Winnie-the-Pooh: The Tao of Pooh (Anglais) Broché – 6 février 2003
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The how of Pooh? The Tao of who? The Tao of Pooh!?! In which it is revealed that one of the world's great Taoist masters isn't Chinese--or a venerable philosopher--but is in fact none other than that effortlessly calm, still, reflective bear. A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh! While Eeyore frets, and Piglet hesitates, and Rabbit calculates, and Owl pontificates, Pooh just is.
And that's a clue to the secret wisdom of the Taoists.
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`It's about how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances!' I yelled.
'Have you read it?' asked Pooh.
This is two-way book: to explain Taoism through Winnie-the-Pooh, and to explain Winnie-the-Pooh (not always an easy task itself) through Taoism. Taoism, more academically, is a religion indigenous to China, built upon teachings primarily of Lao-tzu, with significant influence from Buddha and K'ung Fu-tse. It is in the teachings of harmony and emptiness and being of Lao-tzu, however, that Taoism draws its meaning, believing that earth is a reflection of heaven, and that the world `is not a setter of traps but a teacher of valuable lessons.'
As with many religions, this one took various guises: philosophic, monastic, structural, folk. But through them all, the imperceptible Tao, the essence of being, essentially undescribable, shapes the universe continually out of chaos, with a yin and yang alteration of perpetual transformation, in which nothing remains eternal save the Tao.
This makes Pooh a perfect example and exemplar. `For the written character P'u, the typical Chinese dictionary will give a definition of 'natural, simple, plain, honest.' P'u is composed of two separate characters combined: the first, the 'radical' or root-meaning one, is that for tree or wood; the second, the 'phonetic' or sound-giving one, is the character for dense growth or thicket.Lire la suite ›
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Without question, it's one of the best books I've read. It's not for its literary flow, academic presentation, entertaining style, or subject matter that I love this little book. I love it because it's a calm, smooth blend of all of the above.
The book does an outstanding job of presenting and explaining the basic tenets of Taoism. I laughed out loud several times over the experiences of poor Eeyore (oh, how I can relate!). If you'd like a quick dissertation of different philosophical views and personality styles, The Tao of Pooh does so through the showcasing of Pooh and his friends.
I'm not sure who Mr. Hoff's target audience was, but this is a book for young and old alike... all will gain something from reading through the book.
In fact, Mr. Hoff penned this book so well it stirred my desires to read once again Milne's classic title The Adventures of Pooh with a new light and perception.
This is an excellent title to add to your permanent library, whether you embrace Taoism or not. Its message of peace and tolerance is one that all faiths can understand and embrace - and well they should.
Can't recommend this one highly enough.
In contrasting Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, Confucius is described as a sour-faced man, Buddha as one with a bitter expression, but Lao-Tse being the smiling one. Basically, the laws that govern the heavens are the same one that govern earth and man, and that if we go with the flow, we'll be in harmony.
The concepts of wu-wei is also explained. Wu-wei means "not doing" but of doing nothing against the natural flow. Here, it's called the Pooh Way, because Pooh has a "mind that merely sees what's in front of it, and follows the nature of things." In other words, put the round peg in the round hole, the square peg in the square one.
The characters who make up Pooh's friends demonstrate the flaw of knowledge and cleverness, and I was fascinated and sobered by this because their personalities reflect me, and I realize the bad side in knowing too much.
Dig this: Owl, the modern equivalent of a Confusionist, Dessicated Scholar, is described as someone who gains Knowledge for Knowledge's sake, or for the sake of appearing wise. A bit harsh because that's me to some extent. Rabbit is described as someone who gains Knowledge for the sake of appearing Clever, and I had to wince, because to my shame, I fully admit that's also me to some extent. And Eeyore is someone who gains Knowledge for the sake of Complaining. Given my political stance, yes, me too again. And as Pooh says in response to Owl having a brain, "I suppose that that's why he never understands anything." Maybe that's my problem too.
But Pooh, the lucky bear, may not have much of a brain, but he embodies the Simplicity of the Uncarved Block, the Taoist equivalent of John Locke's tabula rasa (blank slate). Basically, Pooh can't describe the Uncarved Block, he just IS it. "That's the nature of the Uncarved Block."
And he's got the right idea in not being a Bisy Backson, or (Busy Back Soon), you know, rush-rush-rush. I wonder why we don't have an American equivalent of a French sidewalk cafe or Chinese teahouse. Now that I'm getting on, maybe I value the message of "You're important. Relax and enjoy yourself."
A cute book on the explanations of Taoism, and how maybe simplicity, wisdom (as opposed to knowledge) and contentment is the best way to go. But it makes me wish that I was a tabula rasa or an Uncarved Block once again. Oh, just to be, not to know or be clever, but just to be.
Pooh just is.