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   Dharma The Cat - Philosophy With Fur
By David Lourie, Ted Blackall &
Dave Heinrich

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Introduction


 This collection of cartoons called "Dharma The Cat – Philosophy With Fur,” which you see here, was conceived by an Australian Buddhist, David Lourie, who wrote the dialogue, and Ted Blackall, the  illustrator.  Both of them live in the suburbs, on the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia.   After a few years, when Ted was unable to continue, an artist named Dave Heinrich stepped in and kept the project alive.

 The philosophy and humour expressed in the cartoons reflects the author’s involvement in Buddhism over several decades. This cartoon collection has been published in monthly magazines in 28 countries, and has been translated into 18 languages. The web site (http://www.DharmaTheCat.com) has won the "10 Best On The Web" Award in the Humour Category, and it is on the BBC Online's list of recommended home-study educational sites, in the curricula of Buddhism, Philosophy and Comparative Religions. 

 The Theme of the cartoon collection is “Havoc and mayhem on the rocky road to nirvana, with a Buddhist cat, a novice monk and a mouse hell-bent on cheese.”

“Dharma The Cat” has three characters. There is a novice monk named Bodhi, who is stumbling earnestly along the Buddha’s Noble Path.  The Cat’s name is Dharma, and he is a wise being who looks down from a great height on those who have taken birth in human form.   And there is Siam, the house Mouse, who is concerned only with cheese.

 The main character’s progress along his rocky path to Nirvana reflects our own delusions and obstacles, and enables us to digest the spiritual message in a compassionate and humorous way -- contrary to portraying the road to enlightenment as a  friendless, unemotional journey.  Practitioners do not have to be so brave, patient, or wise, else they will fail, and they might give up unless they lighten up, so to speak, and have a great sense of humour.

 Some years ago the Zen Cartoon of Tsai Chil Chung from Taiwan challenged readers (particularly western readers) to comprehend the secret and hidden meanings of Zen and eastern philosophy.  Nowadays, “Dharma The Cat,” by David and Ted, provides us with an everyday Western view of  Buddhism.  And through the skilful Vietnamese translation of Nhi Tuong, a renown translator of the Quang Duc Home Page, the work provides us with a comfortable feeling and easy understanding that all is not lost, and that what we are after is already under our noses. It puts us in direct touch with the Buddha’s teachings.  Here and there, the readers will taste a subtle critical teasing humour, funny, mischievous and free flowing ideas from ‘Dharma Cat’.  It’s done with the purpose of encouraging, humorously warning and  advising  the novice Bodhi, and to assist us to be aware and mindful of dissolving our egos, our attachments and our ignorance which we all cling to despite ourselves on our noble path.  We laugh at ourselves, experience a silent smile, and feel slightly uncomfortable when we are exposed in our conceit and bad habits, which is part of the grand achievement of “Dharma the Cat”.

 So with the above conception, I am glad to introduce to all of Quangduc home readers this valuable collection. I wish you all an Ullambana season of cheerful and happiness in the deathless love of our Parents and indeed in the  life they gave us.

 Melbourne, Winter of 2005

Ven. Thich Nguyen Tang


 

Vietnamese Version

 

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Dharma The Cat's book of cartoons.
 



* Episode 1 - "Time"
Dharma outsmarts Bodhi to get an early feed.
* Episode 2 - "The Lesson"
Dharma & Siam run a con game on Bodhi.
* Episode 3 - "Mindfulness"
Bodhi is caught with his head in the clouds.
* Episode 4 - "Tolerance"
Bodhi's tolerance is put to the test.
* Episode 5 - "Guilt"
Bodhi creates his own hell.
* Episode 6 - "Rules"
Bodhi tries to outsmart Dharma (ha!).
* Episode 7 - "Ego"
Bodhi falls into the trap of spiritual pride.
* Episode 8 - "Love Is"
Bodhi declares his love for Dharma.
* Episode 9 - "Control"
Bodhi believes he is controlling Dharma.
* Episode 10 - "Non-Attachment"
Bodhi remains attached despite best intentions.
* Episode 11 - "Catch 22"
Bodhi wants to live in the moment.
Episode 12 "Theoretical Practice"
Bodhi's practice is perfect -- except when
put to the test.

Episode 13 "Skilful Means"
What Bodhi calls 'compassion'
Siam calls 'bribery.'

Episode 14 "Say What?"
Bodhi tries to assert the pre-eminence
of the Human species.

