Lama’s Cat series would also enjoy Prunella Smith: Worlds Within Worlds and the Tenzin Norbu mystery series.