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Thursday, January 1, 2009

The tiny Chihuahua who thinks he's a Buddhist monk. Auckland, New Zealand GDI


He is admired for his impeccable zen and ability to radiate a sense of inner peace.

And while other Buddhists may have to wait years to reach enlightenment, this devotee seems to have attained Nirvana in just two.

Unfortunately, appearances can be deceptive, especially when the "monk" in question is a Chihuahua named Conan.

The tiny dog actually launches into "prayer" when he wants treats - and is richly rewarded by impressed visitors.

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Praying Buddhist Dog

Zen-like: Practice makes perfect for Conan whose prayers are answered (usually very quickly) with treats

Conan, a two-year-old male with black hair and soulful eyes, begins his routine by standing beside a priest before the altar and staring intently at a statue of a Buddhist deity.

When the priest begins to chant and raises his clasped hands, the little dog also lifts his paws and joins them at the tip of his nose

He is now the top attraction at his Japanese temple.

"He started to pose in prayer like us whenever he wanted treats," said priest Joei Yoshikuni.

"Clasping hands is a basic action of Buddhist prayer to show appreciation. He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks."

"It's so funny that he does it," said Kazuko Oshiro, 71, who has been going to Jigenin temple on the southern island of Okinawa for more than 25 years.

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Buddhist praying dog

It's a dog's life: Conan's prayer pose is perfect

"He gets angry when somebody else sits on his favourite spot. He must be thinking that it's his special place."

Conan may not be as devout as first appearances indicate but he does seem to have brought his temple home good luck.

Visitor numbers have swelled by 30 per cent since his arrival and he a particular attraction for younger people.

"I'm glad that people feel more comfortable visiting the temple because of Conan," Yoshikuni added.
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