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Thread: Zazen with cats

  1. #1
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    Zazen with cats

    I am lucky enough to get to care for three cats, two boys and a girl. I love them very much. When I am home, all three of them want to be around me all the time, which is a nice feeling to experience. But, they also want to be with me when I sit Zazen. The little girl generally crawls under the altar table and sleeps. One of the two boys sits with me on his own Zafu (there is even a picture of him doing his version of Zazen on my profile page). But, the other boy has a bad case of monkey mind. He wants to play or be petted, or to make a nuisance of himself in the sitting room. If I shut the door, he stand on his hind legs in the hallway and beats on the door with his front paws, drum solo style, until I let him back in the room.

    usually, I spend 15 to 20 minutes giving him attention until he falls asleep and let's me sit. But, sometimes he is relentless and I have to release the mudra and pet him during Zazen, which means it's not really Zazen. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Hi,

    I would let him in, crawl in your lap if he wants. I might not pet him, but neither would I be bothered by him (short of stopping him if he were about to knock over one of the candles.)

    Actually, I am speaking first hand about Master Tinky in our house ... Here's a little purr-a-long we had on the first day of April a couple of years ago ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/w...undo-katz.html

    If you are not caught by the cat, the cat is Buddha. If you are bothered by him, you "cut him (and your self) in two!"

    Gassho, J

    PS - Some of our other Sangha Cats ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...96-Sangha-Cats
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-14-2013 at 05:30 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    I have a cat who likes to claw at my feet to get my attention when I'm on my seiza bench. Then again, I often sit near feeding time.

    Maybe you can determine a time when your cats are more mellow or likely to be sleeping to do zazen. If not, Jundo is right, you can't get too bothered about it. Petting the "monkey mind" cat might even encourage him to bother you because he'll think it's snuggle time every time you get on the cushion.

    I wish I could find it, because it's hilarious, but there's a zazenkai video with Tinky rolling around on the zendo floor trying to get Jundo's attention. Clearly I'm no zen master because I got pretty distracted by it.

    Gassho

    Jen

  4. #4
    My little dog Bodhi likes to curl up at my feet when I do zazen, or someone times stretches on my back ... I just sit, he just curls up or stretches. Great practice!

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    My cat Dewey literally knocks my mudra apart by constantly butting his head against my hands!

    It's all good practice though.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Ordained Priest -In-Training
    Please take what I say with a grain of salt,
    especially in matters of the Dharma!

  6. #6
    Our cat, Buffel tends to join when I'm sitting. This black cat is not the cuddling type and tends to go it’s own way. But when I sit he comes out of the bushes in the garden, comes in quietly and sits on the doorstep of my little sitting house in the garden. Like a guardian. Somehow he has a very strong "presence" I can't really explain. Not that it bothers me, not at all. It's even very nice when I'm done sitting and am in that precious tranquil state, I look at him, he looks back at me the way only a cat could and I wonder if Buffel always is in some kind of samadhi. I call him Master sometimes, but he really doesn't seem to care .


    I ask:
    "Who is looking at you Master? Tell me right now!" and he keeps that stern look.
    "What is dropping off body mind master?" Again silence and that undisturbed look.

    Yeah, I love our cat and he is a Buddha all right! Maybe more than I am?

    Greets

    Enkyo, Peter or potatoe peal

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    My little dog Bodhi likes to curl up at my feet when I do zazen, or someone times stretches on my back ... I just sit, he just curls up or stretches. Great practice!
    I've seen Bodhi a couple of times in Zazenkai! He looks like a nice little fellow. Pat him a couple of times for me!

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Tesla, my cat, loves to sit with me every morning.

    She just lays down next to my feet and warms them. I pat her right before the bell sounds and afterwards.

    She's here in action:



    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Tesla, my cat, loves to sit with me every morning.

    She just lays down next to my feet and warms them. I pat her right before the bell sounds and afterwards.

    She's here in action:



    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hi Kyonin,

    Your cat is super cute!

    Gassho,

    Simon

  10. #10
    Hi William

    I don't have any suggestions to contribute but I wanted to drop in on the convo anyway. I had to give my cat away to my husbands co-worker almost 2 years ago and I miss him terribly. I wish he were here to be part of my zazen, that little bugger. Anyway I do understand how it can be a little distracting so I hope you'll find a solution!

    Gassho
    Kia

  11. #11
    And Kyonin your cat is the cutest thing! What an adorable picture! Gives me warm fuzzies lol.

    Gassho
    Kia

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Tesla, my cat, loves to sit with me every morning.

    She just lays down next to my feet and warms them. I pat her right before the bell sounds and afterwards.

    She's here in action:



    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Wow ... This is too wild. I had a tabby cat just like your Tesla ... But mine wouldn't with me during zazen, but rather when I was sleeping and of course, the zafu of choice was my head.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Wow, all nice cats! Kia, I had to give up my cat as well, but at least I can console myself with the fact that he's with family. When I go to visit, I make a big fuss at him and he doesn't feel so abandoned.

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  14. #14
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    Wow. I am so glad to know that this is a common problem. Thank you all for the advice and wisdom. Last night, I just held my mudra and let Sockie bang his head against me a few times until he lost interest and laid on the floor beside me. And, many thanks to you, Jundo. Until reading your post, I always thought that the cat who sat on his own Zafu was a Buddha. Now I know better.

    Gassho,

    William

  15. #15
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Kyonin that's a lovely photo.

    Our cat shows no interest in either of us sitting, but does have a preference for sleeping on my Zabuton, so it's often nice and warm when I sit.

    Gassho
    Matt

  16. #16
    Two recent additions to our home sangha. Feldman and Houdini (the hide and seeker).DSCN1104 (800x600).jpgDSCN1105 (800x600).jpgDSCN1106 (800x600).jpg

    Gassho
    Jeff

  17. #17
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    Beautiful kitties, Seisou. Beautiful.

  18. #18
    I had to laugh during our Zazenkai today, when our neighbors' cat came into the Zendo during Zazen and I had to make a sound to chase it out ...

    Sometimes we sit with the cat, sometimes we chase the cat out.

    However, never resent the cat.


    This reminds me of us ..




    By the way, lot's of wonderful Zen-Cat cartoons around. Here are a couple more ...

    Dharma the Cat is a great series ...


    https://www.google.com/search?rlz=&q...soCgDw#imgrc=_

    Also ...

    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  19. #19
    LOL this are great Jundo!

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Oh, to be a cat! lol

    Gassho-meow,

    Lisa

  21. #21
    Here is a snap shot of Zazenkai from yesterday. As you can see, Mr. Bodhi is ready for some Zazen.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    bodhi-zazen.jpg
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    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Somebody put this on Facebook yesterday and it reminded me of this thread!

    602194_590605467634375_1180731210_n.jpg

    Gassho

    Jen

  23. #23
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Awwwww, those are cute!

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  24. #24
    Member glow's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone, for posting these marvelous pics of your kitties. I've never seen a cat who was not beautiful. I lost my Autumn 6 mos. ago, and miss her every day. She used to sit with me, also.

    Gassho,

    Kikai

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by ZenHarmony View Post
    Wow, all nice cats! Kia, I had to give up my cat as well, but at least I can console myself with the fact that he's with family. When I go to visit, I make a big fuss at him and he doesn't feel so abandoned.

    Gassho,

    Lisa

    It does make me feel better that he's with a family that loves him. They have 2 other cats that he quickly took to so that was comforting as well. He's across the country so I can't visit him and if I did I'd probably want him back lol. I think of him as my oldest son and drive my husband crazy showing pictures of "his older brother" to my real son.

    Gassho
    Kia

  26. #26
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    This is Billie. She left this visible world a year ago last October but still sits with us.

    billie1.jpg

    gassho
    Last edited by Shokai; 03-17-2013 at 01:21 PM.
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk going nowhere; try somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

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