Everyone calls her HHC (His Holiness’s Cat) except for the Dalai Lama. To him, she’s his beautiful little Snow Lion, a Himalayan, of course. David Michie was kind of enough to help her tell her story about the journey she’s taken, a story that begins in New Delhi where two street urchins find a hidden family of kittens and steal them:
“Snatching us from the cozy nest in which our mother had tended us, [they] thrust my siblings and me into the terrifying commotion of the street. . . . In the process I was dropped, landing painfully on the pavement.
“For several hours they trudged the streets, shoving us vigorously at the windows of passing cars. I was much too young to be taken from our mother, and my tiny body was unable to cope. Falling fast for the lack of milk and still in pain from my fall, I was barely conscious when the boys sparked the interest of an elderly passerby.
“Gesturing to set us two remaining kittens on the ground, he inspected us closely. When I was prodded from behind, I managed only a single, lurching step forward before collapsing in a mud puddle.”
By chance or perhaps cosmic design, the Dalai Lama was in a car returning from a trip when he spotted the poor kitten whose destiny was death. He took her destiny into his own hands, taking her home with him.
And that’s how a doomed kitten ends up as His Holiness’s Cat. Not until she’s nearly grown does it occur to HHC to write a book that describes her personal path to enlightenment, starting with meditation, which she hasn’t yet mastered because she keeps falling asleep. But she perseveres, learning some of the ways of Buddhism, often as the result of her misadventures. There’s the flea fiasco, a euphoric encounter with catnip, an upsetting hairball, and a definite problem with overweight. How could these have anything to do with the path to enlightenment? It would seem that even the smallest incidents in life have value.
HHC never loses her cat nature, never wears a monk’s robes (cats don’t wear such things), and so Buddhism is shown through her pretty blue eyes and through her experiences and observations, except for when she’s indulging in cooked liver, a favorite. Read the first book, and you’re compelled to read the rest. Without any trouble at all—other than what HHC gets into—the peacefulness of Buddhism slips into your world on silent cat paws. These days we could all use some peace in our lives.