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The Tao of Pooh Paperback – Jul 28 1983

4.4 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (July 28 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140067477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140067477
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 18.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Is there such thing as a Western Taoist? Benjamin Hoff says there is, and this Taoist's favorite food is honey. Through brilliant and witty dialogue with the beloved Pooh-bear and his companions, the author of this smash bestseller explains with ease and aplomb that rather than being a distant and mysterious concept, Taoism is as near and practical to us as our morning breakfast bowl. Romp through the enchanting world of Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking up invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living.

From Library Journal

Author/narrator Hoff calls Winnie the Pooh a "Western Taoist" and uses the unassuming bear to introduce Eastern philosophical principles. Pooh epitomizes the "uncarved block," as he is well in tune with his natural inner self. Pooh enjoys simple pleasures and the daily progress of life. Hoff contrasts this unpretentiousness to other characters created by Winnie - the - Pooh author A.A. Milne, including Owl, whom he describes as a "mind that tries too hard," and Eeyore, the eternal pessimist. In a clear and crisp voice, Hoff explains the central tenets of Taoism and further illustrates them with familiar excerpts from The House at Pooh Corner stories (1923), Chinese proverbs, maxims, and tales from Lao Tzu and others. The result is at once thought-provoking and charming. This is a small literary event that will leave all who experience it a little more serene. For most collections.
- Jeanne P. Leader, Western Nebraska Community Coll. Lib., Scotts bluff
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Let's face it - Taoism is difficult for Western minds to understand. For me, it exemplifies the difference between simple and easy. Taoism is so basic and simple in its concepts, that it can be nearly impossible for a busy Western brain to accept. Well, whether you are looking for an introduction to Taoism or well along your own path, this book is an indispensable addition to your library.
The idea here is simple - Benjamin Hoff uses these perfect Pooh stories to explain the fundamental concepts of Taoist belief. Whether he is pointing out our contradictory beliefs or educating us on finding our paths, he does so with humor and compassion, always smart and simple. One of my favorite examples of our silly Western contradictions is where he talks about time-saving devices. In Western culture, we are constantly surrounded with time-saving devices, from alarm clocks to microwaves to computers to cell phones... yet we rarely have enough time. Then what happens when you go to a place where there are no time-saving devices? All of a sudden you have all the time in the world!
Have you read from the Tao Te Ching? I have spent hours contemplating one tiny passage before it even started to sink into my thick skull. What a difference it is to have Pooh and his crew as your guides! Hoff brings new meaning and understanding to these texts, creating a strong foundation for you to continue along your way. I have recommended this book to friends in all walks of life and with varying degrees of education and I always have received a more than enthusiastic reaction.
For me, the Toa of Pooh is as much a place as it is a book. I can read a chapter and suddenly find myself in a more relaxed space, maybe a little higher up where I can get a little more of the big picture. I hope it can do the same for you.
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Format: Paperback
I was searching for a basic introduction to Tao, and being a Pooh lover from way back thought that this would be a good place to start. While I learned some of what I was searching for - the focus on nature and simplicity - there was a recurring tone of negativity that bothered me to the point that I couldn't enjoy the book. What troubled me is this: Hoff repeatedly illustrates the virtues of his chosen philosophy/religion by denigrating other religions.
I'm not much of a fan of "organized religion", so the thought of criticizing other religions doesn't upset me per se: it's just that I find no place for it in a book like this. This should be about the uplifting, enlightening spiritual values of Tao. The recurring stabs at what he obviously views as competing philosophies struck a very discordant tone. I couldn't get past this to enjoy the educational elements of the book.
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Format: Paperback
This elegant and well-written volume by Benjamin Hoff, along with its sequel "The Te of Piglet", is perhaps one of the finest pieces of writing about Taoism in the West. Having just read and enjoyed the original Pooh stories by A.A. Milne, I became intrigued by this book and obtained it. As soon as I opened it I could not find a good point to lay it down. I kept reading and reading until I finished it in a single day. The book was so pleasurable, so well-written, and so intriguing. I kept thinking and imagining all the different concepts of Taoism that this book introduces me to. "Wu Wei" or effortless action; living in harmony with nature; Nowhere and Nothing; the importance of the present; the extreme alienation we in the West create for ourselves by being constantly busy. These are all important issues that relate to my life personally, and I feel I have gained something from reading this book, in addition to spending an enjoyable time reading it.
Those who didn't like this book for some reason are missing the point. The "Tao of Pooh" was never meant to be the definite treatise on Taoism, or the dispassionate comparison of East and West. As a matter of fact, this book is classified under "Humor". In fact, it is this humor of pooh which lends itself so aptly to introducing Taoism. Since reading this book, I became interested in reading the other book by John Tyerman Williams called "Pooh & the Philosophers". What a disaster that turned out to be! See, the defining character of Pooh is that he never really takes himself seriously, which is perfectly in line with the attitude of major Taoist philosophers.
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Format: Paperback
'The Tao of Pooh', a fascinating synthesis of Eastern philosophy and Western children's literature, is done largely in conversational style between Benjamin Hoff, erstwhile writer, photographer and musician with a penchant for forests and bears. Thus, Pooh makes a natural philosophical companion. But, more than a companion, Pooh is, for Hoff, the very embodiment of the Tao.
'It's about how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances!' I yelled.
'Have you read it?' asked Pooh.
This is two-way book: to explain Taoism through Winnie-the-Pooh, and to explain Winnie-the-Pooh (not always an easy task itself) through Taoism. Taoism, more academically, is a religion indigenous to China, built upon teachings primarily of Lao-tzu, with significant influence from Buddha and K'ung Fu-tse. It is in the teachings of harmony and emptiness and being of Lao-tzu, however, that Taoism draws its meaning, believing that earth is a reflection of heaven, and that the world 'is not a setter of traps but a teacher of valuable lessons.'
As with many religions, this one took various guises: philosophic, monastic, structural, folk. But through them all, the imperceptible Tao, the essence of being, essentially undescribable, shapes the universe continually out of chaos, with a yin and yang alteration of perpetual transformation, in which nothing remains eternal save the Tao.
This makes Pooh a perfect example and exemplar. 'For the written character P'u, the typical Chinese dictionary will give a definition of 'natural, simple, plain, honest.' P'u is composed of two separate characters combined: the first, the 'radical' or root-meaning one, is that for tree or wood; the second, the 'phonetic' or sound-giving one, is the character for dense growth or thicket.
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