ARE WE GOING? said Pooh hurrying after him and wondering
whether it was to be an Explore or a 'What shall I do about you
"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, Pooh?"
(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
"Well, it's what people call out at you just as they'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 we're doing now."
"Oh, I see," said Pooh again.
"It means just going along, listening to all the things you
cannot hear, and not bothering.
Chuang Tzu 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
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 Tao."
What Chuang Tzu, Christopher Robin and Pooh are describing is
the Great Secret, the key that unlocks the doors of wisdom,
happiness and truth. What is that magical, 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 "Great Nothing."
We will begin with an illustration from the writing of Chuang
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 describe it.
Finally, he sent Empty Mind, and Empty Mind came back with the