I have a little buddy who often participates in my home practice. Sometimes he circles my feet as I make an offering. Sometimes he snuggles at my lap as I chant. And if I sit still long enough, he affectionately headbutts my chin.
He is George.
My wife and I found him in the alley behind our house a few years ago, crying for help from under a car.
He was very thin but did seem to be very human-oriented so we thought he may have ventured too far from his home. He was certainly not used to be outside by himself.
Gently we called to him. When he realized that we meant no harm, he quickly made his way across the ally and into our backyard. After sneaking him by the ever watchful tom cat of the neighborhood, we brought into our back room.
He spent quite a bit of time just wanting to snuggle with us and seemed very grateful for our attention. It was then, while he was looking up at me, that I decided that his name was George. No other name seemed to fit his rather sweet and gentle demeanor.
He just looked like a George.
After spreading the word that we found George, no one came to claim him. Though I felt bad for the owner, I’m glad we could give him a home.
He’s been with us now through two moves and seems to quickly make himself at home wherever he is. He is also quite devoted to his big brother, Bodhi, though I’m sure Bodhi would much rather be left alone.
As I write this post, George has been swirling around my feet, inquiring about pets. When I go to the shrine, he will likely accompany me.
During my time in this tradition, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to practice with teachers, participate in beautiful religious services, and find friendship in a spiritual community. However, there are few experiences that compare to just sitting in candlelight with a purring cat and the countless Buddhas.
Namo Amida Bu