The Monk and the Cat

by Dr. Pran Rangan

Once, a Buddhist monk lived with his disciples in a monastery. One day, a kitten lost its way and came into the monastery. The monk and disciples began taking its care. So it had become accustomed to the place and, therefore, never left.

Whenever the monk began meditating, the kitten used to come and sit either in his lap or climb on to his head or shoulder, causing a disturbance in his meditation.

So one day the monk told a disciple, "My child, you make sure to tie the kitten to that particular tree before I begin meditation." Over time, it became a routine that the kitten was tied to the tree before the monk began meditating.

After many years, the monk died. After his death, the most suitable disciple of the monastery took his place. He also followed the same routine of tying the kitten to the tree before he began meditating.

The kitten had grown up into a lovely cat, which was pampered by one and all in the monastery. One day, the cat died suddenly. The monk and the disciples were upset because of its death since there was no cat for being tied to the tree before the monk began the mediation.

No one liked the disruption of this routine. So it was decided that a new cat must be brought for the purpose. After some search, a cat was found and the same old routine was restarted.

Over decades, it had become a tradition that the monk would begin meditations only after the cat had been tied to the tree. Many monks came and left the monastery but the tradition continued. Every time the cat died, a new one was brought to continue the tradition though it had no significance other than that it had become a superstitious belief.

In our life too, we also develop such superstitious beliefs which we strive to follow blindly. In fact, such superstitions can become a source of anxiety and stress when we can't follow them for any reason. So, in the first place, we shouldn't let them take hold of our life.

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