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Jun 28, 2009

Black Cat Syndrome

The "Black Cat Syndrome" is a pet topic starter for trainers conducting courses on the elements of change...the change agents, the change factors, the need to change perceptions, change mindsets.....nothing remains unchanged.

Another favorite is the quotation from Buddha: "All conditioned things are impermanent and subject to change".

The following is the story about the black cat:

Once upon a time, there was a temple on top of a mountain. Daily, the Chief Abbot of the temple conducts chanting and meditation sessions for the monks. During the chanting, the monks have to sit motionless.

One day during the chanting session, a black cat appeared and ran around the meditation hall. The blank cat disturbs the monks, scratching them and making noises. The monks could not do anything and continued chanting.

After awhile, the Chief Abbot then instructed two monks to catch the black cat and tie it to a pillar in the meditation hall. The monks could then chant in peace, undisturbed by the roaming black cat.

Henceforth, before the start of every chanting session, the black cat will be tied to the pillar.

This practice went on for a long time.

When the Chief Abbot died, his disciple replaced him as the new Chief Abbot.

One day, the black cat also died.

When the new Chief Abbot started the chanting session the following day and found that no black cat was tied to the pillar in the hall, he instructed two monks to go to the forest to catch a black cat and tie it to the pillar. The chanting session then resumed.

A black cat must be tied to the pillar before the start of every chanting session. This practice continued over and over and over....

Nobody ever tried to find out why a black cat must be tied to the pillar of the meditation hall before the chanting session could start.

What is the moral of the story?

Certain traditional practices are passed down over the generations and nobody knows how such practices originated, and why some obsolete practices are still continued because of the resistance to change.



Blogger PChew said...

Your story of the Black Cat reminded me of my grand mother's story. She said the corpse in the coffin would resurrect if a black cat jump over the coffin.

June 28, 2009 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

I have heard about this traditional Chinese belief too. The mourners at funeral wakes are supposed to keep cats away as part of the vigilance.

Traditional belief is something that is difficult to change cos mysterious happenings are beyond logic or reasoning. This is not necessary due to superstitions.

I would rather leave it to the parascientist to investigate these paranormal phenomena. Its their hobby :)

June 29, 2009 at 12:54 AM  
Blogger hoonalison said...

yesterday i picked up this blog from lianhe zaobao, (ZBW shall we talk pg 28 dated 21.6.09. enjoyed reading the history of singapore, keep it up and hope to discover more about old singapore.
i will share this blog spot with my friends., esp "The black cat syndrome".

July 4, 2009 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Lam Chun See said...

Your story reminded me about a black and white movie starring Chan Poh Choo. It had a silly title song. The movie was Hak Yeh Moa (Black Wild Cat 黑野猫).

Sorry to go so off topic.

July 5, 2009 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thank you for your comments and encouragement, Alison.

I do not read the Lianhe Zaobao regularly and was not aware of the link to this blogsite.

If you are interested in blogs on old Singapore, please visit where you will find more of the popular blogsite links.

I do not blog very much on old Singapore. Pls feel free to invite your friends if the blog topics interest them. You and your friends are also welcome to be guest bloggers to blog to express.

July 6, 2009 at 1:41 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks for dropping by, Chun See.

"Nu Zei Hei Ye Mao" is a 1966 B/W Cantonese movie starring Chan Po Chu, Wu Fung and Sek Kin.

Its a different black cat though.

I used to watch Fung Po Po and Chan Po Chu movies in my young days too.

July 6, 2009 at 2:17 AM  

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