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i wish it was proper Taoism
on 9 April 2014
I first read tao of pooh years ago, and it had a great effect on me, the message as i remember it and the ensuing experience was quite a vivid sense of trust in things and how they go.
Since then i've explored other ideas, looking at things from different philosophical angles and got flung around by life. I wanted to re-read tao of pooh because life is so overwhelming, along with all the contrasting ideas about how to be at peace with living it. But before going back into this book i wanted to get to know the actual tao te ching, a really short text, and of course closer to the origin of taoism.
The one i've listened to is read by Jacob Needleman, with his commentary following the text. I think it needs to be listened to several times to really grasp the depth and efficiency of it, and why i am rambling in this direction is that it casts a whole new light on tao of pooh, without the 'intellectual snobbery' Hoffman refers to and dismisses in the book.
Needleman discusses the popular misrepresentation and misunderstanding of taoism, and having digested the original text and Needleman's equally efficient discussion and analysis, I'm sorry to say that tao of pooh really does overlook the essence of taoism - opting for a superficial aping of 'naturalness'.. not a reconnection with a profound level of instinct and awareness.
I wish it didn't. Surely it's an interesting book, if not only because of why it has such wide appeal. But if you want true taoism you'd better go to the source, appropriately. Tao of Pooh is a good way to chill out about stuff and have more of a sense of humour - but that isn't taoism. it's far deeper and more subtle than that - but just as if not more simple.