Tender Hearts
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Indy, The Wonder Cat
- A Cats View

Meeting Lord Buddha

Indy the wonder catA long time ago in Northern India, I had an unusual adventure. I met a prince who didn't live in a palace, didn't have big feasts and didn't have fancy clothes. In fact, when I met him, he was sitting under a tree dressed in rags.
When I saw the prince sitting very still under a tree, I sat down and watched him for a while, but he didn't do anything but sat. When the wind blew, he sat. When it rained, he sat. When the sun beat down on him, he sat. Days went by and although I rarely ever left the area, (I only took a little time off to eat, drink, sleep and occasionally chase my tail — it is fun!!!), I never, ever saw him move.Strange things started to happen
After many days, some really strange things started to happen. Strange sounds started coming out of nowhere. These sounds were so loud I had to cover my ears, but still the prince just sat. The earth moved as if someone had grabbed and shook it, but he just sat. Weird beings that looked like demons and beautiful female humans appeared out of nowhere and seemed to be talking to him or yelling at him. Honestly, although I am a very brave cat, I was getting a little scared. But he just sat. Mounds of gold and jewels appeared and then disappeared. The man just sat. Nothing could make him budge an inch. Then something really weird happened.
A strange, soft, gentle glow seemed to come from him. Still he sat. The glow grew brighter and brighter until it completely covered him. He just sat and sat. The light became brighter than the sun itself and he just sat. What was going on here??!! I didn't move either — even chasing my tail wasn't as interesting as whatever this was.

