Zazen with cats

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  • Juki
    Member
    • Dec 2012
    • 771

    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?
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39419

    #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 ...



    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 ...

    Last edited by Jundo; 03-14-2013, 04:30 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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    • Nenka
      Member
      • Aug 2010
      • 1238

      #3
      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

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      • Mp

        #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

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        • Dosho
          Member
          • Jun 2008
          • 5784

          #5
          My cat Dewey literally knocks my mudra apart by constantly butting his head against my hands!

          It's all good practice though.

          Gassho,
          Dosho

          Comment

          • MyoHo
            Member
            • Feb 2013
            • 632

            #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
            Mu

            Comment

            • Kyonin
              Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
              • Oct 2010
              • 6742

              #7
              Originally posted by Shingen
              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
              Hondō Kyōnin
              奔道 協忍

              Comment

              • Kyonin
                Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
                • Oct 2010
                • 6742

                #8
                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
                Hondō Kyōnin
                奔道 協忍

                Comment

                • Jakugan
                  Member
                  • Jan 2013
                  • 303

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Kyonin
                  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

                  Comment

                  • Kiki
                    Member
                    • Jan 2013
                    • 104

                    #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

                    Comment

                    • Kiki
                      Member
                      • Jan 2013
                      • 104

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

                      Gassho
                      Kia

                      Comment

                      • Mp

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Kyonin
                        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

                        Comment

                        • ZenHarmony
                          Member
                          • Feb 2012
                          • 315

                          #13
                          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

                          Comment

                          • Juki
                            Member
                            • Dec 2012
                            • 771

                            #14
                            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
                            "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

                            Comment

                            • Genshin
                              Member
                              • Jan 2013
                              • 467

                              #15
                              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

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