Search This Blog


The Ching of Eeyore (with apologies to AA Milne)

(Quotes from the Rosenthal translation of Tao Teh Ching and the Chris Fugate version of Hua Hu Ching)
1. Already There
(In which Eeyore is visiting Winnie the Pooh at his home, discussing the merits of being sad as Pooh finishes his first jar of hunny for the evening.)
"I'd much rather be sad," said Eeyore, "than be happy."
"Why is that?" asked Pooh, examining his pot of hunny.
"At least," sighed Eeyore, "then no one can make you sad when you're already there."
"You have a point there," said Pooh after giving up on getting more hunny out of the pot. "But I have a problem."
"What's that?" asked Eeyore.
"I think there's no more hunny in this pot of mine."
"Are you sad because of that?" asked Eeyore.
"Well, yes," said Pooh, "but..."
"But were you happy when there was hunny in the pot?" asked Eeyore.
"Yes, I guess I was," replied Pooh.
"Are you sadder now that there is no more hunny?"
"Yes, but not really sad."
"But if you were sad when you had more hunny, you wouldn't be sadder now. You'd be just as sad before as you would be after."
"I don't know, Eeyore. I enjoyed the hunny dearly." Pooh frowned, and looked into the hunny pot just in case he missed a little bit of hunny that may have hidden itself out of sight.
"Do you miss not having more hunny?"
"Yes, indeed I do."
"Well then, that's why I'd much rather be sad."
"But Eeyore!" exclaimed Pooh. "You don't like hunny at all."
"It's a good thing too!" declared Eeyore. "I'd be very, very sad if I couldn't have more hunny."
"Cheer up, Eeyore!" said Pooh, throwing away the empty jar. "I'll get another jar of hunny and share it with you."
"Don't bother," said Eeyore, "I don't like hunny anyway."
"Oh," said Pooh in a tiny voice. "Then what do you like?"
"Being sad," said Eeyore.
"Well, you're already there, then," said Pooh, and giggled.
"Yes, I am," admitted Eeyore, who pushed a new jar of hunny toward Pooh Bear.
"Thank you, Eeyore. Would you care to share some with me?"
"No, thank you. Please go right ahead."
"Don't mind if I do." Pooh ate the hunny and smiled.
"Eeyore, you are a nice friend even if you are always sad."
"Thank you, Pooh. You're nice too."
Eeyore grew thoughtful. Then he said to Pooh, "I thought of a poem, Pooh."
"Well, let's hear your poem."
Eeyore cleared his throat and recited:
        When it's daytime, I'm sad.

        When it's night time I'm sad.

        But nothing that happens makes me sad.

        I'm too busy being sad to be affected.

"That was a nice poem, Eeyore," said Pooh, who clapped his hands. Then he wished he didn't, because now both his paws were sticky with hunny. Rather than letting all that hunny go to waste, he started licking his paws.
"Thank you, Pooh. Do you have a poem for me?"
"Me?" asked Pooh. "I haven't much of a brain to tell a good pome. After all, Christopher Robin knocked all the stuffing out of my head climbing up those steps to bed."
"That's ok," said Eeyore. "I don't mind being disappointed." Then he gave Pooh a baleful look.
Now Pooh felt very bad for disappointing his friend. So he thought...

and he thought...

and he thought some more.

"Well," he said finally, "I might have a pome for you somewhere."
Eeyore frowned, and said, "It's about time. Please tell me your poem, Pooh."
"Ok," said Pooh, "It goes something like this, I think."
I am happy eating hunny

and very sad when there is none.

Never let hunny go to waste.

