Book Reviews

The Dalai Lama's Cat

David Michie

Inspirational, Fiction


‘Oh! How adorable! I didn’t know you had a cat!’ she exclaimed. I am always surprised how many people make this observation. Why should His Holiness not have a cat? ‘If only she could speak,’ continue... More

Apr 21, 2014 Tiffany.92
I recently finished reading a new book, The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie. This book is narrated from the perspective a feline, which I think was a fun for a fiction story. The whole story is based on Buddhist beliefs and teachings as part of everyday life. The Dalai Lama's cat goes about leaning new things about Buddhism as she interacts with the Dalai Lama and various other household characters.

The cat then ventures out into the village and meets new personalities. At the end of the day the cat reflects on her life, the lives of those around her and relates their actions and light-bulb moments to Buddhist teachings.

Overall this is an easy read feel-good story. I didn't know much about Buddhism besides a general understanding from school lessons. This book is narrated so that you go on finding out about Buddhism as the protagonist of the story goes about her day learning new things and meeting new people.

I thought this book was fun and I would recommend it to someone looking for a fun and enjoyable inspirational story. In my experience inspirational stories are often too emotional and leave you crying at the end of the day. After finishing this book I felt happy and not at all sobby.

You can find out more about this book here and read the first chapter here.

Disclosure: Financial compensation was not received for this post. A sample product was gifted from Hay House Publishing. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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Jan 01, 2013 HayGirl_TracyPetitt
Awhile back I received a copy of “The Dalai Lama’s Cat” by David Michie. I had just finished a few aggressive months of reading so I set the book aside intending to take a short break and then read it during the coming week. The truth is, I haven’t picked up a book since that day and it has now been 3 months. That was true until 3 days ago when I came across the book and began reading it. Once I started reading this book I was not able to put it down, and within the next few hours I was not only done reading the book, but I was also a little more enlightened.

“The Dalai Lama’s Cat” is not a story simply about a cat, it is instead a story told by a cat. Yes, you read that right, this is a story told by a cat from the cat’s perspective and it is done rather impressively. This cat had the honor of being adopted by the Dalai Lama and she shares many stories with us in this book. I was not only amused by some of the cat humor, but I also learned several simple yet important lessons about myself, life and Buddhism. “Perfect Presence” (as the monks in the book say) is the state of mindfulness that I suggest you enter into when you sit down to read this book.

I was only a few pages into the book when I was first struck with one of many simple lessons. Our cat HHC (His Holiness’s Cat) is relaying a story about the Dalai Lama meeting with a guest. The Dalai Lama tells his guest that he has something important in common with the stray kitten in the room; “Your Life is the most important thing in the world to you. Same for this kitten.” The Dalai Lama goes on to explain to the guest that the important difference between humans and animals as that we as humans have the ability to change this and make others more important. It is my opinion that we strive to be more like animals and live in the now, yet we forget that we need to be different than those same animals and put others first.

The stories that HHC tells us throughout the book are entertaining, enlightening and in a special “cat way” they are often very philosophical. The most important thing I learned during these hours of uninterrupted reading was the power of mindfulness. In addition to mindfulness being an ongoing theme, so was forgiveness. I was touched deeply when the Dalai Lama said, “You may regret what you have done but don’t give up. Tomorrow we start again.” It was at this point in the story that I forgot the cat and truly felt as if the Dalai Lama were speaking directly to me.

The book is full of quirky references to celebrities and public figures which leaves the reader trying to guess who they may be. I don’t want reveal too much, but that blonde TV hostess that likes to dance during her talk show… well, you get the idea. As you read this book you will find yourself laughing out loud and you may even find yourself with more of an interest in Buddhism if you don’t already have much knowledge. I was not only entertained by this book, but now I can’t wait to read more by David Michie.

Without a doubt this book receives 2 paws up!

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
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Dec 04, 2012 SmplProdBlog
I have a hard time reading non-fiction. But put the concepts in a novel, and I am right there! The Dalai Lama’s Cat is a book that teaches the concepts of Buddhism through a work of fiction. (And simplicity is a key to Buddhism, hence the connection to Wednesday Simplicity days)

As a religious path, I am not a Buddhist. My husband is, though, so there are a good number of books on the subject laying around the house. And while I am not a Buddhist, I think there is a lot of right thought inside the teachings. I believe that no matter what your religious or spiritual path, you can apply Buddhist teachings to make your life, and other’s lives, better.

