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Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu)
Zhuangzi translations online (this site) Home
Translations of the complete text, plus excerpts and quotations. Basics
Zhuangzi [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
By Harold Roth (Brown University).  Considers the history of the text, the philosophy of the "Inner," "Outer," and "Miscellaneous" chapters, and the debate among scholars over how to classify the text (Roth is of the "mystic" school).
"So, in the last analysis, what is it that holds together this disparate collection of materials that were written over a span of more than a century?  All the various authorial voices in the text (except possibly the Yangist) share a common interest in cultivating the spontaneous 'flowing mode' of cognition that is symbolized throughout the work by the 'heavenly side' of human beings."
Zhuangzi (Chuang-Tzu, 309-298 BCE) [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
Steve Coutinho's (Towson State University, MD) excellent textual analysis and summaries of the "Inner Chapters." Literature
"The Mohists believe that social harmony can only be achieved when we have clarity of distinctions, especially evaluative distinctions: true/false, good/bad, beneficial/harmful.  Zhuangzi's position is that this kind of sharp and rigid thinking can result ultimately only in harming our natural tendencies (xing), which are themselves neither sharp nor rigid."
Tao of...
Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu)
Alan Fox (University of Delaware, Philosophy), chapter from Great Thinkers of the Eastern World.
"As we shall see, Zhuangzi's own approach can be described as perspectival--that is, the truth value of any claim is related to context or perspective, and must always be carefully qualified in order to have any validity at all."
Reflex and Reflectivity: Wuwei in the Zhuangzi
Journal article by Alan Fox discusses various translations and Zhuangzi's ideal: the "perfectly well-adjusted person."
"I would say therefore that these readings are somewhat problematic, in two ways.  First of all, representing dao as some kind of abstract, transcendental entity with which the sage merges overlooks the emphasis on concrete immanence found throughout the text."
Iconoclastic Approaches to Zhuangzi
Summary of a 1999 conference panel, with abstracts of four papers: Chad Hansen: "Is Anything Left of LaoZhuang Daoism?"; Paul Kjellberg: "Zhuangzi's Negative Project"; Jonathan R. Herman: "I and Dao: A Buberian Reading of Zhuangzi"; Kuang-ming Wu: "Zhuangzi the Irenic, Ironic Iconoclast"
Relativistic Skepticism in the Zhuangzi
Chad Hansen (Hong Kong University, Philosophy) lays out his case.  In the final analysis, it's a political issue.
"I attempt here to defend my classifying familiar arguments and lines of thought in the Zhuangzi as relativist skepticism against recent accusations that the interpretation is philosophically incoherent.  Further I will explain how the Zhuangzi that emerges can satisfy our nostalgic urge to find 'guiding wisdom' in the text."
Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi) [Hansen]
A lengthy work in progress, part of Chad Hansen's Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy.  Zhuangzi as "skeptical perspectivalist," with some philosophical and practical implications.
The Status of Lao-Zhuang Daoism
Hansen's response to the Mawangdui discoveries and the deconstructive scholarship that followed.  "Lao-Zhuang," "Huang-Lao": which is the "real" Daoism?
"I shall argue that the orphaning of Zhuangzi is not required by the new story - on the contrary, it should elevate Zhuangzi in the pantheon of Lao-Zhuang philosophy... Later I will argue for retaining Lao-Zhuang as the correct identification of Daoism."
Zhuangzi - Intellectual Background
Dreams and Advice
Is Zhuangzi an Intuitionist?
Indexicality: the Key
Three in the Morning: Completion and Defect
Debating and Winning: Is There a Pragmatic Solution?
Chad Hansen's superb lecture notes on Zhuangzi.  Some samples:
"...Indexicals are terms whose reference depends on the context of utterance... even Chad Hansen is indexical as I discovered when I did a search for my own home page...
...Perspectivalism seems to have the coherence problem that it must declare itself 'merely another perspective.'  That is all perspectivalism seems able to say.  It can't amount to saying something is wrong with realism--and if it does it can translate only into 'something is wrong
from perspectivalism's perspective.'  But of course it is!..."
Zhuangzi and the Daoist Antithesis
...to Mencius's Confucianism.  One more from Chad Hansen. 
"Zhuangzi, in the above passage makes explicit the point implicit in Laozi's analysis.  The real and conventional are so mixed and intertwined in our perspectives, there is no real hope of disentangling them to find the purely natural shi [this:right] and fei [not:wrong].  What seems natural to us, is a result of applying a scheme of distinctions that we base on a set of presupposed values.  If we isolate any of those values, we also do so from some perspective.  If we say nature builds certain preferences into the heart and therefore we should cultivate them, we are showing a preference for the natural heart over, say, the natural stomach."
Resources For Chuang Tzu
Faculty of Lawrence University (WI) guidelines for teaching a freshman course on the Zhuangzi.
"I personally like to begin teaching the Chuang Tzu with an oral reading and general discussion of the Butterfly dream... I am careful to have them see what the book doesn't take up as well as what it does: it doesn't question whether there is an external reality or not, nor does it spend much time attempting to define the nature of reality.  Instead, it raises a lot of questions about how people conceptualize and respond to reality."  [Frank Doeringer]
The Zhuangzi [notes]
Nicholas F. Gier's (University of Idaho, Philosophy) lecture notes include quotes from various commentators on the Inner Chapters.  More Gier notes on Zhuangzi here.
"Zh's illumination is like turning on the lights in a room where all the individuals have been shining flashlights on only parts of the room.  Here is where he breaks company with Derrida.  A Heaven-eye's view.  The sage does not have to live there forever.  No, she can re-enter the world preaching this heavenly perspective."
A New Interpretation of Nietzshe's "The Riddle and the Vision"
Gier compares Zarathustra's vision with Zhuangzi's.
"Zarathustra's powers are very similar to Zhuangzi's zhi ren: 'Now I am light, now I fly... now a god dances through me.'  (Zarathustra's bright flame and his power to fly is the Nietzschean equivalent of the spiritual enhancement (shenming) of the Daoist sage.)"
Philip J. Ivanhoe, "Zhuangzi on Skepticism, Skill, and the Ineffable Dao"
Summary of this 1993 Ivanhoe (Boston University, Philosophy) article by student Steven Garner (University of Oregon, Religion), edited by Professor Mark Unno.  Zhuangzi as epistemological skeptic ("in a limited sense").
"His perspectivalism doesn't lead to nihilism because he believes in an alternate source of knowledge that can be attained through spontaneous intuitions."
Summary, P. J. Ivanhoe, "Zhuangzi's Conversion Experience"
In a short essay, Bryan Gates, another student of Unno's, paraphrases the Zhuangzi's story of the magpie and the mantis, and provides "three interpretations of the meaning of this story using three different translations."
Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu Compared
David H. Cheng (William Paterson University, Philosophy) notes similarities and divergences in the Laozi and Zhuangzi texts, recounts numerous stories and verses to illustrate his ideas, and suggests that the differences are great enough that perhaps the two philosophers "ought to be studied separately."
"The ways in which their views differ reflect not only the different societies and times in which they lived, but more importantly, their personalities... Chuang Tzu, being a realistic philosopher, believed that softness and weakness were not traits that could be used to govern.  His only choice was to go along with the king."
Typifying the Relationship of Taoist Practitioners to the Human World in Chuang-Tzu and Lao-Tzu
Nick Shere's (Brown University) term paper on the contrasting conceptions of the sage/ruler in Zhuangzi and Laozi.
"...the CT [Zhuangzi] moves the Taoist figure away from the center of things, toward the margin, and shows an aversion to ascribing special powers and knowledge to sages and rulers, instead using simple folk to instruct them, which not only levels out the hierarchy, it gives a degree of epistemological privilege to the commoner's perspective."
Zhuangzi -- The non-Post-Nietzschean Perspectivist
This 2002 senior essay by David Atkinson won honors at Sewanee, The University of the South (TN).  Fine-grained analysis compares the "perspectivism" of Nietzsche with Zhuangzi's "contingency" mode, and critiques Hansen's position.
"Insofar as 'perspectivism' is acknowledged as Nietzschean in origin, and so long as Nietzsche's development of this perspectivism is a means to facilitate an adequate account of truth, Zhuangzi cannot rightly be called a perspectivist unless he too can be shown to be engaged in developing an account of truth.  This is not the case."
Session 88: Who is it That Rouses Them Forth? 
Abstracts of four presentations from a session subtitled "Mysticism, Perspectivism, and Illumination in Zhuang Zi's 'Qiwulun'" (second chapter), by Scott Cook, Yuet Keung Lo, Harold D. Roth, and Brook Ziporyn.  From a 1997 Association for Asian Studies conference.
"If a relativist claims that, since all claims are relative to perspective, no claim can be right, he is contradicting himself, for this relativist claim too cannot be right.  If, however, like Zhuang Zi, the relativist claims that, since all claims are relative to some perspective, all claims must be right, there is no contradiction: for this relativist claim itself, by its own standards, must also be right."  [Brook Ziporyn]
Introduction and Notes for a Complete Translation of the Chuang Tzu
This excerpt from Sino-Platonic Papers, by Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies), gives some idea of the difficulties involved in translating Zhuangzi.
"...an obscure ancient work such as the Chuang Tzu has always been inaccessible to all but a minute percentage of the Chinese Population... it is book language only, a dead language... that for more than two thousand years has not been capable of being understood when read aloud unless the auditor had previously memorized the passage in question."
Review of Hiding the World in the World
Eric Sean Nelson (University of Massachusettes - Lowell, Philosophy) reviews a 2003 collection of Uneven Discourses on the Zhuangzi, edited by Scott Cook (Grinnell College).  From the Journal of Chinese Philosophy.
"[Brook] Ziporyn challenges Hansen's assertion of the incompatibility of 'mystical' and 'skeptical/relativist' tendencies by arguing that the Zhuangzi does not establish a unicentric but rather an 'omnicentric' holism.  The whole is not ordered from one privileged or absolute center but rather each point in any whole is itself a center."
Through Detachment to Vision: Chuang Tzu and Meister Eckhart
By Joseph Wong, theologian and monk of New Camaldoli.  Summary of a paper he presented at a Camaldolese Institute symposium, in which he compares the two mystics and finds "similar views of the relation they expressed between emptiness/detachment and light/vision."
Ch'an and Taoist Mirrors: Reflections on Richard Garner's "Deconstructions of the Mirror..."
1985 journal article by Dan Lusthaus (University of Missouri, Religious Studies) discusses (in part) Zhuangzi's conception of the "mirror" metaphor.
"Though Chuang Tzu only uses the term 'mirror' ten times in his text, it is implied throughout.  Most commentators see the [mirror] not as incidental but as central to Chuang Tzu's vision.  In the splendid partial translation which has recently come out by A. C. Graham, Graham goes so far as to say that the mirror metaphor is the principle underlying Chuang Tzu."
The Butterfly Dream
Article by C. W. Chan from The Philosopher online magazine.  Considers the meaning of Zhuangzi's butterfly dream, also R. E. Alinson's view.
"Having concluded that reality is subjective and dream is objective, Nietzsche did not say that we should regard dreams as some nocturnal fantasies we should dismiss.  Instead, he advises us that we should use them as a guide in our daily activities.  Similarly with Chuang Tzu..."
From the Butterfly's Dream to the Ascension to the Realm of Eternal Wandering
Irina Ivascu (Radio Bucharest) draws "A Parallel between Liezi and Zhuangzi" in her 2001 article from The Romanian Journal of Chinese Studies.  Compares and extends Zhuangzi's and Liezi's conceptions of dreaming (and illusion and relativity and consciousness and forgetting...).  [Popup alert]
"Another suggestion which we may gather from the image of the butterfly is that of floating, floating on the wings of imagination, or free floating through the world, according to the principles of free wandering.  Just like the butterfly follows the currents of air, man should follow the interior principle of the world, passing with serenity from one stage to another, from wakefulness to dream, from life to death, without claiming to make judgments from the one-sided perspective of one of the two states."
Zhuangzi's Crazy Wisdom & Da(o) Da(o) Spirituality
Being Chapter 4 from Max Cafard's (surreal anarchist writer/scholar) book The Surre(gion)alist Manifesto. Click through to read all six online sections of the chapter, which engagingly proclaims Zhuangzi as a Dada-anarchist writer.
"Yes, the radical spontaneity of Daoism links it to Dadaism.  Daodao is Dada and vice versa.  Tristan Tzara [founder of Dadaism] in fact said that Zhuangzi 'was as dada as we are.'  Daoist spirituality is Dada spirituality.  Zhuangzi's Daoism, like Dada, breaks down all the barriers, wanders off the path, and crosses all the boundaries.  It takes us into wild, uncharted regions of nature, culture, and psyche."
Tolerance: Chuang-Tzu's Epistemological Approach
Using his own translation of Zhuangzi, Zhang Xiangming (Confucius Institute, Qufu Teachers University, China) argues that "the epistemology of Chuang-tzu represents the spirit of tolerance," and that "tolerance is not relativism."  From The Culture Mandala online journal.
"Chuang-tzu says: 'Forming one's own judgement without one's prejudices being involved is just like starting today but arriving yesterday, that is, entirely impossible.'  That is to say, having a judgement means having a prejudice and abolishing prejudice means abolishing judgement.  Therefore, an individual's cognition is inseparable from his or her prejudice."
Zhuangzi's Point of View about Language
Florentina Visan's (University of Bucharest) scholarly 2001 journal article on Zhuangzi's shifting bounds of language and knowledge.  [Popup alert]
"The subject needs only to free himself from the trap of adhering to only one point of view and to open himself to alternatives, to the multiple perspectives.  This symbolic gesture is performed by Zhuangzi at the level of writing, by adopting a reversible language, and at the level of the telescopic text in which one area casts light on another."
The Tao of Difference: Zhuang Tzu's Deconstructionism
She Bipeng's chapter from the online book Philosophy and Modernization in China grapples with Zhuangzi's language logic.  From the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy site (Washington DC).
"The strategy that Zhuang Tzu used to destroy the dichotomy of language is also called 'deconstructionism.'  Like Jacques Derrida, Zhuang Tzu started with the conceptual hierarchy, and showed that the so-called superior (Being, Life, Here, I, etc.) has always already implicated the inferior (Nothingness, Death, There, Thing, etc.) which is the presupposition of the former."
"Knack Stories" Revisited
2001 journal article by Dinu Luca (University of Bucharest).  Through skillful analyses of Zhuangzi's butcher and wheelwright stories, Luca demonstrates that the Zhuangzi's meaning cannot be reduced to any "self-centered and linear" -ism, such as relativism, perspectivism, mysticism, etc.  [Popup alert]
"I have tried to show that a reading that winds and meanders and volutes, floating and sinking along with the text, may prove more rewarding than one that purports to draw strong directions and lines.  More plainly, I am pleading for a circular, repetitive, allegorical and essentially insecure reading, a fundamentally fragmentary reading."
Chuang Tzu [Theosophy Library]
Thoughtful essay on Zhuangzi's philosophy includes many of his stories and sayings.
"For Chuang Tzu, the fundamentality of Ch'i is best expressed in an individual as spontaneity which is inevitable.  This spontaneity is not an impulsive reaction to some set of circumstances, but a carefully cultivated freedom from the negative oppression of rules, rituals, and conventions of thought and action.  Rather than being a habit, which binds one into routinized lines of thought and chains of deeds, it is a knack which gets something right."
Zhuangzi: The Enlightened (Salvational) State of Mind
Chapter 2, Section 8 of Lawrence Chang-Lung Chin's online book, The Path Toward Scientific Enlightenment.  Fine exploration of the Zhuangzi as a precursor of quantum mechanics.  Uses James Legge's and Yu-lan Fung's translations of Zhuangzi, and also quotes Guo Xiang's (Kuo Hsiang) commentary.
"Every point of view is the same (in the sense of being relative and partial) as every other: just what it is, a point of view valid (in the sense that it cannot be otherwise) from its own position.  And -- from its own position -- hence it carries a set of rights and wrongs with it that is peculiar to it.  But there is a better point of view, a way of seeing things that transcends the necessary relativity and partiality of the individual points of view, an objective way of reconciling the seemingly irresolvably differing perspectives and differing values."
Chuang Tzu's rejection of a spiritual foundation
Essay by Jan Brouwer, editor of the Mystical Site (Netherlands), in collaboration with Raymond Sigrist (apophaticmysticism.com; El Cerrito, CA).
"Chuang Tzu's practice entails the suspension (not the elimination) of all a priori assumptions.  All prior explanations of how the world has been operating up to now, are continually subject to revision.  All prior notions of how one might best approach the world's unfolding activities are open to question."
Vital Nourishment: Departing from Happiness [review]
David B. Wong (Duke, Philosophy) critically reviews Francois Jullien's 2007 book, which contrasts Western and Zhuangzian ideas on body/mind dualism and the meaning of life.  From the Notre Dame Philosophical Review.
"Consider the theme that feeding life has no aim.  The academic ethicist might ridicule or ignore that theme, but the idea that forgetting final goals and identifying with an all-encompassing process can bring acceptance of whatever comes probably holds appeal to more people than anything the academic could have to say to them."
Wandering in the World of Zhuangzi
Astute and interesting 2001 article by Luminita Balan (University of Bucharest) from The Romanian Journal of Chinese Studies discusses the meaning(s) of Zhuangzi's first chapter.  [Popup alert]
"The chapter 'Free Wandering' can also be read on another level, as a message meant to persuade the reader to abandon his doubts and worries, not to bother about the pragmatic value of the text, but to forget himself and start wandering in the imaginary world of Zhuangzi... Zhuangzi seems to suggest that once his reader enters the universe of his work, he will have to go beyond the material support - words - and thus he may enjoy the free wandering, understanding the infinite essence of the Dao."
Zhuang Zi and his carving of the Confucian ox
Long 1997 article from Philosophy East & West by Scott Cook (Grinnell College, Chinese).  A rich comparison of Zhuangzi's thought to that of Kong Zi (Confucius), Meng Zi (Mencius), and Gao Zi (Gao Buhai).  Copious footnotes.
"[Butcher Ding] is, in short, a man who has mastered his art; and, like that of Kong Zi, it is as much an art of living as it is an art of butchering.  The funny thing is, Butcher Ding seems to have taken only three years to master his Dao, whereas for Kong Zi it took all of seventy years of his life.  Perhaps it is just the case that unlearning is faster than learning."
Aspects of the Relationship between "Moral Values" and Xing ("Inner Nature") in the Zhuangzi
2001 journal article by Tatiana Segal (The Sergiu Al-George Oriental Studies Institute, Bucharest) will reward a close reading.  [Popup alert]
"In our opinion, the Zhuangzi makes it quite clear that the 'World under Heaven' (tian xia) is ruled by the disorder caused exclusively by human factors, such as a sovereign (jun) unworthy of the task or a so-called 'sage' (sheng ren) who promotes different doctrines than the one promoted by the author of the text.  The only one who can straighten the World under Heaven and discard all evil is yet another human factor, represented by the true 'sage' who acts according to a law superior to human laws - the dao."
Eremitism in Ancient China, part 5: Chuang-tzu (Zhuangzi)
Meng-hu, on his Hermitary site, finds strong support for the hermit path in Zhuangzi.
"...the Untroubled Idler eschews conventional society and social relations but does so without a compelling ethical reason... The Untroubled Idler upholds the notion of wu-wei or non-action.  This is not a fatalism or indifference, but a positive value that rescues virtue rather than compromises it."
Cultural Constructivism and the Agency of the Sage in The Zhuangzi
2007 conference presentation by Anders Sybrandt Hansen (University of Aarhus, Denmark) sets the Zhuangzi in a historical, linguistic, and cultural framework that privileges the purposeless and spontaneous sage.
"Zhuangzi recognized a fundamental problem in our experience of the world; that there can be no certainty of any truth-value to our arranging of it.  While his contemporaries debated 'that's it, that's not' in organizing the world and ruling the empire, Zhuangzi on the other hand, was unique in refusing all such forms of civilizational thought as merely manifestations of the ambitions and vanity inherent in man's heart.  Rather than putting the mind to the work of knowing and mastering the world, Zhuangzi casts aside any such reflection, arguing instead for his ideal character, the sage."
Flow and the Not-So-Skillful Zhuangzi?
Reflections on flow and wuwei in the Zhuangzi, from the Splintered Mind blog of Eric Schwitzgebel (University of CA, Riverside, Philosophy), with stimulating comments following.  Follow-up here (crossposted here with more comments, though 2/3 of them wander off into questions of the Zhuangzi's authorship).
"Although the idea of doing nothing (wu wei) has received enormous attention in the secondary literature in classical Chinese philosophy and has come to seem to mean something very different from its surface meaning (something like spontaneous, skillful reactivity, in fact), I don't really see much of a textual basis for this in the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi.  He seems simply to praise literally doing nothing (or very little), like the yak."
Re: P'eng Niao
Some commentary from a 1997 alt.philosophy.taoism discussion on the first story of the Zhuangzi, with quotes from Kuang-ming Wu. Archived at TaoTalk2.
"Kuang-ming Wu feels the first chapter of the Chuang Tzu (which includes this *P'eng Niao*/bird (and the fish) sums up the whole text.  The chapter is concerned with a 'cosmology of freedom'... 'the universe PULSATES with freedom, therefore one can rest in the restless universe,' (we) being at home through spontaneous action (wei-wu-wei)."
You see fish swimming happily (to recognize fish's pleasure)
One of three pages of explications of Zhuangzi stories, as translated by the author, Hajime Hayashida (Yamaha Corp., Hamamatsu, Japan).  Others are here and here.  From his website on maple trees.
"I think this story means that it is impossible to explain the occurrence of the world only by reason, and that it is sometimes possible to notice beautiful things even without reason.  Moreover, there sometimes seems to be another meaning that only those who understand can understand."
Two commentaries on the writings of Zhuangzi Chuang-Tse
Essays by David Hoffman and Hugh Cannon (students, Kapiolani Community College, Honolulu) on Zhuangzi and the magpie and Bian the wheelwright.
"...to Zhuangzi, the truly great man is not the man who has, by a lifetime of study and practice, accumulated a great fund of virtue and merit, but the man in whom Dao acts without impediment.  The people who know what they really are doing, like Bian and the Cook, do not precede each move by weighing arguments.  They let their focus roam freely and forget themselves in total absorption of the moment."  [Hugh Cannon]
The Book of Chuang Tzu
Short essay on Chapter 2, by English teacher Shirley Galloway
"Chuang Tzu asks how can we trust the validity of words to properly describe reality when people use them to prove themselves right and others wrong?...The Sage or Wise Man, does not waste time in choosing sides between right and wrong, but looks over it all with 'the light of Heaven.'  He sees every opposite as embodying the seed of its companion..."
Zhuangzi and Nagarjuna on the Truth of No Truth
David Loy (Bunkyo University, Japan), in his essay on the sage and the bodhisattva, finds that the "targets and conclusions of their philosophies are remarkably similar."  From the Buddhist Digital Library and Museum, National Taiwan University.
"What makes a dream a dream?  Things in a dream are unreal in the sense that they do not have any objective stability or self-existence.  They are constantly appearing, disappearing, and transforming into something else.  Yet that is also true for this world, according to Zhuangzi and Nagarjuna!... to 'wake up' from my constantly-changing nature (in which I become, say, a butterfly) is actually to fall asleep into the ignorance that thinks 'I' am this body, this particular self within a collection of other discrete things.  To dream I am a butterfly, etc., is to wake up to my selfless, endlessly-transforming nature."
Nagarjuna and Chuang-Tzu
Nick Shere's (Brown University) lengthy work in progress begins with a biting critique of Loy's "Zhuangzi and Nagarjuna on the Truth of No Truth" (above), then attempts "a better articulation of the relationship between these two monstrously significant thinkers."
"...Nagarjuna chooses to use reason to demonstrate the problems of reason, employing the razor-fine Indian logic which is the characteristic tool of the very metaphysicians he opposes; Chuang-tzu chooses a loose, flowing, heterogeneous discourse that embodies the opposite of this.  In their choices of textual style each is providing a valuable model--Nagarjuna's being a negative model, adopted the better to show and test its limits, Chuang-tzu's a positive model, adopted to serve as an example of the alternatives."
Velleman, Frankfurt, and Zhuangzi
Philosophers on first- and second-order desire in relation to Zhuangzi's views on wuwei, from Manyul Im's (Fairfield University, Philosophy) blog.
"Velleman thinks of Frankfurt's theory of agancy as a kind of prolegomenon to the spontaneity {wuwei) views in the Zhuangzi.  I'll quote some snippets of his discussion of Zhuangzi..."
Zhuang Zi's Perfect Joy: An Answer to the Contemporary Predicament?
Book chapter by Manuel B. Dy, Jr. (Ateneo de Manila University, Philosophy), from the online book The Humanization of Technology and Chinese Culture, compares our times to those of Zhuangzi, and finds his counsel timely.
"For Lao Zi, the main reason for wu-wei is the law of reversion which is the way dao works -- that is, when one thing reaches one extreme it reverts to its opposite.  When one strives for happiness, one reverts to unhappiness.  Zhuang Zi, on the other hand, goes beyond Lao Zi in pointing to the de of dao as the ground for wu-wei: to do nothing is to let things be themselves in their own nature, in their own de, because that is where their happiness lies."
Forgotten Words
In his review of the Christian mystic Thomas Merton's book, The Way of Chuang Tzu, Peter Stephens endeavors to show why Merton enjoyed writing this book "more than anything else he wrote."  From the Slow Reads monthly digest.
"Merton sees Chuang Tzu as his kindred spirit.  Merton and Chuang Tzu both were hermits to some extent, and both spiritual philosophers of sorts, perhaps with Merton heavier on the spiritual side and Chuang Tzu more the philosopher.  The content of their philosophies is similar, too."
Chuang Tzu - the butterfly philosopher
Paul Harrison sees Zhuangzi as a "precursor of scientific pantheism."  Though of course, "unlike Chuang Tzu, Scientific Pantheism does not advocate social inaction."
Aimlessly Wandering - Chuang Tzu's Chaos Linguistics
By Peter Lamborn Wilson (aka Hakim Bey, variously described as "religious historian," "underground anarcho-Sufi scholar," "countercultural criminal").  From the Strange Loops Journal.
"The sage does not become trapped in semantics, does not mistake map for territory, but rather 'opens things up to the light of Heaven' by playing with the words.  Once attuned to their flow, the sage need make no special effort to 'illumine,' for language does it by itself, spontaneously.  Language spills over.  [The vast Taoist canon] serves as a monument to the 'generosity of being' or the ever-flowing overflow of the cornucopious Tao."
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