Tz’u: Your Heart and Compassion in Taoism

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Tao of Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What does Tz’u mean? What is the concept of the Tao heart?

Tz’u is the Taoist word for a belief in oneself. It means your heart and the compassion you have.

Read more about Tz’u and what it represents.

Tz’u, or Caring and Compassion

Taoists refer to this belief in oneself as Tz’u. This belief comes from the heart, and as Lao-tse wrote in the Tao Te Ching, the “heart” is the first gift from which courage and wisdom grow. We all have the ability to be happy and use our gifts effectively. Some of us just choose not to. This decision is likely influenced by knowledge and cleverness, which come from the brain, not the heart, so they do not involve compassion. A lack of compassion equals a lack of wisdom, and a lack of wisdom equals a lack of courage. 

When you are courageous enough to believe you are special and capable of living harmoniously with the world, you’ll stop seeking outside validation. You’ll believe in the goodness of your power or Tao heart and no longer feel the need to compete. This is the first step in the Tiddely Pom Principle, for as Lao-tse wrote, “A thousand-mile journey starts with one step.”

Wisdom, joy, and bravery are not distant concepts standing at the end of a long tunnel. They are immediately available as soon as you choose to start living with them. If you want to be happy, you must be grateful for what you have and who you are. If you want respect, you must take the first step of giving respect. Conversely, if you want to be unhappy, you should be dissatisfied with yourself and life. 

Whether you live with hope or disillusionment depends on how you use the Tiddely Pom Principle to benefit yourself and the world. The parts of you and the world that will help you be successful are likely already around. You just have to be willing to see them and use your Tz’u. 

Tz’u: Your Heart and Compassion in Taoism

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Benjamin Hoff's "The Tao of Pooh" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The Tao of Pooh summary :

  • How Winnie-the-Pooh perfectly models the principles of Taoism
  • The 6 principles of Taoism reflected in Pooh's adventures
  • How to become Winnie-the-Pooh and unlock a magic inside of you

Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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