But Buddhist books can be tedious, obscure and difficult to absorb. That is where The Dalai Lama’s Cat steps into the void.

The book is told from the perspective of a kitten, rescued from sure death on the streets of New Delhi, who comes to share the living quarters and staff of the Dalai Lama. She learns many lessons, both through her own experience and by listening. These include lessons on:

Appearance vs. reality
Enjoying the present

I breezed through this book, enjoying the story even as I absorbed the teachings. I came away feeling the peace and hope that Buddhism promises.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Even if the teachings of Buddhism do not interest you, the story itself is charming and captivating.
Book Information

Book: The Dalai Lama’s Cat
Author: David Michie
Publisher: Hay House
ISBN-13: 978-1401940584

Hay House provided me with a free copy of the book to enable me to write this review.
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Nov 16, 2012 Friday's Child
Best selling author David Michie has written a delightful tale of a tail. One that was a stray and saved by the Dalai Lama for “we share the same two basic wishes: the wish to enjoy happiness and the wish to avoid suffering.”

Follow HHC (His Holiness’s Cat) on her adventures and learn (along with her) the Buddhist beliefs of love and compassion. This well-written tale is an easy read, flows nicely, and left me wanting more.

Our lives are a fascinating chain of events. Follow the life of HHC and her daily meditations with the Dalai Lama. The story could change your life.

I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience and having read the entire book.
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Nov 14, 2012 somertonsmith
". . . a paradox that the more we focus our thoughts on the well-being of others, the happier we become."

What would it be like to learn about life from the lap of a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate? What would it be like to live with a man who is not only one of the world's greatest spiritual leaders "but also a dab hand with a can opener."

The Dalai Lama's Cat is David Michie's novel account of life with the Dalai Lama from the perspective of a cat.

The Dalai Lama rescues an injured, near-dead Himalayan kitten from the gutters of New Delhi and brings her home to recover. Because of this, the kitten learns her first Buddhist lesson: compassion for all living things.

". . . you become aware that your own true nature is one of boundless love and compassion. It has been there all along, but the Dalai Lama sees it and reflects it back to you . . . this extraordinary revelation often moves people to tears."

The Dalai Lama's compassion allows the kitten to believe that she could, in fact, be The Most Beautiful Creature That Ever Lived. With that foundational confidence, His Holiness's Cat (HHC) settles in to learn at the feet of the master—or from the top of his filing cabinet. By observing the actions of the Dalai Lama and those around him, HHC learns Buddhist practices.

What are the true causes of happiness? What does "wisely selfish" mean? What do you do when you make a mistake?

Richie's book is quaint and entertaining. Its purpose is to teach readers about Buddhism and how to apply it to life. Each chapter involves a different lesson played out in the lives of people who cross paths with HHC. If Buddhism interests you, HHC teaches it in an endearing, easy to understand way: simple wisdom with profound implications.

"Two main true causes of happiness: first, the wish to give happiness to others, which Buddhists define as love, and second, the wish to help free others from dissatisfaction of suffering, which we define as compassion."

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience
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Nov 05, 2012 Kbsinger

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
~Albert Schweitzer

As a lover of cats and a musician, I heartily agree with Albert Schweitzer in this quote/life philosophy and even have it engraved on a plaque hanging in my study. I would add one more crucial item to Schweitzer's list of useful refuge-remedies: books! Every now and then, the perfect book shows up in your life by some mysterious serendipity, at the exact moment you need the comfort, information, inspiration, wisdom, beauty, escapism, or higher vision to heal your inner being. Just as a song can become your "mantra" in lifting you out of sadness, so can a book lift you to higher emotional ground, insight and understanding. The little gem of a book titled "The Dalai Lama's Cat: a novel" by David Michie, was just this sort of soothing-serendipitous-balm-in-a-book for me. It is part allegory, part comedy, part fantasy, part teaching tale, and entirely charming!

The story captures the reader in the opening paragraph by its unconventional viewpoint -- seen through the eyes of a kitten/cat, who is rescued from abuse and almost certain death on the streets of New Delhi by none other than the Dalai Lama to become HHC (His Holiness's Cat). It cleverly interweaves colorful characters and their all too human foibles, simple tenets of Buddhist philosophy, teachings & history, intimate moments of insight, details of daily routines of the Dalai Lama, and some pretty awesome life lessons-- all while telling the story of this privileged feline who shares the inner sanctum (and lap) of the Dalai Lama. As the cat, HHC, also known as Mousie-Tung, Snow Lion, The Most Beautiful Creature That Ever Lived, Rinpoche (Precious), explores her new environment and life (both inner and outer), struggles with lessons such as disengaging from the basic instinct to kill (hence the Mousie-Tung title), to yearning for a "relationship", to overeating, and the causes of suffering, many precepts are introduced in a skillful, entertaining way. The mind is opened through HHC's cat's eye observations of celebrities, heads of state, and important people of all walks of life, whose meetings with the Dalai Lama change them in subtle and life-altering ways. The warmth of the storytelling, and the engaging atmosphere of the setting brings wit and wisdom together with insight and truth to give this book it's appealing and yes, enlightening power. If you are looking for a good read, that is at once amusing and deeply inspiring (in a sneaky cat kind of way), this one will bring a surprising array of gifts and delights. I heartily recommend this cat tale of amazing depth and insight. Pull up a comfy chair, next to a cozy hearth, and let HHC and this sweet book purr its way into your heart!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.

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Oct 31, 2012 roni
The Dalai Lama’s Cat is an outstanding read! I must say, initially I was not compelled to read this book. In fact, it travelled with me to Arizona and to Missouri with only a few pages read. What happened on the long plane ride home was simply not a coincidence. I fidgeted in my seat, Wi-Fi wasn’t offered, my neighbor was drinking heavily, and I couldn’t get situated--until I picked up the book and buried my head in the pages. After a few more pages, I was hooked!

You might NOT be a cat person, it’s okay--don’t let the name of this book deter you, and if you are a cat person--rejoice and turn the pages.

Wow, advise on happiness and living life in a novel that is filled with stories (within the story). Engaging daily situations that teach from the author’s perception of the Dalai Lama’s beliefs, or more specifically Buddhism. The book is also a pure example of learning through stories--so pleasant to have those ‘aha’ moments shown in tale versus telling in a non-fiction instructional guide.

The tale (tail) begins with a kitten that is saved from the slums of New Delhi. A visual any reader can gain from the trailer of the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Am I shallow to say the hints throughout the book about famous people visiting the Dalai Lama kept me guessing and more than interested? Maybe a little, but I found it fascinating. Sharing the Dalai Lama’s teachings within life’s moments as seen through the eyes of the cat (who also learns from each happening!) and always on topics the reader can relate to. Although the work is fiction, I believe, the author, David Michie has an understanding of Buddhism, and does a fabulous job of spinning his tale with relevance toward today’s times. Bravo! Well done.

In the early stages of the book a nun discusses her visit to a prison (this is when I became hooked) and how an inmate had a conversation with her and compared her own living situation with his. Ultimately, the inmate informed the nun, ‘if it all gets too hard’ she could live with them. The nun was astonished that the inmate viewed the conditions in the nunnery harsher than his conditions in jail. And the Dalai Lama made a simple statement, “It’s not the circumstances of our lives that make us happy or unhappy but the way we see them.” Personally, something I’ve relearned throughout my life, and a topic that hits home with me when I remember my time in the ‘chemo’ circle and the other folks with me.

My own immediate learning experience happened when the plane landed and I wasn’t finished with the book! Had I not messed around for the entire first hour of that flight, and just picked up the book and read it--I would have been done, and satisfied. I can relate to HHC when she was taken to another location during the painting and refurbishing of the Dalai Lama’s house, she behaved poorly. She hid under the blanket and did not step out of the room for a few days. On the day she finally stepped out--she met her ‘cat’ friend, but was whisked away the following day, having no time to spend with her new friend. HHC identified that she robbed herself of the opportunity to spend time with her new friend--all over her ridiculous self-pity. Three days of sulking could have been spent with her new friend instead of wasted time hiding under the duvet.

