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DreamBliss

The Tao of Poo and the Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff - Accurate and True?

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So I went into my local library and saw the Te of Poo by Benjamin Hoff in some children's books that were for sale. Paid $1.00 for it. I have started reading it, and am enjoying it immensely. But I am curious to know if Mr. Hoff is providing accurate, truthful information regarding the Tao. I thought, "Hey, I remember a place where a bunch of people hang out that would know about this!"

 

Yeah I know, I'm on-again, off-again. If this forum was my girlfriend she would probably be loosing patience with me :P What? You don't call or write for months at a time! What kind of relationship do you think this is???  :D...and yes, for those of you who remember me I am still studying the teachings of LoA, which I know you are happy to hear! :)

 

OK, back to topic... Mr. Hoff essentially says that Taoism is the opposite of Confucianism. I won't go into all the details here, this post is more for those who know these books, and who know Confucianism and Taoism, and know whether or not the books are recording things accurately. This is really for my own curiously. What the author says makes sense, but I like second and third opinions.

 

OK I am off to bed. It may be 100 degrees or so here in a few hours so I want to get as much rest as I can.

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I wouldn't quite say Taoism is the opposite of Confucianism,

 

but I think they are two sides of the same coin, and totally compliment each other. 

 

Since reality is both form and formless

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Welcome back to the DB, DB!

 

The dichotomy between Daoism and Confucianism is a recurrent topic already in classic Daoist literature, with parables that invariably highlight the superiority of Daoism and make the Confucianists look like dumbasses. The epitome of this is the famous story of the alledged meeting of Lao Tzu and Confucius, published by Ssu-ma Ch'ien in his Historical Records:

 

Confucius once went to Zhou wanting to ask Laozi about the rites. Laozi replied: "As for the things you are talking about - those people along with their bones have already rotted away! All that remains is their words. Moreover, if the gentleman lives at the right time he rides in the carriage of an official; if he does not, then he moves about like a tumbleweed blown by the wind.

I have heard it said that the good merchant has a well-stocked warehouse that appears to be empty; and the gentleman, though overflowing in virtue, gives the appearance of being a fool.

Rid yourself of your arrogant manner, your many desires, your pretentious demeanor and unbridled ambition. None of these is good for your health. What I have to tell you is this, nothing more."

Confucius left and said to his disciples, "As for birds, I understand how they can fly; with fish, I understand how they can swim; and with animals, I understand how they can run. To catch things that run, we can make nets; to catch things that swim, we can make lines; and to get things that fly, we can make arrows. But when it comes to dragons, I cannot understand how they ascend into the sky riding the wind and the clouds. Today I met Laozi, and he's just like a dragon!"

--
(From Robert G. Henricks - Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, Columbia University Press, 2000.)

 

The hostility can easily be explained, as much of Confucianism is about proper conduct and social harmony (its impact on South-East Asian societies in this regard can hardly be overestimated), whereas Daoism emphasizes liberation from the limitations imposed by convention. However, in practice, in the countries where these philosophies are mostly being followed, they co-exist peacefully, as both are seen as having their place.

 

This brief comparison summarises the differences:

 

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Confucianism_vs_Taoism

 

And if I am getting this right, your topic is suggested as a theme for aspiring writers ;) : 

 

https://www.bestessaywriters.com/uncategorized/lao-tzu-vs-confucius/

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I've always had the sense that Confucius tended to be obsessed with the finger... how it's angled, how far it was extended and at what time of day it was pointing to the Moon... rather than just looking at the Moon. 

 

It was easy for me to judge that and say it's 'less than', but not so much any more.  We also have fingers and hands and all that goes with that, in addition to being able to point to the moon, we have fingers.  And fingers are as imbued with tao as the Moon, while being a little 'closer to home'.  So where I used to pretty much disregard most of Confucius' teachings as seemingly superficial compared to the more 'meaty' elements of Lao... I am cultivating appreciation for it, where before, there was none.

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3 hours ago, DreamBliss said:

So I went into my local library and saw the Te of Poo by Benjamin Hoff in some children's books that were for sale. Paid $1.00 for it. I have started reading it, and am enjoying it immensely. But I am curious to know if Mr. Hoff is providing accurate, truthful information regarding the Tao. I thought, "Hey, I remember a place where a bunch of people hang out that would know about this!"

 

Yeah I know, I'm on-again, off-again. If this forum was my girlfriend she would probably be loosing patience with me :P What? You don't call or write for months at a time! What kind of relationship do you think this is???  :D...and yes, for those of you who remember me I am still studying the teachings of LoA, which I know you are happy to hear! :)

 

OK, back to topic... Mr. Hoff essentially says that Taoism is the opposite of Confucianism. I won't go into all the details here, this post is more for those who know these books, and who know Confucianism and Taoism, and know whether or not the books are recording things accurately. This is really for my own curiously. What the author says makes sense, but I like second and third opinions.

