In ancient Japan, a struggling artist is angered when his housekeeper brings home a tiny white cat he can barely afford to feed. But when the village's head priest commissions a painting of the Buddha for a healthy sum, the artist softens toward the animal he believes has brought him luck. According to legend, the proud and haughty cat was denied the Buddha's blessing for refusing to accept his teachings and pay him homage. So when the artist, moved by compassion for his pet, includes the cat in his painting, the priest rejects the work and decrees that it must be destroyed. It seems the artist's life is ruined as well -- until he is rewarded for his act of love by a Buddhist miracle.
In last week's Read-Aloud Thursday post I told you about I Once Was A Monkey and some of the themes in the book which showed my children some commonalities between Christian values and Buddhist values. The Cat Who Went to Heaven did more of the same, and in one section my daughter and I even got into a good discussion about forgiveness. A quote from the book:
Nevertheless, he led the man out of the forest to the edge of the fields and bade him farewell, showing compassion even to his betrayer. (p. 68)
I love it when a book makes us think deeper about serious things.
I always make sure to point out to my children that Christianity is the ONLY religion that has a risen, resurrected savior - Jesus Christ. It is a big world out there, and I want my children to know about the many people who make it a diverse and beautiful world, too. Learning about Buddhism has been so interesting and enriching for us.
What have you been reading aloud this week? Leave me a comment and let me know - this is a big part of the way I choose books to read-aloud!
*I'm (of course!) linking with Amy at Hope is the Word for Read Aloud Thursday!