Chapter 4 In Which Piglet Goes on a Spiritual Quest and Meets Hello Kitty

 

In and out, Piglet purred his "ooohhhhmmm."  He was having trouble concentrating today. He resisted the urge to start grooming the spot where his monk's robe so irritatingly chafed his leg. 

Ridiculous to wear a robe in this heat, he thought, cats can't even sweat, for Buddha's sake.

But not many cats sat in meditation under the holy Bo tree where Buddha received his enlightenment.  The teacher was skeptical of this particular pilgrim, so Piglet thought it best to conceal his catness under human garb.

His mind continued to wander.  The teacher had warned them about this, told them not to try to block their thoughts, but let them flow.  In time, he assured, they would be able to quiet their minds and become open to enlightenment.

I wonder how long Buddha sat here, Piglet thought idly.  Images of catnip and canned cat food floated through his mind.  Cat food, he grumbled to himself, now there's a strictly first-world concept. 

He tried to focus and get his mind off food.  It was hard though; he'd been hungry ever since he arrived in India a month ago.  He recited the stages of the eight fold path under his breath: Right Views, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. 

Well, I've certainly got Right Intent down or I wouldn't be here.  And I've got Right Speech.  Thought I nailed Right Conduct too, since I gave up using catnip after Sturgis, but it turns out #4's a tricky one- can't kill any creatures, so that means no eating bugs.  I should get extra points for that one, he brooded.  

I'm having some trouble with Right Views too, he admitted to himself.  The whole All is Suffering, Suffering is caused by Desire thing.  As a cat, I'm pretty much ruled by Instinct, he reasoned.  But  am I drawn to eating bugs out of Instinct or Desire?  What's the difference anyway?  I bet Schnecka would know…

Piglet's musing was cut short by a bell.  Thankfully, the morning sit was over.  Piglet could no longer suppress his yawn.  He fell into some yoga poses, stretching his arms and legs.  He was just stepping out of the Warrior pose when he noticed her, a petite white cat clad in a hot pink sari.  He couldn't take his eyes off her.  When she looked up from reading the plaque next to the Bo tree, Piglet was still staring.  She gave him a friendly smile.

"Piglet," he abruptly announced.  "My name is Piglet."

She smiled again and gracefully glided towards him, extending her pink-nailed paw.  "Nice to meet you Piglet.  I'm Emporer's Rising Sun Says Hello Kitty of Snowflake Moon Kitten, but my friends call me Hello."

"Hello."  He savoured her name on his tongue.  "That's a pretty name.  Are you also studying the way of the Buddha?" he formally inquired.

"Oh no, I am in India on business.  But I'm doing a bit of sightseeing now.  Have you been here long, Piglet?"

"A month, learning meditation and studying the eight fold path."

"That sounds fascinating." Hello stepped closer.  "Perhaps you could tell me more about it over lunch," she said boldly. 

Piglet blushed with shame.  Keeping his head down, he answered miserably, "I would love to, Hello, but as a pilgrim, I have no money and beg my meals on the street." 

Hello lightly placed her paw on his shoulder.  "I can tell you are very dedicated.  Please, allow me the honor of buying lunch for one of Buddha's finest pilgrims."

Piglet shyly agreed and let Hello lead him to a café. 

 

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By the time their long lunch was over, Piglet was smitten.  And by the time their long day was over, he found himself in Hello's hotel room, in her bed.  He was licking her face tenderly and she was drowsing.  He was sated and felt a perfect contentment. 

What is it about this apple-headed beauty that transfixes me so? he wondered to himself.  To journey all this way from home, then find love.  It's like one of Schnecka's romance novels.

 

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A month had passed since Piglet had met Hello, and they had settled into a pleasant rut.  Piglet went to his morning sit while Hello had meetings and scouted the shops for fabrics and such.  In the afternoon, they idled in Hello's bedroom.  Often they enjoyed long sessions of licking and sunbathing together.  Sometimes Piglet would try to puzzle out a zen koan with Hello or Hello would share a new design she had sketched with Piglet.  Neither mentioned future plans.

Finally, there came the day that Piglet had dreaded.  Hello announced she would be leaving for London the next day. 

"But, Hello, aren't you happy here?  We get along so well."

"Of course silly, but my business here is done.  I need to get back to London to launch my new Hello Kitty India line."   

"But, Hello, I love you."

"Oh, Piglet," she said, caressing his cheek, "you are so very sweet."

She turned her back and continued her packing.  "Perhaps you should go to Japan.  I think you would like it there.  It is the land of your ancestors after all."

            Piglet was silent.  Hello looked up from her suitcase, surprised to see Piglet shedding one single tear.

            "Come," she said tenderly, leading him to the bed, "let's not spend our last night together arguing."

 

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            In the morning, Piglet woke to find Hello already gone.  He yawned, drawing it out into a sigh.  Then he tossed back the covers and got up.  He padded over to the table, where there was a strange small box with holes in it.  He read the note taped to it. 

 

Dear sweet Piglet,

I wanted you to have something to remember me by.

Until we meet again,

Hello

 

He opened the box and was surprised to find the smallest dog he'd ever seen.  He gently scooped her out of the box, then held her up in one paw to examine.  Why, she could practically fit in a teacup, thought Piglet curiously. 

            "And how are you at zen koans?"  Piglet asked, feebly trying to make a joke.  Once again, one single tear welled up in his eye while he considered all the koans he and Hello had nearly figured out. 

            The tiny dog stood up on her hind legs and licked Piglet's face, wagging her tail. 

            "Well," said Piglet, folding the Chihuahua in his arms, "perhaps I'm not meant to be a Buddhist after all.  Meeting Hello sure showed me how attached I still am to earthly pleasure and desire."  He chuckled and the dog angled her head  in the universal I-don't-understand pose. 

            Piglet gazed at her thoughtfully.  "Maybe Hello's right.  It is time for a change of scenery.  We'll go to Japan, just the two of us."

            The Chihuahua gave an excited yip.  Piglet grinned and pulled out his duffel bag and started to pack.

 

 

Stay tuned for Chapter 5: In Which Piglet Travels to the Land of his Ancestors