Tenzin Dolma, a Buddhist nun ordained by the Dalai Lama, brought blessings to the RAPS Cat Sanctuary
Tenzin Dolma, a Buddhist nun who was ordained by the Dalai Lama, visited the RAPS Cat Sanctuary recently and was deeply moved by her experiences. She spoke to us after her visit, having had time to reflect, and she also wrote about her feelings on visiting what is now the largest cat sanctuary in Canada.
“These 450 cats and their surrounding made such a deep impression on me,” she wrote. “The people that created that sanctuary, over 20 years ago, most probably had no idea of all the good they created, for so many years, and on so many levels. They just had a good heart, compassion and love for cats – that is for sure.”
Tenzin Dolma said that cats and humans are all sentient beings, but cats are not able to think in the manner that humans can, and are therefore unable to change their karma, the concept that our good or bad actions impact on us in future incarnations.
“The difference between cats and humans is that cats cannot really think, but we humans can think and go out and help to change the karma for others, for humans and animals,” she wrote. “So this is something very meaningful. And these cats have the good karma, that they got picked up by kind, kindhearted people. That is the view for the people that had the idea and created this sanctuary.”
Central to improving the cats’ karma, she said, is that these cats now have their meals prepared for them, so they no longer have to hunt to survive.
“By creating this paradise for the cats, the cats are no more hungry, they do not need to go out and hunt for birds and mice, which means they do not have to kill,” wrote Tenzin Dolma.
She was visiting Richmond to study at the Thrangu Monastery, which is on Number 5 Road, not far from the Cat Sanctuary. Having heard about the sanctuary, she decided to visit and bring water that had been specially blessed to share with the residents.
Tenzin Dolma wrote about how the diverse cats – “cats, with tails, without tails, with long hair and short hair, in all colours, like little tigers, black and white, apricot colour, grey” – live in colonies of various sizes, “with beds and baskets with soft, clean blankets on many different levels on shelves. The cats can relax and calm down if they lived in fear and anxiety. When it is sunny, they have lots of space to lay out in the sun or cuddle up in their homes when it is raining.
“Before leaving, we spent some time in the home of old cats. We sat down in the comfortable old sofa and chairs,” she wrote. “Some of the cats crawled out of their cozy corners, made themselves comfortable on one of our laps, happily purring along.”
She was especially impressed with the home for sick and older cats who need a quieter, more sedate environment and extra attention from dedicated volunteers.
“All this shows, what a hidden, secret therapeutic place that is,” concluded Tenzin Dolma. “Volunteers come and just play with the cats, very gentle, others come and caress them. With the new and shy ones, they spend time trying to comfort them. Sometimes they succeed, other times, the cats just like to hide away and … they are given the space they need. There is no: ‘you must’ or ‘you have to’! Or ‘why don’t you?’ Or ‘why did you not?’ They can just be, just relax.”
And that, she added, is something that humans could learn from these cats.