Friday, March 8, 2013

The Dalai Lama’s Cat: Book Review and Giveaway!

By Julia Williams

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live with one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers? Well, wonder no more! In The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a novel by David Michie, a sassy Himalayan gives us a cat’s eye view of life in the inner sanctum of His Holiness’s household. True to feline nature, the curious cat soaks up the teachings that take place when visitors – everyone from Hollywood celebrities and self help gurus to philanthropists and royalty – seek an audience with the Dalai Lama. To be sure, life is never dull when you’re the Dalai Lama’s cat!

The Buddhist wisdom is artfully interwoven with entertaining tales of a cat just being a cat…getting into mischief, making the most of every opportunity, and purring her way into the hearts of all who meet her. One would expect no less of any feline, let alone one who spends every morning curled up with the Dalai Lama while he meditates.

The Dalai Lama’s cat, a.k.a. Mousie-Tung, The Snow Lion of Jokhang, His Holiness’s Cat (HHC), The Bodhicatva, and “The Most Beautiful Creature That Ever Lived,” is so charming, funny, wise and witty that it’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t love her. She even shares her most embarrassing moments for the sake of giving us a good laugh, which is something most dignified felines wouldn’t dream of doing! But the Dalai Lama’s cat is no ordinary feline, and she never lets us forget.

She makes no apologies for eavesdropping on the conversations between the Dalai Lama and his guests, and she puts a uniquely feline spin on the basic Buddhist principles she overhears. Through the Dalai Lama’s cat we learn about concepts such as karma, mindfulness, enlightenment, compassion, and the meaning of life.

The mark of any good novel, at least for me, is that it captures my attention on page one and compels me to keep turning pages despite other distractions and obligations. I read this book in two days because I just couldn’t put it down. And when I finished, I found myself wanting more. You really can’t ask for more from a good book, can you?

Anyone who’s interested in learning more about basic Buddhist principles in an easily accessible format can’t go wrong with The Dalai Lama’s Cat. Besides, the story itself is so enchanting that the little “pearls of wisdom” garnered along the way can be considered a bonus. The best kind of learning takes place when we don’t even realize we’re being “taught,” and that’s the experience I had with this book.

Here are a few of my favorite passages:

“It is not so much the circumstances of our lives that make us happy or unhappy, but the way we see them. Most people think that their only option is to change their circumstances. But these are not the true causes of their unhappiness.”

“Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment deliberately and non-judgmentally.”

“Karma operates not so much as some external credit-and-debit ledger but more as an energy, a charge that grows over time. This is how even small acts of generosity, especially when motivated by the best intention, can become causes for much greater wealth in the future.”

In an interview on the Cat Wisdom 101 blog, the Dalai Lama’s cat said “The meaning of life for humans and cats is the same: to be happy. And the most effective way to achieve happiness, paradoxically, is by focusing on the happiness of others. In my book I reveal a whole tool box of practices to help cultivate happiness. It’s up to each one of us to find the tools to suit us personally, where we are in our personal evolution at this particular moment.”


After writing this review, I reached out to the Dalai Lama’s cat via her Facebook page to let her know how much I loved the book. I also asked whether she might like to sponsor a giveaway so that one lucky CANIDAE RPO reader could win their own copy of this delightful book. Great news!! Ever the kind-hearted kitty, HHC offered not one but TWO copies of her book for a giveaway.

I think The Dalai Lama’s Cat is a book that everyone would enjoy. If you’d like to be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post letting me know why you’d like to win and include your contact info. Winners will be selected on March 15th and notified via the email address provided. Good luck!

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. Big Bad Baby Twinkle sweetly sez: "I wudd like my Meowmie to win dis so she can REED it to ME!! (ok, ok, and to yoo too Fluffalishuss Ceee Ceee......)"

  2. It sounds like a very interesting book! I'd like to enter. Thank you!

  3. Hi, I loved your post and I would like to enter the giveaway contest because you have awaken my interest in this book and I am looking forward to reading it.

  4. We would love to have that book. It sounds really good. It sounds really interesting. Glad we have a chance to have one. Take care.

  5. I would love to enter this giveaway!

  6. My cats would like me to win so I can read it to their bro, Kobe the dog. They think he is in need of Buddhist cat wisdom.

  7. There is something that only a feline species can teach us exactly and that is to live in the moment. My 18 year old kitty, Benny who past away this past summer, help me learn how to meditate many years ago by listening to his purr and heart rate, as he was always as close as close can be next to me. Happiness is truly the moment we know..along with mindfulness- and they are such the species we can learn aplenty from about living in the moment with true unconditional happiness. A chance to read this would be delightful, to further some of the secret kitty knowlege already imparted to me.

    1. oops forgot email: should I be the lucky one.!

  8. I think this sounds like a really fun read! Maybe my cat will absorb some wise lessons if I leave it out after I read it? (I can only hope...)

  9. I would love to win too! It would be thrilling to hear about those first-paw accounts with the wise wise one.

  10. We'd love to win that book! Our mommy can't read most books with animals since they make her eyes leak but this one sounds like something she'd really enjoy! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

    Angel & Isabella

  11. This sounds like fun. I wonder if she's gonna be the next Chosen One. Now that China has taken over Tibet, they might assassinate any successor from that country.

  12. BTW, I'd love to win cos TW worships the Dalai Lama.

  13. I was so excited to see you are offering a giveaway! This book sounds like it belongs in my library for me to love and cherish and I really enjoyed your review.

  14. My husband and I, avid cat lovers, consult the Dalai Lama's "Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom" on a regular basis, and would love the opportunity to seek wisdom from a feline point of view. Perhaps such wisdom would enable us to bond even more closely with our beloved kitties.


  15. Sounds like a great book with a unique twist - love to read "outside the box" books! Please enter me in the giveaway! Thanks!

  16. Mom is so happy she got this book ! ( ebook version )
    And thank you for wonderful reviews and good luck for all enter !

  17. What a wonderful-sounding book. We'd love to read it! :)

  18. The review above just wants me to pick the book up & read it right now.
    I am a big animal lover & am always drawn to stories that are told through animals.
    I particularly like the part in the review about learning the Basic Buddhist principles. I couldn't think of a better way to captivate & teach the reader through the Dalia Lama's cat himself. This sounds like the purrrfect book & I would love to read it. Please enter me for the give away. Thank you :0)

  19. I have wanted to read this book for ages. Please, please, please can I be entered for the giveway....

  20. Great review - I am reading this book right now as a birthday gift. I love it and I too found it easy to read. I am savoring it with a chapter each night rather than rush thru it. Good luck to the winner!

    cats of wildcat woods

  21. This book sounds beautiful !!
    I do admire the Dalai Lama so... His cat must be so wise !!
    Winning a copy would be great !!

  22. That sounds fascinating, thanks for bringing the book to my attention.

    margueritecore [at] gmail [dot] com


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