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Encyclopedia > Zhuang Zi

Contents


The Person

Zhuāng Zǐ (pinyin), Chuang Tzu (W-G), or Chuang Tse (Chinese 莊子, literally meaning "Master Zhuang") was a famous philosopher in ancient China who lived around the 4th century BC during the Warring States Period, corresponding to the Hundred Schools of Thought philosophical summit of Chinese thought. He was from the Town of Meng (蒙城 Méng Chéng) in the State of Song (now Shāngqiū 商邱, Henan). His given name was 周 Zhōu. He was also known as 蒙吏, Méng Official, 蒙莊 Méng Zhuāng and 蒙叟 Méng Elder. Pinyin (拼音, pÄ«nyÄ«n) literally means join (together) sounds (a less literal translation being phoneticize, spell or transcription) in Chinese and usually refers to HànyÇ” PÄ«nyÄ«n (汉语拼音, literal meaning: Han language pinyin), which is a system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Standard Mandarin. ... Wade-Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a Romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration) system for the Chinese language based on Mandarin. ... Yin/Yang symbol and ba gua paved in a clearing outside of Nanning city, Guangxi province. ... (5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - other centuries) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events Invasion of the Celts into Ireland Gauls sack Rome Kingdom of Macedon conquers Persian empire The Scythians are beginning to be absorbed into the Sarmatian people. ... Alternative meaning: Warring States Period (Japan) The Warring States Period (traditional Chinese: 戰國時代, simplified Chinese: 战国时代 pinyin Zhànguó Shídài) takes place from sometime in the 5th century BC to the unification of China by Qin in 221 BC. It is nominally considered to be the second part of the... The Hundred Schools of Thought (諸子百家 Pinyin: zhū zǐ bǎi jiā) (770 BC-222 BC) marked an unprecedented era of cultural and intellectual prosperity during Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period in China -- the Golden Age of Chinese thought, also known as The Contention of a Hundred Schools... Henan (Chinese: 河南; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Ho-nan), is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. ... A given name specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name. ...


The Book

The Taoist book Zhuangzi (莊子) of the same name as the author is a composite of writings from various sources. The traditional view is that Zhuang Zi himself wrote the first several chapters (the "inner" chapters) and his students and related thinkers were responsible for the other parts (the "outer" and "miscellaneous" chapters). Strong proof of direct authorship by Zhuang Zi of any of the text is difficult. For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ...


In general, Zhuang Zi's philosophy is rather antinomian, arguing that our life is limited and things to know are unlimited. To use the limited to pursue the unlimited, he said, was foolish. Our language, cognition, etc. are all biased with our own perspective so we should be hesitant in concluding that our conclusions are equally right for all things (wanwu). Zhuang Zi's thought can also be considered a precursor of multiculturalism and pluralism of systems of value. His pluralism even leads him to doubt the basis of pragmatic arguments (that a course of action preserves our lives) since this presupposes that life is good and death bad. In the fourth section of "The Great Happiness" (至樂 zhìlè, the 18th chapter of the book), Zhuang Zi expresses pity to a skull he sees lying at the side of the road. Zhuang Zi laments that the skull is now dead, but the skull retorts, "How do you know it's bad to be dead?" Antinomianism in Christian theology is a pejorative term for a heresy that teaches that Christians are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality. ... Look up Cognition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The term cognition is used in several different loosely related ways. ... Multiculturalism is a policy, that emphasizes the unique characteristics of different cultures in the world, especially as they relate to one another in receiving nations. ... Relativism is the view that the meaning and value of human beliefs and behaviors have no absolute reference. ...


Another example points out that there is no universal standard of beauty. This is taken from the chapter "On Arranging Things", also called "Discussion of Setting Things Right" or, in Burton Watson's translation, "Discussion on Making All Things Equal" (齊物論 qí wù lùn, the second chapter of the book): Burton Watson (born 1925) is one of the worlds best-known translators of the Chinese and Columbia, Stanford, and Kyoto universities. ...

Mao Qiang and Li Ji [two beautiful courtesans] are what people consider beautiful, but if fish see them they will swim into the depths; if birds see them, they will fly away into the air; if deer see them, they will gallop away. Among these four, who knows what is rightly beautiful in the world?

However, this subjectivism is balanced with a kind of sensitive holism in the conclusion of the section called "What Fish Enjoy" (魚之樂, py yúzhīlè). The names have been changed to pinyin romanization for consistency: Holism (from holon, a Greek word meaning entity) is the idea that the properties of a system cannot be determined or explained by the sum of its components alone. ... Pinyin (拼音, pÄ«nyÄ«n) literally means join (together) sounds (a less literal translation being phoneticize, spell or transcription) in Chinese and usually refers to HànyÇ” PÄ«nyÄ«n (汉语拼音, literal meaning: Han language pinyin), which is a system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Standard Mandarin. ... Pinyin (拼音, Pīnyīn) literally means join (together) sounds (a less literal translation being phoneticize, spell or transcription) in Chinese and usually refers to Hànyǔ Pīnyīn (汉语拼音, literal meaning: Han language pinyin), which is a system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Standard Mandarin used in the...