Do you believe that every living being strives for happiness and wants to avoid all forms of suffering? And the True Cause of happiness is not from any physical external thing? Deep, isn’t it? Well I like the way the Dalai Lama’s cat handles these topics, and you will too.

I’m compelled to share with you what I learned about True Cause, but instead I will leave that as the title of this document and let you read the book, and discover for yourself the true cause of happiness (literally).

Lastly, I’m so enamored with this book because of my own personal experience. The content of these pages ring within my soul. And it’s so simple!

When I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and watched the pieces of my life fall away I gave in to the process. I had no choice. I had to deal with the cancer (and everything else in my life that fell apart), but I did have a choice about my attitude toward the battle--and ultimately isn’t that the only thing you have control of--your own reaction? So I experienced some loss: my career, relationship, homes, finances, career, and for a while--my health. I made up my mind I would beat the cancer, but if for some reason I didn’t make it--the time I had left would be wonderful. And that is how I won my battle.

Now, two years and seven months later--I have no sign of disease. I’m back in the thick of my life (a different life) and I thank you, David Michie, for reminding me of the importance of love and compassion and sharing with the world the simplicity of Buddhism and the fact that happiness is right here… as my Grandma would say, “Under your nose.”

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Oct 30, 2012 ginadrellack
This is such a feel-good story! If you are not a cat person, you will get a kick out of the subtle fun poked at the cat's perspective. If you are a cat person, you will still enjoy that, as well as the respect and honor given the species through this story. Either way, you will appreciate the insight gained as a reader through the eyes of the kitty that lives with the Dalai Lama.

Okay, I knew I was in for a story in which HHC (His Holiness' Cat) would actually attempt to teach me about myself through her own cat experiences. It's pretty obvious that this is a book about self-help and personal awareness in the shape of lessons learned by a character so removed from myself that it's safe to actually look. The amazing thing is how well it is written--I knew this was the premise, and yet I continually forgot. The story is so engaging, so entertaining, and so enveloping that as a reader I willingly became involved and loved it.

Yes, it is an allegory for me. (And as in the song from The Sound of Music: "And you. And you. And you and you and you....") Yes, you know it's coming. Yes, you forget it's a lesson in your delight of the story. And yes, you appreciate the lesson anyway--quite possibly because of the beautiful way it is offered.

Keep this book on hand, and read it when you are ready for something less heady and cumbersome. Although it could be heavy, it actually is the opposite. A quick read with a good flow, it is uplifting, encouraging, humorous, and Truth.

The FTC would be super happy to see that I let people know I received a copy of this book from Hay House simply in exchange for my honest opinion of it. I highly recommend this book!
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Oct 29, 2012 aimeeroo
This book can best be described as charming, fun to read, and even a bit enlightening! Told through the perceptive of one very lucky cat, we get a glimpse on what it might be like to live inside the home of the Dali Lama.

‘Oh! How adorable! I didn’t know you had a cat!’ she exclaimed. I am always surprised how many people make this observation. Why should His Holiness not have a cat? ‘If only she could speak,’ continued the actress. ‘I’m sure she’d have such wisdom to share.’ And so the seed was planted . . .

I began to think that perhaps the time had come for me to write a book of my own—a book that would convey some of the wisdom I’ve learned sitting not at the feet of the Dalai Lama but even closer, on his lap. A book that would tell my own tale … how I was rescued from a fate too grisly to contemplate to become the constant companion of a man who is not only one of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate but also a dab hand with a can opener.”

A fun and easy read, it will draw you in with it’s warmth and humor. I loved the lessons that each chapter taught, subtly yes, but there none the less.

From her rescue story to her meetings with dignitaries, this little kitty know how to tell a tale! I found myself wishing it were all true, as I was falling more in love with this sweet cat. Within her story are many founding principles of Buddhism, told in such a way that anyone could easily relate to them. It’s the type of story where you can glean wisdom and be entertained at the same time. It is also a story I am sure to enjoy reading again.

Thank you to Hay House for providing me with a copy free in exchange for my reviewing it.
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