Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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The Tao of Pooh Simplistic, natural, passive, practical, and whole - these are all words to describe an ancient Chinese religion called Taoism. Taoism is so simple and natural that it is complex. That probably doesn’t make sense; however, in Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh, the complexity of Taoism is explained in the simplest terms. Hoff uses the character of Winnie the Pooh to explain the philosophy and major principles of Taoism. In the following paragraphs, the challenge to explain the concepts of Taoism will be attempted by using specific examples from this book.

The simplicity of Winnie the Pooh is widely known. Perhaps this is why Hoff chose to use him as the perfect example of a Taoist. Throughout the book, the author uses examples of why Pooh was chosen instead of his other fellow characters. Hoff puts it this way, “While Eeyore frets, and Piglet hesitates, and Rabbit calculates, and Owl pontificates, Pooh just is.”

Hoff used the example of an uncarved block to describe Pooh also. An uncarved block is something that is very simple, natural, and plain. It has been untouched and unaffected by the busy world. When Pooh wanted to go visit everyone one day, Piglet thought that they should have a reason to do it. Pooh simply told Piglet that they would wish them a “Happy Thursday.” Pooh did not need a reason to visit his friends. Just to visit was enough of a reason to go.

Tao, meaning “the way,” is further explained in Lao-tse’s book Tao Te Ching, meaning the “Tao Virtue Book.” Lao-tse described Taoism as a “particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life. From the Taoism point of view, the natural result of this harmonious way of living is...