"That's good advice," said Eeyore. "I think I like your poem."
"Does it make you happy to like my poem?" asked Pooh.
Eeyore thought about that question.
"No" came the answer finally.
"Does it make you sad to hear my poem?" asked Pooh.
"No," said Eeyore quietly, "because I'm already there!"
"Quite right," said Pooh, deeply affected by Eeyore's answers. "Oh bother! Now you've gone and done it!"
"Done what?" asked Eeyore.
"You've made me sad!" exclaimed Pooh.
"Well," retorted Eeyore, "if you were sad already, I wouldn't have made you sad."
Pooh thought that one over for a long, long time.
"I think you're right, Eeyore!" he said.
"Good!" said Eeyore. "I'm glad you're seeing things my way."
Then Pooh laughed. Eeyore looked at him sideways.
"Why are you laughing?" he asked.
Pooh stopped laughing.
"Are you truly glad, Eeyore?" he asked?
"That's not fair," declared Eeyore. "I asked you a question first!"
"It's a part of my answer to your question," said Pooh.
"Oh," said Eeyore, who then thought for a bit about Pooh's question.
"Well?" said Pooh finally.
"I suppose I am glad that you agree with me."
"Can you be both glad I agree with you, and always sad?"
Eeyore thought this one over very carefully.
"Since I am already sad, being glad about something won't affect my sadness nor would being pleased about something quite different."
"Do you feel a bit happy when you are glad about something, Eeyore?"
"Then, you can't *always* be sad, could you?"
Eeyore thought about that one for a very long time.
Pooh grew tired waiting for Eeyore to answer. So he put away his pot of hunny. Then he went to the washroom to wash up. Then he put on his nightclothes and got ready for bed.
"You may stay the night, Eeyore," he said to his dear old friend. "But please
don't wake me to tell me your answer."
Rather than answering, Eeyore just nodded his head.
And Winnie the Pooh went to bed.
Early the next morning, Eeyore was still there thinking by the door.
"Hulloa, Eeyore!"
"Please, Pooh!" exclaimed Eeyore. "I'm still thinking."
"Well, please do hurry up!" insisted Pooh. "Today Christopher Robin is coming
to visit."
So Eeyore thought faster...

and faster...

and faster.

Then he said, "I suppose sometimes I don't feel sad at all."
"That's the spirit!" declared Pooh.
"But since I'm already there, nothing makes me sad."
"Oh bother!" exclaimed Pooh, and swatted Eeeyore on his behind as they headed out the door.

Do you wish to free yourself of mental and emotional knots and become one with the Tao? If so, there are two paths available to you.
The first is the path of acceptance. Affirm everyone and everything. Freely extend your goodwill and virtue in every direction, regardless of circumstances. Embrace all things as part of the Harmonious Oneness, and then you will begin to perceive it.
The second path is that of denial. Recognize that everything you see and think is a falsehood, an illusion, a veil over the truth. Peel all the veils away, and you will arrive at the Oneness.
Though these paths are entirely different, they will deliver you to the same place: spontaneous awareness of the Great Oneness. Once you arrive there, remember: it isn't necessary to struggle to maintain unity with it.
All you have to do is participate in it.
- Hua Hu Ching:48(Fugate)

2. The Ching of Eeyore: The Missing Tail Points the Way
Eeyore depicts the dark side of life, the raincloud that always rains on everyone's parade. Yet he is a practical fellow. To deal with disappointments in his life, he hasn't just chosen to be sad; he's already there. Thus is it impossible for great disappointments to upset him and leave him in despair. Winnie the Pooh, on the other hand, deals with life's up and downs as best he can but is sad when disappointed and happy when something pleases him. In essence, he flows with the Tao. Eeyore does not.
Yet together, both Eeyore and Pooh Bear represent the eternal dance of Yin and Yang, their interplay complementing each other. Without Eeyore to care for, Pooh would be happy to eat honey all day. But honey doesn't grow on trees.
Once Pooh tried to get honey from a bees' hive. In the end, he did get honey but got stung. He had to work hard to get what he liked best. Another time, Eeyore lost his tail. It didn't affect him much since he couldn't see his tail except in the brook, (but then it was numb). But it caused much concern among his friends. And even though he was loath to admit it, Eeyore was pleased to get his tail back.
Thus is there much to learn from the adventures of Winnie the Pooh. And, even more treasures may be gleaned by observing the Ching of Eeyore.

On hearing of the Tao,
the wise student's practice is with diligence;
the average student attends to his practice
when his memory reminds him so to do;
and the foolish student laughs.
But we do well to remember
that with no sudden laughter,
there would be no natural way.
Thus it is said,
"There are times when even brightness seems dim;
when progress seems like regression;
when the easy seems most difficult,
and virtue seems empty, inadequate and frail;
times when purity seems sullied;
when even reality seems unreal,
and when a square seems to have corners;
when even great talent is of no avail,
and the highest note cannot be heard;
when the formed seems formless,
and when the way of nature is out of sight".
Even in such times as these,
the natural way still nourishes,
that all things may be fulfilled.
-Tao Teh Ching:41(Rosenthal)

