Tao (pronounced Dow) means The Way (to happiness). This sounds very nice, but what is the Way? It was easy for me to begin to understand Taoism. I had a great teacher, Winnie-the-Pooh!
There is a delightful book by Benjamin Hoff (illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard) called "The Tao of Pooh" (Penguin Books, 1982). If you are familiar with A. A. Milne's enchanting characters, Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, and Tigger, you'll be surprised if you read "The Tao of Pooh" at how easy it is to learn about Taoism. It's also a great deal of fun, which is very Taoist, as Taoists are firm believers in joy and laughter.
Taoism is not a religion. Taoism is a philosophy, a way of looking at life and a way of thinking about things. Taoists believe if you look at life and think about things in the right way, you'll be much happier.
Here are two Taoist philosophy statements and two conversations from The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. Can you guess which Taoist philosophy statement might go with which conversation? In other words, can you match them up?
From The House at Pooh Corner
|A clever mind is not a heart.||
"Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully.
"Yes," said Piglet. "Rabbit's clever."
"And he has Brain."
"Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain."
There was a long silence.
"I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands anything."
|There is more to knowing than just being correct.||
"Lot's of people talk to animals," said Pooh.
"Not very many listen, though," he said.
"That's the problem," he added.
Did you guess right? They're not mixed up at all. They're right across from each other. Nothing tricky here. Like Taoism, it's simple!
Taoists believe it's very important to understand The Way Things Are. This does not mean that there are not things we need to change about ourselves, but it's important to recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and discover who we are. In the story of "The Ugly Duckling", when does the duckling stop feeling ugly? - when he discovers he's a Swan. When he recognizes who he really is, a beautiful swan, he finds his Way to happiness.
We hope this section has encouraged you to learn more about Taoism. It is an absolutely fascinating ancient Chinese philosophy. And, we hope you will revisit the timeless tales of Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger, who can all be found in The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne.