Winnie-the-Buddhist

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

This Eeyore Hum was much more Discouraging than the Owlish Hum he had hummed before, so he decided that it would be a Very Bad Hum to hum out loud to Piglet. But even though he hummed it just to himself, it was bringing him to the Sad Conclusion that they might never be good Buddhists and find themselves a Wakening at all.

But Piglet wasn’t paying any attention to Pooh for there were noises around the corner on the path before them. Unexpected noises. Unfamiliar noises. Noises that made him apprehensive at first, but then made him say, “Oh.”

And then, “I do believe—.”

And then, excitedly, “Pooh, Pooh, do you hear what I hear? I think it’s Christopher Robin.”

And suddenly Pooh felt that this was turning out to be a much better Buddhist day than it had been, and that maybe they would find their Wakening after all. For there, indeed, when they had turned the corner of the path, was Christopher Robin coming in their direction.

“Christopher Robin! Christopher Robin!” they called out excitedly as they went rushing up to hug him. “We’ve been Buddhist all morning and looking for a Wakening.” — “Because Owl said—” “But then Eeyore—“ “And we weren’t—“

So Christopher Robin waited until they had calmed down and could tell him everything that had happened in its Proper Order. When they had finished, he wanted to laugh and laugh out loud, but they looked so dejected that he only laughed to himself and said, “Oh, Pooh. And Piglet. I do love you so.”

As that made them feel much better, he took them back to their Thoughtful Place and sat them down and explained everything he could remember about Buddhism and Awakening in very short words that even a Very Small Animal and a Bear with Very Little Brain could understand. Pooh and Piglet said, “Oh,” and “I see,” and “But I thought—” so many times that they began to feel like Very Foolish Animals Indeed. But then Christopher Robin cheered them up by saying, “Still, what you did was the Wisest Thing any animal could do. Given the circumstances.”

“Really?” said Piglet, brightening.

“Do you mean that?” said Pooh, feeling a little more like That Sort of Bear again. “Given the circum—whatever they were?”

“Yes, of course,” said Christopher Robin. “When you don’t understand something, the Wisest Thing is to ask questions. Just be more careful about who you ask them to.”

“But who do we ask,” asked Piglet, “when you’re not here to ask them to?”

“Ask questions of yourself.”

“But which questions should we ask?”

“Oh, questions like: ‘What am I doing right now?’ and ‘Is it making me happy and the other animals happy?’ and ‘Is that a Long Happy or just a Short Happy?’ And then you do only the things that make a Long Happy. Can you try that?”

“Yes, of course,” said Piglet bravely. “I’ll try.”

But Pooh was stopped for a moment by the thought that even just a Longish Happy might mean having to share some of his pots of honey before he had fully examined their contents. Then he thought of how much he trusted Christopher Robin, so he finally said, “So will I.”

Illustration: A thousand bows of the deepest and Most Serious Sort to Ernest Shepard

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