3. The Last Meeting
(In Which Eeyore and Pooh Meet Christopher Robin for The Very Last Time, They Meet His Grand-Daughter and Get a Refitting To Boot)
Both Eeyore and Winnie the Pooh were walking on the road for quite abit when they met an old man sitting down. Upon hearing them approach, the old man smiled.
"Hello, Eeyore! Hello, old Pooh!" he cried. "Nice to see you again!"
"Begging your pardon, sir" said Pooh, not knowing who the old man is, "but who might you be?"
Eeyore tugged on Pooh's arm lightly.
"Please, Eeeyore!" said Pooh. To the old man, he said, "I'm sorry, sir, but my friend here wants a private word with me."
"Heh," chuckled the old man, "like old times, eh? Well, you and Eeyore talk amongst yourselves. I've been waiting a long time for the both of you and my patience grows with my age."
Whispering with Eeyore, Pooh says to him, "Now what do you want? I'm curious as to why this old man thinks he knows us. But I don't recall ever meeting him before."
"Of course you have!" declares Eeyore. "But you may have forgotten. It has been a long, long time."
"Well, I don't remember who he is. Perhaps we should ask."
"I remember him very well," insists Eeyore, "but if you want to ask him instead of me, then go right ahead."
"I'm sorry, Eeyore," said Pooh. "How rude of me! Please tell me who the old man is."
"Best you ask him yourself, old friend," suggested Eeyore. "It has been many, many years since he last came to visit."
"You don't suppose it's Christopher Robin?" asks Pooh. "Why, the last I saw him, he was a young lad of 8 or 9 or 10."
"Excuse me, Winnie the Pooh?" said the old man. "I couldn't help but overhear. When I left you last, I was 9 and a half (or was it 10?). Yes! It is Christopher Robin come to visit for the last time!"
Pooh walked slowly up to hug Christopher Robin. As he reached up, his left arm fell off.
"Oh my! I seem to be coming apart!" he exclaimed.
"That is because you are old, too!" said Christopher Robin. "I have wrinkles and white hair, and you are losing your stitches."
"This is horrible!" wailed Pooh. "What am I to do with one good arm? Can you get your mother to sew me up as good as new?"
"I'm sorry to tell you," replied Christopher Robin, "but my mother died a good many years ago."
"Is the old house gone too?" asked Eeyore. "Pooh lost alot of stuffings when you bumped him up the stairs when you went to bed each night as a boy."
"Yes it is," replied the old man, sadly. "They've torn it down to make way for a superhighway."
"You wouldn't happen to have a wife or a daughter to sew me up?" asked Pooh, whose stuffings were starting to leak out of the hole where his left arm was. "I also seem to have developed a slow leak of stuffing."
"Well, my grand-daughter might sew you up if you ask her nicely," said Christopher Robin.
"Where is she?" asked Pooh. "I think this is a Big Emergency now."
"Here she comes now," said the old man, pointing to a young woman of 20. "Eeyore and Winnie the Pooh, meet my grand-daughter Christina."
"Hello, Christina!" said both Eeyore and Winnie the Pooh as one.
"Why hello!" said Christina. "Pleasant surprise to meet you both. Grandpa has always spoken highly of you two."
"Thanks very much," said Eeyore, trying very hard to smile despite already being sad.
"How do you do?" said Pooh. "Your grandpa mentioned you know how to sew."
"Indeed. But I can tell by looking at you that you will need to be redone. Your covering is old and I don't think a proper mending will do you justice, Pooh Bear."
"What about me?" asked Eeyore. "I think my tail might fall off again."
Christina looked Eeeyore over.
"Hm... You may need a redoing too."
"I suppose we all need a refit," said Eeyore.
"Indeed," said Pooh.
"Indeed," agreed Christopher.
And that was that.
Later on, at Christina's sewing room in her apartment across the brook, Pooh stood before the mirror by the corner examining himself.
"You did a good job refitting me, Christina," said Pooh. "And Eeyore, too."
"Thank you," said Christina.
"Will Christopher Robin ever come back to visit us again?" asked Eeyore.
"No, I'm sorry. He passed away when I had taken you both apart at the seams."
"Will you come and visit us at our home one day, Christina?" asked Pooh.
"I'd be glad to," she declared. "And please bring over a few of your friends if they need a refitting."
"We shall do that!"
"Bye bye, dears!" said Christina and hugged both Eeyore and Pooh.
As both Pooh and Eeyore walked back to his home, Eeyore sighed heavily.
"What's wrong, Eeyore?" asked Pooh.
"Nothing. It's funny losing an old friend and us both living on."
"Yes, this is true," agreed Pooh. "Death is such a sad thing."
"So permanent too," added Eeyore. "I'm glad we never die."
"So am I," said Pooh, "but most of all I'm glad that Christina is such a honey!"
"Yes," said Eeyore, "it was sweet of her to mend us."
"Mend us!?" exclaimed Pooh. "She did more than mend us; she made us new."
"Realistic too," agreed Eeyore, wagging his tail. "Remember when my tail was just stuck on with a pin?"
"Indeed I do. I seem to recall that your last tail was found by me."
"It was used as a knocker for Owl's door."
"Well, he won't be able to use this one as a knocker," said Pooh. Then he thought a bit.
"I wonder if the teeth were such a good idea," mused Pooh.

