The Tao of Pooh


“The Tao of Pooh” gives an interesting transformation to a classical children story. Benjamin Hoff, the author of “The Tao of Pooh”, compares the characters, their behavior and their views on the world to ancient Chinese principals of Taoism.


In “The Tao of Pooh”, author depicts characters of a classical children book as principals of Taoism, an ancient Chinese Teaching.


“That’s [“Winnie the Pooh” book] not about Taoism. … It’s about this dumpy little bear that wanders around asking silly questions, making up songs, and going through all kinds of adventures, without ever accumulating any amount of intellectual knowledge or losing his simpleminded sort of happiness. That’s what it’s [the book] about,” the Unbeliever asked.


“Same thing,” I said (Hoff xi).


Its main character, Winnie-the-Pooh, portrayed as an essence of Taoism teaching; that is being constantly happy and going along with things around him. Things always work out for Pooh because of this. Pooh works along with nature and he does not try to interfere. Pooh leads a simple life. Hoff shows how Pooh does not think or ponder about things; he just does them. Pooh vied as the Uncarved Block, what in Taoism are things in their original simplified form contain their own natural power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed. Other characters show how things can be spoiled and lost and also how things can just work out. Hoff uses Rabbit to show that when you always have to be on the run doing something and being busy, usually you miss things and you do not enjoy life. It can often mess up things to always have to figure things out. He uses Owl to show that when you are always looking for a reason for something then it often makes things too complicated. Hoff uses Piglet in the way that Piglet is always scared and hesitating things, if Piglet would not hesitate, he would get things done in a much better and faster way. Hoff explains the character of Eeyore by showing how he is always worried about things. If he would not do that, then life would be much easier for Eeyore.


Hoff wrote the book to inform people of Taoism. He wanted to teach the ways and beliefs of a Taoist. He wanted to teach in a way that everyone could understand or relate too, that is why he used Winnie the Pooh. He uses each chapter of the book to teach a new principle of the Uncarved Block of Taoism. In each chapter he tells a Winnie the Pooh story and then explains how it relates to Taoism. Hoff writes a chapter teaching how cleverness does not always help, but it sometimes destroys things and is the reason that things do not work out. Hoff teaches that the Taoist believe that if you understand Inner Nature it is far more effective than knowledge or cleverness. He uses a story of Tigger and Roo. Tigger tries to be something he is not and he ends up just messing things up and getting stuck in a tree. Hoff also explains that working with Nature is best in the sense that you do not mess things up with a story about Eeyore getting stuck in the river. Everybody had been trying to think of clever ways to get Eeyore out of the river when Pooh said that if they just dropped a big stone into it, then it would just wash Eeyore ashore. He did it without even thinking, because thinking would complicate things, and of course it worked. Pooh worked with Nature and things worked out for him. As you can see, Hoff uses many different Winnie the Pooh stories to teach the uncomplicated ways of the Taoist. The only arguments that Hoff really presents is whether or not the Taoist way is the best way and whether or not it really works. When you look at it from the point of Pooh and the stories from The House at Pooh Corner you really believe that what the Taoist believe is the best way.. He argues whether or not cleverness and knowledge really are important. For example, it can be explained in the story when Eeyore gets stuck