This book is based around the idea that A. A. Milne's stories of Winnie-The-Pooh can be used to illustrate the basic notions of Taoism. Hoff is not by any means arguing that Milne was a Taoist. He is merely saying that Milne's inner attitude to life, as revealed by the stories, intuitively follow along the same path as Taoism. Owl is wise, Rabbit is cleaver and Eeore is smugly superior but the real hero of the books is Pooh, the apparently stupid yet strangely successful and able bear.
The book covers the Taoist principles of:
Tao, or the indescribable Way of the universe,
P'u, or natural simplicity, the Uncarved Block,
Inner Nature, being those things that make us exactly who we are,
Wu Wei, or proceeding without doing, causing, or making,
Tzu Jan, or 'self so', meaning that things happen by themselves, spontaneously,
Tz'u, or caring and compassion, and,
T'ai Hsu, or the Great Nothing.
Along the way we learn the pitfalls of being too busy and the benefits of doing nothing (for example meditation and contemplation). Having read this I now try to arrange my day so that I can spend half an hour a day in my garden with my cat just doing nothing but observing nature and thinking the thoughts that come to mind. I recommend it to everyone.
Quick little read, great for a Sunday afternoon, in which the author explains the principles of Taoism as it relates to our old friend Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. A bit silly at times, but all in all enjoyable read with very good examples pulled from the works of A.A. Milne and correlated to Taoist theory/belief.
Just finished this book and will be lending to someone. Loved it! Kind of childish simply because it uses Winnie the Pooh, however very adult in content (but appropriate)! I absolutely loved it, and I think that it has had a profound impact on my spiritual life.
It's a clever idea, using Winnie the Pooh as an exemplar of Taoist philosophy, and it worked pretty well to start. But the further I read the harder it was to see the basic principles of the philosophy, and the more I began to suspect that Hoff's rather preachy and none too subtle agenda had taken over. How else to explain the concept that the ideal is an empty sort of mind, not "confused" by knowledge or cleverness or abstract ideas, but striving for some nebulous child-like wisdom? What is presented here would encourage me only to question Taoism as a way of thinking, and not to read any more books by Hoff.
This is a light and whimsical way to look at the principles of Tao. I thouroughly enjoy it every time I read it and while it is very entertaining it still gives you something to think about. Everytime I reread this book I find something new in it. A good read for anyone from young to old.