In ancient times, people lived holistic lives. They didn't overemphasize the intellect, but integrated mind, body, and spirit in all things. This allowed them to become masters of knowledge rather than victims of concepts. If a new invention appeared, they looked for the troubles it might cause as well as the short-cuts it offered. They valued old ways that had been proven effective, and they valued new ways if they could be proven effective.
If you want to stop being confused, then emulate these ancient folk; join your body, mind, and spirit in all you do. Choose food, clothing, and shelter that accords with nature. Rely on your own body for transportation. Allow your work and your recreation to be one and the same. Do exercise that develops your whole being and not just your body. Listen to music that bridges the three spheres of your being. Choose leaders for their virtue rather than their wealth or power. Serve others and cultivate yourself simultaneously. Understand that true growth comes from meeting and solving the problems of life in a way that is harmonizing to yourself and to others.
If you can follow these simple old ways, you will be continually renewed.
- Hua Hu Ching:43

4. Live Simple To Be Renewed
Both Eeyore and Winnie the Pooh live very simple lives. Thus they seem to appeal to each new generation of children. This is also the appeal of cartoon characters in the Sunday Comics as well as in the new comics available in the store. These cartoon characters are just reinventions of old myths, written and drawn in such a way as to be contemporary to their fan. By doing so, the artists and writer try to make the imagination of young people of any age come alive. Yet Winnie the Pooh is in need of repair because all the Christopher Robins have grown up only to die of old age while he and Eeyore live on.
Still, the following generations can reinvent Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore too. They represent the Yin and the Yang, and as familiar archetypes, they guide our dreams, our goals, our way of life. Indeed, Winnie and Eeyore appeal the child within. They keep us young. It would be no embarrassment to reread the stories of Winnie's adventures in the world of our own imaginations. Perhaps when we're older, we'll understand what those adventures really mean.
For it is because of the simpleness of the stories that Winnie the Pooh's adventures appeal to us.

The natural way is the way of the sage,
serving as his dwelling,
providing his centre deep within,
whether in his home or journeying.
Even when he travels far,
he is not separate
from his own true nature.
Maintaining awareness of natural beauty,
he still does not forget his purpose.
Although he may dwell in a grand estate,
simplicity remains his guide,

for he is full aware, that losing it,
his roots as well would disappear.
So he is not restless,
lest he loses the natural way.
Similarly, the people's leader
is not flippant in his role, nor restless,
for these could cause the loss
of the roots of leadership.
- Tao-teh-ching:26

5. Accepting Change
(In which Piglet visits the new Pooh and ends up getting refitted.)
Now it was a few days later that Piglet came to Pooh Bear's home to visit. He came to the door and saw a sign that read:
Welkum too Pooh's Plays!

Dont noK - Just wok in!

