Winnie-the-Buddhist

In Which P. B. Law Imagines What Would Happen If Christopher Robin Taught the Forest Animals about BuddhismP. B. Law

Piglet didn’t feel quite prepared to catch a Wakening, especially if long words were required, but he didn’t like saying No to Pooh, so he said Yes in as agreeable a way as he could muster. Then they said Good-bye to Owl, who added helpfully as they were walking away that they might also want to try “Mental Concomitants.” But when they had gone off far enough that he couldn’t hear them, Pooh whispered to Piglet, “I don’t want to be disrespectful to anyone who knows how to spell TUESDAY, and of course Owl’s brain is very fine for Keeping Things, but it’s not so good at Putting Them Together in a Useful Way. I don’t feel he really knows as much about Wakenings as he lets on. Why don’t we go over to Eeyore’s place? Perhaps he will have some more Helpful ideas about how a Wakening might be found.”

Piglet agreed that this was a splendid idea, as Eeyore was the most gradual and un-Tigger-like animal in the Forest. As they walked along, a little Wondering Hum started coming to Pooh. After humming it to himself first, to make sure all the words had found their proper places, he hummed it aloud to Piglet in a wondering sort of way:

If a Wak’ning gradually came upon a Pooh,
Would it say Hallo or holler Boo?
   Or ask a tricky question
   As would curdle his digestion,
Such as “Are there Whats?” or maybe “What’s a Who?”

If a Wak’ning rudely ran into a Bear,
Would it pat his fur or pull his hair?
   Or offer him some honey
   And tell him something funny,
Such as “Now is Here, but Nothing’s Anywhere”?

If a sudden Wak’ning dropped down from the sky
Would it land on Piglet or nearby?
   Or quiz him with a quiz
   About what isn’t and what is
And why his “Me” is really not his “I”?

If a Spotted Wak’ning perched up in a tree,
Would it pounce on you or jump on me?
   Or say it’s all the same,
   That we’re all of us to blame,
Because He’s You are I am They are We?

Pooh was about to hum the first verse again, to make a Round sort of Hum, when he realized that perhaps this was not the best Hum to be humming to Piglet, given the circumstances. After all, sometimes something might seem very hummish when it’s inside you, but when it’s outside and other people can listen to it, you realize it wasn’t so very hummish after all.

Piglet seemed to be thinking the same sort of thoughts, for he said to Pooh, “You know, Pooh, I don’t think a Wondering Hum is the Hum we need just now. I would rather you thought of a Comforting Hum or an Encouraging Hum or a How-Brave-You-Are-Piglet kind of Hum. And besides, now that I think of it, even though Gradual Wakenings might be fond of Piglets, there are two kinds of Fond, you know. There’s the how-nice-to-see-you-won’t-you-have-some-of-my-haycorns kind of Fond. And then there’s the my-my-how-tasty-you-look kind of Fond. And how will we know which kind of Fond it is until it’s already too late and I’ve just remembered I have something very urgent to do at my house just about now….”

“Don’t worry,” said Pooh. “We’re both in a wondering sort of way because Owl has got us all confused. But I’m sure that when we see Eeyore he will end our confusion, and then a Very Encouraging Hum will come to me.” So Piglet decided that the urgent thing wasn’t so very urgent after all, and they continued on their way.

When they came upon Eeyore, they found him sitting next to his thistles, talking to himself. “Ideals,” he said. “Sweet nothings. Pathetic.”

“Hallo, Eeyore!” called Piglet. “We’re looking for a Wakening!”

“Well, you’re not going to find it if you look for it. You’re already as awakened as you’re ever going to be. Which isn’t much. Ha-ha. That’s a joke.”

“But we don’t want to be a weekend,” said Pooh. “Maybe you didn’t hear us properly. We’re looking for a Wakening, and we don’t know where to look. Or what to do with it if we find it.”

“You look inside your self. Which doesn’t exist,” Eeyore replied. “That’s another little joke. This Buddhism business is very humorous, if you ask me.”

“But we thought—,” said Pooh.

“We wanted—,” said Piglet.

“That’s the problem,” said Eeyore. “All this thinking and wanting. You want things to Make Sense so you can make them better than they are, but that only makes them worse. All you can do is Accept that things are Just The Way They Are and can’t get any better than they are, and stop all this silly thinking.”

But all three of them were now thinking very busily to themselves. Piglet was thinking that thinking and wanting were sometimes very Helpful, if you put them together in the Right Way, and Pooh was thinking that maybe Eeyore wasn’t turning out to be so Encouraging after all, while Eeyore was thinking, “No grey matter in their heads, these two. Just grey fluff.”

But before any of them could say anything, Rabbit came rushing into Eeyore’s clearing with a Very Important Air about him, a Captainish sort of Air, an If It Weren’t for Me, Nothing Would Ever Get Done Around Here sort of Air. “Hallo, Eeyore!” he called. “Oh, and you’re here too, Pooh. And Piglet. Excellent.”

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