"Where are we going?", said Pooh hurrying
after him and wondering whether it was to be an Explore or
"Nowhere," said Christopher Robin.
So they began going there, and after they had walked a
little way, Christopher Robin said:
"What do you like doing best in the world,
(And of course, what Pooh liked doing best was going to
Christopher Robin's house and eating, but since we've already
quoted that, we don't think we need to quote it again.)
"I like that too," said Christopher Robin,
"but what I like doing best is Nothing."
"How do you do Nothing?" asked Pooh, after he
had wondered for a long time.
"Well, it's what people call out at you just as
you're going off to do it, What are you going to do,
Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, Nothing, and then you
go and do it."
"Oh, I see," said Pooh.
"This is a nothing sort of thing that we're doing
"Oh, I see," said Pooh again.
"It means just going along, listening to all the
things you can't hear, and not bothering.
Chuang-tse put it this way:
Consciousness wandered North to the land of Dark Waters
and climbed the Unnoticeable Slope, where he met the
Speechless Non-Doer. "I have three questions for
you," Consciousness said. "First, what thoughts
and efforts will lead us to understanding the Tao? Second,
where must we go and what must we do to find peace in the
Tao? Third, from what point must we start and which road
must we follow in order to reach the Tao? Speechless
Non-Doer gave him no answer.
Consciousness traveled South to the land of the Bright
Ocean and climbed the mountain of Certainty, where he met
the Impulsive Speech-Maker. He asked him the same three
questions. "Here are the answers," Impulsive
Speech-Maker replied. But as soon as he started to speak,
he became confused and forgot what he was talking about.
Consciousness returned to the palace and asked the Yellow
Emperor, who told him, "To have no thought and put
forth no effort is the first step towards understanding
the Tao. To go nowhere and do nothing is the first step
towards finding peace in the Tao. To start from no point
and follow no road is the first step towards reaching the
What Chuang-tse, Christopher Robin and Pooh are describing
is the Great Secret, the key that unlocks the doors of
wisdom, happiness and truth. What is that magic,
mysterious something? Nothing. To the Taoist, Nothing is
something, and Something-- at least the sort of thing that
many consider to be important-- is really nothing at all.
Our explanation of this will attempt to give some sort of
indication of what the Taoists call T'ai Hsu, the
We will begin with an illustration from the writing of
On his way back from the K'un-lun Mountains, the Yellow
Emperor lost the dark pearl of Tao. He sent Knowledge to
find it, but Knowledge was unable to understand it. He
sent Distant Vision, but Distant Vision was unable to
see it. He sent Eloquence, but Eloquence was unable to
Finally, he sent Empty Mind, and Empty Mind came back with
When Eeyore lost his tail, who found it for him? Clever
Rabbit? No. He was busy doing Clever Things. Scholarly
Owl? No. He didn't recognise it when he saw it.
brilliant and witty
dialogue with the beloved
Pooh-bear and his companions,
the author of this
bestseller explains with ease
and aplomb that
being a distant and mysterious concept,
Taoism is as near
and practical to us as our
breakfast bowl. Romp
through the enchanting world
Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking
up invaluable lessons
simplicity and natural living.
More on zen.