Episode 15 "Food For Thought"
Bodhi proclaims his vegetarianism
Episode 16 "Non-Conflict"
Bodhi wants Dharma to roust the noisy possum
Episode 17 "Speak For Yourself!"
Bodhi believes he is Dharma's "equal."
Episode 18 "Spiritual Growth"
Bodhi believes he has made real progress.
Episode 19 "Opportunity"
Bodhi snatches opportunity from the jaws of defeat.
* Episode 20 "The Big Bang?"
Dharma & Siam cast doubt on Bodhi's scientific theory.
* Episode 21 "It Can't Happen Here"
Bodhi falls prey to spiritual pride
* Episode 22 "Don't Ask"
Bodhi makes the mythical pilgrimage
to the wise old man on the mountain.

* Episode 23 "To Be Or Not To Be?"
Bodhi can't decide whether or not he exists.
* Episode 24 "Dharma Door #83,999"
Bodhi meets a doorway head-on.
* Episode 25 "Is BuddhaNature Furry?"
Bodhi tries too hard.
* Episode 26 "Wisdom"
Bodhi finally asserts himself to Dharma.
* Episode 27 "Non-Judging"
Bodhi somehow misses the point.
* Episode 28 "Manipulating"
Bodhi believes his own little white lie.
* Episode29 "Surrender"
Bodhi and Dharma have a contest of wills --
guess who wins!

* Episode 30 "Depression"
Bodhi confuses compassion with depression.
* Episode 31 "Perserverence"
Bodhi somehow misses the point.
* Episode 32 "The Statue"
Bodhi somehow misses the point again!
* Episode 33 "Democracy"
Bodhi knows what's best for everyone!
* Episode 34 "Labels"
Bodhi complains that other people are just like he is!
* Episode 35 "Cyberspace"
Bodhi thinks cyberspace is "unreal."
* Episode 36 "Voila!"
Bodhi finds the key to enlightenment,
figuratively speaking
* Episode 37 "The Resolution"
Bodhi claims he can't help it.
* Episode 38 "No Exceptions"
Bodhi feels the impact of globalisation.
* Episode 39 "The Fast"
Bodhi aims high.
*Episode 40 "Travelling Light"
Bodhi tries to have his cake and eat it, too!
* Episode 41 "The Pedigree"
Bodhi can't match Dharma's meditation skills.
* Episode 42 "The Middle Way"
Dharma's concept of the Middle Way differs
from Bodhi's understanding of it.
* Episode 43 "Life" Dharma sums it up.
* Episode 44 "Moderation" Bodhi demonstrates the
difference between information and understanding.
* Episode45 "The Mirror" Bodhi, Siam and Dharma
reflect their respective states of mind.
* Episode 46 "The Great Work" Bodhi jumps the gun.
* Episode 47 "Artistry Bodhi paints Dharma.
* Episode 48 "The Path" Bodhi has a rueful mood.
* Episode 49 "The Discourse" Bodhi tries to discard
his bridge before he crosses it.
* Episode 50 "The Blank Page" Bodhi needs inspiration.
* Episode 51 "Vintage Cool" Bodhi reassures himself.
* Episode 52 "Martial Art" Bodhi is too eager for his own good.
* Episode 53 "Pain," Bodhi rationalises his way out of a lesson.
* Episode 54 "The Photograph" Bodhi has trouble following his
own instructions.
* Episode 55 "Illusion" Bodhi does a magic trick on Dharma.
* Episode 56 "Radio Zen" Bodhi finally gets beyond words & concepts.
* Episode 57 "The Flame" Bodhi invents his own method of
extinguishing The Flame Of Desire.
* Episode 58 "Compassion" Bodhi knows that death is inevitable,
but suffering is not
* Episode 59 "Meditating" Bodhi replaces meditating with rationalising.
* Episode 60 "War Logic" The trio finally agree on something.
* Episode 61 "The Patrol" Dharma takes a decisive stand.
* Episode 62 "Ambition" Bodhi gets drawn off the scent.
* Episode 63 "Real Life" Dharma gets a rude awakening from Siam.
* Episode 64 "The Agenda" Bodhi tries to teach Dharma self-restraint.
* Episode 65 "The Gene Factor" Bodhi justifies his chocolate habit.
* Episode 66 "Getting Even" Bodhi reacts to a situation.
* Episode 67 "The Habit" Siam thinks Bodhi is being hypocritical.
* Episode 68 "Ho ho ho!" Three perspectives on the same moment.



 


 



 

Vietnamese Version

"Visit Dharma, Bodhi and Siam at www.DharmaTheCat.com, winner of the 10 Best On The Web Award."

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Created: 01-09-2005
Update: 01-12-2005

 


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