 Indy meets The BuddhaWhen the glow couldn't get any brighter, a beautiful smile spread across his face. He slowly opened his eyes (which also had a glow in them) and said, "Hello, Indy cat. I am Buddha."
What???????!!!!! I was pretty sure that the entire time I was watching him, nobody had said hello to me and we'd never been properly introduced, so how did he know my name? But... being a polite cat, I said "Hello, Mr. Buddha, pleased to meet you."
"Indy, you can simply call me Buddha, not Mr. Buddha," laughed Buddha. "Of course I know your name. I have awakened from the dream we call life to the deeper truth that we are all one. How can I not know you? We are all God, all one."
Now, two things were bothering me. First, what did he mean, "we are all one, all God?" I Truthfully, I was thinking that this guy had sat in the sun for a bit too long. Secondly, since I knew that I hadn't said anything except hello, how did he know what I was thinking?
Again, he seemed to respond to my thoughts.
"Indy," he chuckled, "I haven't lost my mind, just the part of my ego that kept me separate from God, from everything. You are God, I am God, everything is God. I know this and you know this but you've forgotten your true identity. As to the second thing that is bothering you, your thoughts are as clear to me as your words would be."
Relax, Relax. i will teach youWow!!! This Buddha guy could read my mind. (I had better be careful of my thoughts!) If this guy can really read my mind, which seemed to be true, maybe he wasn't nuts. Perhaps he knows something I don't know.
"Not exactly, Indy," Buddha responded before I could say anything. "Like I said, you've forgotten your true Self, while I have just now awakened to truly knowing my Self. This experience gives me a deep sense of peace and tranquility. I feel God in me and around me. Everywhere I look I see nothing but God. By the way Indy cat, you are right, that is why I seem to be glowing."
It was weird to have him answer a question before I even knew I had thought it. Quickly I said, "Buddha, this sounds like a truly wonderful experience. Is it possible that I, I mean could I...."
With a twinkle in his eyes, Buddha said, "Of course you can have this experience, Indy. All are destined to have it sooner or later. All it takes is right practice, perseverance and patience as well as the grace of God."
Practice, practice what??? I had practiced things like chasing my tail and sneaking up on my brother and sister cats and stuff like that, but I had a feeling he meant something quite different. I quickly asked, "Lord Buddha, what is this practice? Will you teach me? Can I learn it? How long will it take?"
"Indy, Indy," Buddha chuckled, "Relax, relax. I will teach you and you will learn. It is the simplest of things yet the most difficult. It can take a moment or it can take lifetimes. It is all up to God's grace and your practice, perseverance and patience."
I couldn't think of anything that seemed as neat as this!!!! And certainly, I had nothing more important to do — not even chasing my tail or playing with the other cats. So….
"When can I start, Lord?" I asked.
"There is no time like the now," Buddha replied. "Sit here next to me, Indy cat. There are many ways to do this. I will teach you one that is very ancient and very easy to learn. It has been taught since the beginning of time and will be taught by many great ones yet to come. First, sit comfortably. Now gently close your eyes and listen to the sound your breath makes as it goes in and out."
I did as he said and closed my eyes. I started listening to the sound of my breath.
"Now Indy cat," continued Buddha, "Imagine that your breath makes the sound SO on the inhale and HAM on the exhale. Gently allow your attention to rest on the SO HAM. If thoughts come, fine. Don't try and force them away. Gently bring your attention back to SO HAM."
Doing as Buddha suggested (after all I am quite good at following directions when I want to), I began. SO...HAM......SO......HAM...............SO................HAM. My breath started slowing down and a feeling of peace started to fill me. Suddenly, my nose started itching. No matter how I tried to ignore it, I couldn't. All I could think about was my itchy nose. SO HAM... my nose itches...SO HAM.-.my nose itches. It really ITCHED!!!!!!SO HAM CAT TREAT
"Indy," laughed Buddha, "You don't need to struggle so. Scratch your nose. This can be done easily and without effort. Patience, perseverance and practice will win the goal. Do what you need to do, then gently and effortlessly bring your attention back to the SO HAM."
"Wow, that feels better," I thought after scratching that pesky itch. SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM. That warm peaceful feeling came back.
"Allow yourself to go deeper and deeper," suggested Buddha.
"SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM." I felt like I was floating. This was neat!!!! As good as cat treats. Cat treats...hmmmmmm. Suddenly all I could think of was cat treats - how they looked, where they were hidden, and most importantly, how they tasted. Oh, how I wanted one even though I wasn't hungry.
SO HAM CAT TREAT SO HAM CAT TREAT SO HAM CAT TREAT SO HAM CAT TREAT SO HAM CAT TREAT. No matter what I did, I couldn't shake the thought of a cat treat.
Gently Buddha said, "Notice the thoughts and feelings. Don't try and push them away. Allow them to be there but don't hang on to them. Notice them but don't focus on them. Almost effortlessly drift back to the sound of your breath. Do this by just gently leaning into it with your mind.
"Stay with it," encouraged Buddha. I could barely hear him.
SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM a light started shining from somewhere SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM it got brighter and brighter SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM SO HAM and then...nothingness - a velvety darkness that was soooo peaceful, no sound, no thoughts, nothing.
After some time, I slowly opened my eyes. I noticed that everything — the trees, the flowers, the rocks, the bugs, the earth itself— seemed to shimmer and glow. It was all alive and sparkling. Everything appeared to be almost transparent yet unique. Everything seemed to merge and separate, merge and separate as if it were really all one and the same - as if it were the bearing of one heart. There were no words to describe the sensation or the feelings that were arising in me. All I can say is that it felt GREAT!!
All too soon, this experience came to an end and things returned to the way they were before I sat down. Yet somehow everything was different. I knew that everything was one, yet I no longer had the direct perception of it. I was both happy and sad. I still felt wonderful but missed what seemed to be lost.Until next time
"Indy cat," Buddha explained, "In your past lives you have been blessed by being with many wonderful teachers like Krishna, Rama, and King Janaka. In your future lives you will be with many other divine teachers. You and I will have further adventures together in this life. Now as a result of all your past deeds and by the grace of God, you have been granted a taste of the true reality of existence. You have directly experienced oneness; you know now absolutely that we are all God, all are divine."
I thought to ask if I would ever have the experience again, but before I could even get the thought clear in my head I got the answer from within myself— "practice, perseverance and patience will take you to the goal." I knew I would eventually be able to live in that state of oneness once I was ready. I knew that all are destined to experience this, sooner or later.
I smiled at Buddha. Buddha smiled at me. Then with a little fur rub, a couple of pats and a laugh, he turned and started walking away slowly while I sat under the tree.
"Oh Indy, one last thing," Buddha said. With a wave of his hand he tossed something to me. I caught it and....it was a golden, glowing cat treat.
"Thanks Buddha," I said. "I look forward to seeing you soon."
With that, I looked again at the cat treat. Time to become one with it, I thought, as I gently munched it. It was delicious, almost as delicious as my time with Buddha, the Awakened One.

From Sai World, Summer 2003


Volume - 2 Issue - 9 Radiosai Journal - PSN 2004