 

OK I am off to bed. It may be 100 degrees or so here in a few hours so I want to get as much rest as I can.

 

Hi DreamBliss!

 

Are you writing an essay for the contest? Cool if so - let us know how it goes...and if there is any prize money, we want a cut. B)

 

What I like best about the Tao of Pooh is that it introduces the idea of Tao to a western audience who may have never heard of it before.

 

I yield to others to speak to accuracy; it's been 35 years since I read it and recall only that I enjoyed it.

 

Best of luck!

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1 hour ago, WuDao said:

 

Hi DreamBliss!

 

Are you writing an essay for the contest? Cool if so - let us know how it goes...and if there is any prize money, we want a cut. B)

 

What I like best about the Tao of Pooh is that it introduces the idea of Tao to a western audience who may have never heard of it before.

 

I yield to others to speak to accuracy; it's been 35 years since I read it and recall only that I enjoyed it.

 

Best of luck!

 

And remember that it was me who found this.

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1 hour ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

And remember that it was me who found this.

 

Why? I thought that once work was done it is forgotten; therefore lasts forever. :rolleyes:

 

Just playin with ya, Michael; good catch, that. ^_^

 

 

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5 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

Welcome back to the DB, DB!

 

The dichotomy between Daoism and Confucianism is a recurrent topic already in classic Daoist literature, with parables that invariably highlight the superiority of Daoism and make the Confucianists look like dumbasses. The epitome of this is the famous story of the alledged meeting of Lao Tzu and Confucius, published by Ssu-ma Ch'ien in his Historical Records:

 

Confucius once went to Zhou wanting to ask Laozi about the rites. Laozi replied: "As for the things you are talking about - those people along with their bones have already rotted away! All that remains is their words. Moreover, if the gentleman lives at the right time he rides in the carriage of an official; if he does not, then he moves about like a tumbleweed blown by the wind.

I have heard it said that the good merchant has a well-stocked warehouse that appears to be empty; and the gentleman, though overflowing in virtue, gives the appearance of being a fool.

Rid yourself of your arrogant manner, your many desires, your pretentious demeanor and unbridled ambition. None of these is good for your health. What I have to tell you is this, nothing more."

Confucius left and said to his disciples, "As for birds, I understand how they can fly; with fish, I understand how they can swim; and with animals, I understand how they can run. To catch things that run, we can make nets; to catch things that swim, we can make lines; and to get things that fly, we can make arrows. But when it comes to dragons, I cannot understand how they ascend into the sky riding the wind and the clouds. Today I met Laozi, and he's just like a dragon!"

--
(From Robert G. Henricks - Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, Columbia University Press, 2000.)

 

The hostility can easily be explained, as much of Confucianism is about proper conduct and social harmony (its impact on South-East Asian societies in this regard can hardly be overestimated), whereas Daoism emphasizes liberation from the limitations imposed by convention. However, in practice, in the countries where these philosophies are mostly being followed, they co-exist peacefully, as both are seen as having their place.

 

This brief comparison summarises the differences:

 

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Confucianism_vs_Taoism

 

And if I am getting this right, your topic is suggested as a theme for aspiring writers ;) : 

 

https://www.bestessaywriters.com/uncategorized/lao-tzu-vs-confucius/

 

And thanks for this, too. B)

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24 minutes ago, WuDao said:

 

Why? I thought that once work was done it is forgotten; therefore lasts forever. :rolleyes:

 

Just playin with ya, Michael; good catch, that. ^_^

 

I'm good with that. After all, the old books say that Alchemy is "woman's play and child's work" - or was it the other way around? :huh:

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1 hour ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

I'm good with that. After all, the old books say that Alchemy is "woman's play and child's work" - or was it the other way around? :huh:

 

You had it right the first time. ^_^

 

Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage among her books. For to you kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to her they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned with the flick of a finger.

~~Gordon R. Dickson, Tactics of Mistake (kinda)

 

:lol::lol:

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5 hours ago, Apeiron&Peiron said:

....

 

I don't like the idea of "meeting people where they are" when "where they are" is a place worth leaving. But, at the same time, I think Confucius did this in a way that was probably more effective than Lao Tzu. It was a more yin method of exposition that was substantial in a sense that people could understand and relate to. Whereas Lao Tzu was substantial in a way that most people would need to learn to relate to. ...

.....

One of the biggest problems with Lao Tzu's method of teaching is that (since it is rather yang and intangible), people tend to let a lot of their own yin shape how it works. Confucius's more yin focus was detailed enough (in a way that people couldn't work around) to not permit that.

