Thursday, January 30, 2014

THE TAO OF POOH, by Benjamin Hoff

This is a wonderful gem of a book. I was traveling home today to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family, and in the midst of a flight delay and commuting in the bus from the airport to home, I finished reading the THE TAO OF POOH, by Benjamin Hoff. There were lots of reflection and contemplation while I was at it.

Winnie-the-Pooh is my favorite teddy bear. He is calm and reflective, and is a great personality for this light but thought-provoking and humorous book. I love reading about the wisdom of the Taoists captured within these pages along with Pooh Bear's friends, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl and many more.


The sketch is found on the Internet and it's not in the book.

Good stuff must be shared, so I'd like to share some of my favorite passages from the book with you. Here goes!
"A lot of people try to buy Happiness and Importance in the same sort of way. Buy you can be happy and important without doing that, you know." The lesson: When it comes to enjoying life and making use of who we are, all of us can, it's just that some don't.

"It's rather significant, we think, that those who have no compassion have no wisdom. Knowledge, yes; cleverness, maybe; wisdom, no. A clever mind is not a heart. Knowledge doesn't really care. Wisdom does. We also consider it significant that cor, the Latin word for "heart," is the basis for the word courage."

The sketch is found on the Internet and it's not in the book.

Narrator/Author Hoff explains the basic tenets of Taoism by illustrating them with familiar excerpts from stories in The House at Pooh Corner, Chinese proverbs, and tales from Lao-tzu and others. Everything just flows smoothly in this book, suitable for the young and the old. Here are more passages... 
"[...]―enjoying life and being Special. Everyone is Special, you know."
"That doesn't mean that the goals we have don't count. They do, mostly because they cause us to go through the process, and it's the process that makes us wise, happy, or whatever. If we do things in the wrong sort of way, it makes us miserable, angry, confused and things like that. The goal has to be right for us, and it has to be beneficial, in order to ensure a beneficial process. But aside from that, it's really the process that's important."

Wu Wei: "flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo."

"The surest way to become Tense, Awkward, and Confused is to develop a mind that tries too hard―one that thinks too much. [...] But down the centuries, man has developed a mind that separates him from the world of reality, the world of natural laws. This mind tries too hard, wears itself out, and ends up weak and sloppy. Such a mind, even if of high intelligence, is inefficient. It goes here and there, backwards and forwards, and fails to concentrate on what it is doing at the moment."

"So there is no such thing as an ability that is too useless, too crooked, or too small. It only depends on what you do with it. As Lao-tse pointed out, the bad can be raw material for the good." The lesson: To get rid of a Minus, change it into a Plus.

"Once you face and understand your limitations, you can work with them, instead of having them work against you and get in your way, which is what they do when you ignore them, whether you realize it or not. And then you will find that, in many cases, your limitations can be your strengths."  The lesson: Those who know what's wrong with them can take care of themselves instead of thinking that everything is OK and neglect their weaknesses. So, acknowledge it's there and let it do you a big favor. Don't be like Tigger who thinks it knows everything and can do everything―very unhealthy!

I'll be sharing more quotes and passages from this book on my Facebook page because each of them really do deserve an exclusive post, so please head over there and enjoy!

I highly recommend this easy reading. I'm sure Pooh Bear lovers will also enjoy it as much as I do. Have you read The Tao of Pooh?

This sketch is in the book.

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