Zhuang Zi and Hui Zi were strolling along the dam of the Hao River when Zhuang Zi said, "See how the minnows come out and dart around where they please! That's what fish really enjoy!"


Hui Zi said, "You're not a fish - how do you know what fish enjoy?"


Zhuang Zi said, "You're not I, so how do you know I don't know what fish enjoy?"


Hui Zi said, "I'm not you, so I certainly don't know what you know. On the other hand, you're certainly not a fish - so that still proves you don't know what fish enjoy!"


Zhuang Zi said, "Let's go back to your original question, please. You asked me how I know what fish enjoy - so you already knew I knew it when you asked the question. I know it by standing here beside the Hao."


Section XVII, Autumn Floods, tr. Burton Watson

Another well-known part of the book is also found in the "On Arranging Things" chapter. The section is usually called "Zhuang Zhou dreamed he was a butterfly" (莊周夢蝶 Zhuāng Zhōu mèng dié). The section relates that one night, Zhuang Zi dreamed that he was a carefree butterfly flying happily. After he woke up, he wondered how he could determine whether he was Zhuang Zi who had just finished dreaming he was a butterfly, or a butterfly who had just started dreaming he was Zhuang Zi. It hints at many questions in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and epistemology, such as Descartes' famous question of how one knows one exists. The name of the passage has become a common Chinese idiom, and has spread into Western languages as well. Dreaming is the subjective experience of imaginary images, sounds/voices, words, thoughts or sensations during sleep, usually involuntarily. ... Families Superfamily Hesperioidea: Hesperiidae Superfamily Papilionoidea: Papilionidae Pieridae Nymphalidae Lycaenidae Riodinidae A butterfly is a flying insect of the order Lepidoptera belonging to one of the superfamilies Hesperioidea (the skippers) and Papilionoidea (all other butterflies). ... Philosophy of mind is the philosophical study of the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, and consciousness. ... Philosophy of language is the branch of philosophy that studies language. ... Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, was a French philosopher, mathematician and part-time mercenary. ... ...


Zhuang Zi's philosophy was very influential on the development of Chinese Buddhism, especially Chan, and Zen which evolved out of Chan. Statues of Buddha such as this, the Tian Tan Buddha statue in Hong Kong, remind followers to practice right living. ... Chán is a major school of Chinese Mahāyāna Buddhism. ... Zen is the Japanese name of a well known branch of Mahāyāna Buddhism, practiced originally in China as Chan, and subsequently in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. ...


The book containing it is widely regarded as both deeply insightful in thought and as an achievement of the Chinese poetical essay form. It uses Chinese language in complex, mutli-layered and often playful ways, and is notoriously difficult to translate. However, some sinologists have tried. A very popular translation is the one by Burton Watson. Other major translations have been done by Thomas Merton and A. C. Graham. Graham's is, to date, the most academically thorough, but Watson's is highly praised for its poetic style. Chinese (written) language (pinyin: zhōngw n) written in Chinese characters The Chinese language (汉语/漢語, 华语/華語, or 中文; Pinyin: H nyǔ, Hu yǔ, or Zhōngw n) is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ... Sinology is the study of China, which usually requires a foreign scholar to have command of the Chinese language. ... Burton Watson (born 1925) is one of the worlds best-known translators of the Chinese and Columbia, Stanford, and Kyoto universities. ... Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968) was an American Trappist monk and author, born in Prades in the Pyrénées-Orientales département of France. ...


References

Watson, Burton. Trans. 1964. Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings. Columbia University Press. Reprint: 1996. ISBN 0-231-08606-7; ISBN 0-231-10595-9 (pbk).


See also

Lao Zi (also spelled Laozi, Lao Tzu, or Lao Tse) is a major figure in Chinese philosophy whose historical existence is debated. ... Lie Zi or Lieh Tzu is a famous legendary Taoist sage mentioned several times in the Zhuang Zi. ... For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Zhuang Zi - One of the Founders of Taoist Thought (692 words)
Zhuang Zi was born in a poor family, lived primarily on making straw sandals, and was once a official in charge of painting work.
In his lifetime, Zhuang Zi was indifferent to fame and gain, which seemed to him like devils rather than angels, and had long pursued spiritual freedom.
Zhuang Zi took Tao as the universal basis, and held that Tao lies in everything,and it is the root and basis of all existence and transformation.
Taoist Tale Put on Stage (594 words)
Zhuang Zi (BC396-289), one of the two defining figures of Chinese Taoism, based his philosophy on the premise that all things change and that the perception of truth depends on the context under which it exists.
As the story goes, Zhuang Zi one day comes across a grieving widow, who is vigorously fanning her recently deceased husband's grave.
Along with An Zhenji, who plays Zhuang Zi, Yu is the only actor to remain in the role since 1994, when the drama made its debut in the Tony Alice Festival in Tokyo, Japan.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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