 

A&P, hi

 

That ^ is a really interesting idea; one worth exploring, imo. Would you mind if I make it into a topic over in the Daoist section?

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12 minutes ago, cold said:

Hell hath no fury like a women scorned!

 

:blink:

Tru dat. -_-

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34 minutes ago, Apeiron&Peiron said:

Sure, if you want to.

Thanks! It might be a day or two ^_^

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10 hours ago, Fa Xin said:

I wouldn't quite say Taoism is the opposite of Confucianism.

 

I look at it as Confucianism is the fundamentalist aspect of Taoist philosophy.  Taoism, so they say, is more or less against rules and yet confucianism fabricates huge numbers of rules out of it.  Lao Tzu said something about that how much Tao you have to lose to get to the 'rules'.  A person who I deem to have been an immortal told me that while Confucius was brilliant he didn't have it in his heart, only his head, and that's why he turned out the way he did.

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I know nothing about any contest, and this post was not posted for any such. But now that I know of one I will certainly look into it. But since I am going to do all the work, I will keep the money for myself :P

 

What drove me to start this thread was passages such as these, from the chapter, "Very Small Animal" in "The Te of Piglet":

 

"We might point out here that Taoism has always been fond of Very Small Animals. Aside from animals themselves - which Confucianists as mere things to eat, sacrifice or pull plows and wagons - the Very Small Animals of Confucianist-dominated Chinese society were women, children, and the poor. Stepped on by greedy merchants, landholders and government officials, the poor were at the very bottom of the Confusionist social scale. To put it another way, they weren't on it at all. Women, even those of wealthy families - especially those of wealthy families - weren't much better off as the Confucianists practiced arranged marriage, polygamy, foot-binding (foot-breaking, actually) and other customs so repressive to women that no one in today's West could comprehend them.Children didn't have a very jolly time of it, either. To the staunch Confucianist, children  existed to carry on the family line, unquestionably obey their parents in every matter, and take care of them in their old age - not to have ideas, ideals and interests of their own. Under Confucianism. a father could justifiably kill a son who disobeyed or disgraced him, as such behavior was considered criminal.

 

In contrast, Taoism held that respect was something one earned, and that if Big Daddy misbehaved, his family had the right to rebel. That applied to the emperor and his "family" - his subjects - as well: If the emperor was a tyrant, the people had the right to take him off the throne. High Confusionist officials lived in constant fear of Taoist- and Buddhist-influence secret societies that were ever-ready to defend the stepped-on and attempt to topple the Dragon Throne if conditions became intolerable, which they often did.

 

Taoist sympathies were always with the the Underdog - the outcasts and unfortunates of Chinese society, including those financially ruined by the tricks of corrupt merchants and officials and forced to become "Brothers of the Green Woods" (outlaws) and "Guests of the Rivers and Lakes" (vagabonds). The Chinese martial arts  were developed primarily by Taoists and Buddhist monks, in order to defend the defenseless and enable them to defend themselves. They might better be termed the anti-martial arts, as they were employed not only against armed bandits, but also against the soldiers of warlords and governing bodies, whenever they turned their swords against the weak. While Buddhist martial arts tended to concentrate on the "hard" forms of defense (from which evolved the forceful and direct Karate and Tae Kwon Do), Taoists tended to concentrate on the "soft" forms, such as the fluid and indirect T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Pa Kua Chang (similar to, but more sophisticated than, Judo and Aikido)."

 

It goes on to talk about how the Taoists wrote stories that the Confucianists tried to repress. Later it says, "...the Taoist view was historically more or less the opposite of the Confucianist."

 

What do you folks think? Is this accurate?

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You know, now that I think about it, we have a similar issue in the West right now. We have Christianity, which in its various forms, including Catholicism, have formed and shaped this country and the mindset of its people. But unlike China, we have no opposing religion to Christianity.

 

I think that is a big problem actually. I think we should have had an opposing religion from the start, to stand up for the Native Americans and their beliefs for one thing, and the animals like the buffalo for another.

 

I wonder what kind of effect it would have to start an opposing religion now. I think the damage has already been done, and the best that can be done now in the West is to undo it by going East and getting one's beliefs challenged.

 

Still there is Capitalism, and how that connects to Christianity I'm not sure. But Capitalism certainly needs to be opposed. Except the Capitalists have entire armies, including the police, that are better armed and trained than the average civilian. Same sort of tyranny as went on in China long ago. The few controlling the many. How do you oppose that?

 

Also remembering that resistance to something only makes it stronger, and focus on what is not wanted only perpetuates it. So yeah, that is one doozy of a problem to work out.