But it was very, very faded and the ink had run. For it had been many, many years since Christopher Robin had written the sign.
Of course, Piglet couldn't read it so he just knocked on Pooh's door.
Knock! Knock!
He would have used the door knocker but that had fallen off many years ago. Besides, Pooh had forgotten Just where he left it.
"Who's there?" asked Pooh from within his home.
"It's me Piglet!" exclaimed Piglet.
And Winnie the Pooh opened the door.
"Who are you?" asked Piglet, for he did not know that Pooh had gone to get refitted.
This bear was different from Pooh. He even had Real Teeth! Piglet was rather startled but had taken bravery lessons from Tigger.
"I'm Winnie, dear Piglet."
"Are you sure you're Winnie the Pooh?" asked Piglet.
"Sure, I'm sure I'm sure!" said Pooh. "Don't you recognize me?"
"No," declared Piglet, "I've never met you before."
"Sure you have," said Pooh, "many times."
"Well, you can't be Pooh," insisted Piglet.
"Why's that?" asked Pooh.
"You have teeth."
"Oh," said Pooh, "indeed I do."
"So you can't be Pooh," insisted Piglet, again.
Winnie the Pooh pondered upon this point for a moment.
"Listen, Piglet," said Pooh, finally, "if I can prove I am Pooh, then will you believe it's me?"
"I might," said Piglet, hesitantly.
"Well, come on in then!" said Pooh.
"Ok, if you promise you won't eat me," said Piglet.
"I won't eat you," said Pooh, "in spite of having teeth. I don't bite."
And so, Piglet entered Winnie the Pooh's home with some reluctance. While inside Pooh's home, he made sure he was quite close to the door, just in case.
"I think," said Pooh, "that I shall start by sharing some hunny with you, Piglet. For you must be really hungry after such a long, long trip all the way from home."
Saying that, Pooh went to his cupboard to get out a pot of hunny. But he could not find a pot, neither here nor there in his cupboard.
"Oh, bother," he said, rather sadly, "I seem to have run out of hunny, again. And with Christopher Robin no longer with us I'm afraid it might be A Very Long Time before we get any. Unless..."
"Unless what?" asked Piglet.
"Unless you come with me to Christina's," replied Pooh.
"Who's that?"
"Why, it's Christopher Robin's grand-daughter, who is Very Sweet (and Such a Honey Too!)"
"Well," said Piglet, "I don't really know. You haven't convinced me that you are Winnie the Pooh."
"Please trust me, Piglet" said Pooh.
"I would," said Piglet, "if you didn't do that."
"Do what?" asked Pooh, scratching his head.
"Smile like that," said Piglet.
"Smile like what?" asked Pooh.
"Smile like that!" exclaimed Piglet. "It shows all your teeth."
"Oh," said Pooh, and kept his mouth shut.
So Pooh and Piglet walked all the way to Christina's apartment on the Other Side of the brook. During this walk, Piglet followed at a safe distance, just in case. Even though he was tired walking all that way, he never said anything.
Finally, outside Christina's door stood Winnie the Pooh and Piglet too.
And Pooh pushed the button that buzzed her apartment.
Buzz! went the button.
Piglet watched from a very safe distance.
"Hello," came Christina's voice from somewhere.
Piglet jumped and was very very frightened. But still he didn't say anything.
"Hello, Christina!" said Pooh. "I've come to pay a visit with a good friend,
"Please come right up!" said Christina from somewhere.
Buzz! went the button again.
And Pooh open the door to the apartment just at that moment.
Quickly both he and Piglet scrambled in.
At Christina's apartment door, Pooh knocked.
"Please do come in!" said Christina from within. "The door is unlocked."
And both Piglet and Pooh entered.
"I'm in my study!" said Christina.
At the doorway to the study, Christina stood over something that looked like a very ferocious beast.
"Oh my!" exclaimed Pooh. "What is that?"
Piglet shrank away from the sight of such a beast. It was not turning out to be his day at all.
"Oh! This is just part of my work," said Christina. "I'm a taxadermist."
"A T-taxi T-termite?" said Piglet. "What's that?"
"A taxidermist stuffs dead animals for a living," explained Christina. "I also gave Pooh his new look."
"Though, according to Piglet, you make me too real," said Pooh, quietly.
"Well, I sort of like your teeth, Edward," said Christina.
"You do?"
"Yes, it gives you character. Besides, I think of you as one of my best works."
"Well, I am flattered," said Pooh.
Christina bent closer to Piglet and examined him closely.
"Oh dear!" she exclaimed.
"What? What?" cried Piglet.
"I'm afraid you need some mending too, Piglet."
"W-will it hurt?"
"It's quite painless, I assure you."
"Quite," agreed Winnie the Pooh. "I've never felt better!"
"W-well, if that's the case, then sure!" said Piglet.
And that's how Piglet was refitted like Eeyore and Pooh.
"Are you convinced I'm Pooh?" asked Pooh later as he and Piglet headed home.
"Yes, quite," replied Piglet. "I'm also glad to have met Christopher Robin's grand-daughter."
"Oh yes!" gushed Pooh. "She is a honey!"
"Though," said Piglet, ruefully, "I wonder if these tusks were stretching things a bit."
Pooh stopped to look Piglet over.
Then he said, "Well, as she said, they do give you more character. It's like my teeth. Now I can eat more than just hunny."
"I suppose you are right," agreed Piglet, somewhat reluctantly.
"Well then," said Pooh, "that's settled then."
And they both continued back to home.

The above story makes a very good point.
At first, Piglet resisted change. He did not like the new look of Pooh and had to learn to trust him enough to accompany Pooh to Christina's place. But once Piglet saw the new look of himself, he rapidly embraced change.
While this is just a story, in real life we are sometimes afraid of change.
For anyone unused to change, it is such a frightening thing. Yet, like the new Pooh, change does not bite. It does not hurt as much as the pain one does to oneself trying to avoid change at all costs. Sadly though, some of us never learn. Sometimes we tend to avoid change when it could do us the most good until it is too late. Then we end up lamenting it all.
What use is it to resist change then?
All that wasted effort could be better used to usher in change and adapt with it. Then life becomes less of a struggle and more of a joy.

Originally created on or before 2007-01-17 04:50

No comments: