Nan Guozi1 sat leaning forward on a small stool, breathing gently and gazing skyward. In his abstraction, he seemed to have lost all contact with his body. Standing and roaming about in attendance was Yan Chengzi.2 Yan inquired, “How can a body be made to resemble a dead tree and a heart and mind like […]
The Zhuang Zi is one of the most important texts of Taoism, written by Zhuang Zhou (莊周, 369–286 BCE), commonly known as Zhuangzi (莊子) literally meaning “Master Zhuang” or “Philosopher Zhuang.”
Zhuang Zhou was one of the most influential Chinese philosophers and writers who lived during fourth century BCE, an era considered to be a summit of Chinese philosophy.
The work titled Zhuang Zi consists of the Inner Chapters (內篇, Nei Pian), which comprises the first seven chapters of the work. The Outer Chapters (外篇, Wai Pian), chapters 8 thru 23, and the Mixed Chapters (雜篇, Za Pian), the last 11 chapters.
It’s widely thought that Zhuang Zhou wrote the first seven chapters (the Inner Chapters) himself, with the Outer Chapters writtten by his disciples on teachings they learned from him, and the Mixed Chapters were added by other writers at a much later date.
The Zhuang Zi is one of the foundational texts of Taoism, mostly in regard to philosophical Taoism. The full title is The True Person Zhou’s Southern Flower Scripture (南 華 周 眞 人 經, Nan Hua Zhou Zhen Ren Jing), but is normally just referred to as the Zhuang Zi.
Zhuang Zhou was very much influenced by the teachings and philosophy of Lao Zi. His writings are quite often metaphorical illustrations of Lao Zi thought. Zhuang can at times be humorous, satirical, and quite pointed and truthful.
(See Part One for the overview of this chapter. In this part, Zhuang Zi introduces the mythical emperors of Yao and Shun, and two important Taoist figures: Lie Yukou and Hui Zi.) Lie Yukou1 could travel by riding the wind, because he knew how to make himself light, returning sometimes after fourteen days. Few have […]
Note: This chapter will be presented in two parts. This chapter, Wandering Freely at Ease, reveals for the first time in Taoist philosophy the three ranks for those achieving successful Taoist cultivation. Zhuang Zi states there is the Perfected Person (眞 人, Zhen Ren), Spirit-Like Person (神 人, Shen Ren), and the Sagely Person(聖 人, […]