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1 hour ago, DreamBliss said:

I know nothing about any contest, and this post was not posted for any such. But now that I know of one I will certainly look into it. But since I am going to do all the work, I will keep the money for myself :P

 

What drove me to start this thread was passages such as these, from the chapter, "Very Small Animal" in "The Te of Piglet":

 

"We might point out here that Taoism has always been fond of Very Small Animals. Aside from animals themselves - which Confucianists as mere things to eat, sacrifice or pull plows and wagons - the Very Small Animals of Confucianist-dominated Chinese society were women, children, and the poor. Stepped on by greedy merchants, landholders and government officials, the poor were at the very bottom of the Confusionist social scale. To put it another way, they weren't on it at all. Women, even those of wealthy families - especially those of wealthy families - weren't much better off as the Confucianists practiced arranged marriage, polygamy, foot-binding (foot-breaking, actually) and other customs so repressive to women that no one in today's West could comprehend them.Children didn't have a very jolly time of it, either. To the staunch Confucianist, children  existed to carry on the family line, unquestionably obey their parents in every matter, and take care of them in their old age - not to have ideas, ideals and interests of their own. Under Confucianism. a father could justifiably kill a son who disobeyed or disgraced him, as such behavior was considered criminal.

 

In contrast, Taoism held that respect was something one earned, and that if Big Daddy misbehaved, his family had the right to rebel. That applied to the emperor and his "family" - his subjects - as well: If the emperor was a tyrant, the people had the right to take him off the throne. High Confusionist officials lived in constant fear of Taoist- and Buddhist-influence secret societies that were ever-ready to defend the stepped-on and attempt to topple the Dragon Throne if conditions became intolerable, which they often did.

 

Taoist sympathies were always with the the Underdog - the outcasts and unfortunates of Chinese society, including those financially ruined by the tricks of corrupt merchants and officials and forced to become "Brothers of the Green Woods" (outlaws) and "Guests of the Rivers and Lakes" (vagabonds). The Chinese martial arts  were developed primarily by Taoists and Buddhist monks, in order to defend the defenseless and enable them to defend themselves. They might better be termed the anti-martial arts, as they were employed not only against armed bandits, but also against the soldiers of warlords and governing bodies, whenever they turned their swords against the weak. While Buddhist martial arts tended to concentrate on the "hard" forms of defense (from which evolved the forceful and direct Karate and Tae Kwon Do), Taoists tended to concentrate on the "soft" forms, such as the fluid and indirect T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Pa Kua Chang (similar to, but more sophisticated than, Judo and Aikido)."

 

It goes on to talk about how the Taoists wrote stories that the Confucianists tried to repress. Later it says, "...the Taoist view was historically more or less the opposite of the Confucianist."

 

What do you folks think? Is this accurate?

 

The part about martial arts is a bit inaccurate, as Karate was developed on Okinawa as a method to defend both against bandits and occupying soldiers. It combined "hard" and "soft" methods at the time, as it was strongly influenced by Southern White Crane Kung Fu and some other Southern Shaolin styles that employed sophisticated methods of generating "internal power", directed against vital points of human subtle anatomy, in line with Daoist concepts. These styles are related with the so-called Wudang styles like Taiji and Bagua.

 

Only after it had reached the Japanese main isle did Karate fully transmute into the linear and more externally power oriented arts as which it became known in the West. In this form, it indeed resembled Buddhist Northern Shaolin Kung Fu more than anything else, and also strongly influenced the development of modern Tae Kwon Do in Korea.

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1 hour ago, DreamBliss said:

You know, now that I think about it, we have a similar issue in the West right now. We have Christianity, which in its various forms, including Catholicism, have formed and shaped this country and the mindset of its people. But unlike China, we have no opposing religion to Christianity.

 

I think that is a big problem actually. I think we should have had an opposing religion from the start, to stand up for the Native Americans and their beliefs for one thing, and the animals like the buffalo for another.

 

I wonder what kind of effect it would have to start an opposing religion now. I think the damage has already been done, and the best that can be done now in the West is to undo it by going East and getting one's beliefs challenged.

 

Still there is Capitalism, and how that connects to Christianity I'm not sure. But Capitalism certainly needs to be opposed. Except the Capitalists have entire armies, including the police, that are better armed and trained than the average civilian. Same sort of tyranny as went on in China long ago. The few controlling the many. How do you oppose that?

 

Also remembering that resistance to something only makes it stronger, and focus on what is not wanted only perpetuates it. So yeah, that is one doozy of a problem to work out.

 

It actually occurred to me not too long ago that Confucianism played a similar role in Asia as official Christianity in the West. The missing equivalent to Daoism could be seen in the Gnostic schools of Christianity, which were ruthlessly fought against and forced underground by the Catholic Church. This started already in the first centuries CE and continued to the eradication of the Cathars in the 14th century, and beyond.

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