Between the Lines
Thank you to Dave Slavik for this book review.
This is the 3rd book of David Michie’s Dalai Lama’s Cat series, yet each book stands on its own as a wonderful read of life from the perspective of HHC (His Holiness’ Cat), his time in the presence of the Dalai Lama, and all the people of his small mountain monastery and town.
The Power of Meow follows the growth of HHC and the Dalai Lama’s other, human students as they learn mindfulness and meditation. Each story is well thought out, believable, and focuses on a teachable moment. Teachings touch on topics as varied as anger at a partner, frustration with a relative, and feelings of low self worth. Each presents Buddhist principles to the reader, and further cements our connection to the story and its characters as they grow, improve, and work their way down their own path to awakening.
This book presents Buddhist wisdom to the reader in subtle ways – it doesn’t force ideas upon you; rather, it whispers them in your ear. If you are willing to listen, there is much to be learned about samsara, mindfulness, meditation, wise speech, and so much more. This book would be enjoyable to read even without the Buddhist perspective because it still gives the reader many valuable tips about navigating the ups and downs of life.
My only complaint with the book is that it was over too quickly. I became absorbed in the story and wanted to rush through it all in one sitting, but found myself purposely slowing down to make the experience last longer—yes, there was definitely some clinging/attachment involved!
For those interested in Buddhist history, I was surprised to find many pages devoted to the evolution of the practice, the history of previous Dalai Lamas, and even some “flashbacks” into previous incarnations that give insights into the goings-on of times gone by.
As a cat servant myself, I found the author’s portrayal of the feline mindset to be hilariously spot-on. As a practitioner of Buddhist principles, I enjoyed the meditation instructions from a cat’s perspective.
Overall, this book (and series) is a perfect introduction for someone looking to explore Buddhism. Meditation tips, mantras, history, and even the psychological why and how of meditation is all touched upon in a manner appropriate for both the experienced and the novice.