How often have we seen cats watching us with intense focus, playing obsessively with a toy, comforting us as they cannily assess our moods, lying calmly in a patch of sunlight? Cats exemplify the essential tenets of Zen philosophy and the desire to find the simple and spiritual in everyday life. They embody utter grace, nonjudgmental devotion, and a sense of spontaneous whimsy. What's more, as we interact with cats, these qualities are reflected back in us.
"Zen Cat" pairs more than 50 charming black-and-white photographs of cats with simple and inspiring quotes from a variety of sources: A fat cat lying on the floor evokes the statement "A hand-rolled dumpling of heaven and earth; I gulped it down and easily it went"; a picture of a cat up for adoption is accompanied by Buddha's question "If we fail to look after others when they need help, who will look after us?" This ingenious coupling of concepts and images reminds us that even the most finicky of our feline friends have a lot to teach us, if only we take the time to learn.