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Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu)
     
 
Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu)   
    Zhuangzi Translation   
    Glossary/Index A to N   
    Glossary/Index P to Z   
    ZZ Links   

The book known as The Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu) is considered to be one of the first and foremost texts on philosophical Daoism. It's placed on a par with Laozi's Dao De Jing.

The Zhuangzi offers up stories and fables that can get the mind questioning and eventually laughing at the absurdities. Some of the text poses answers to intellectual and spiritual questions about life that seem to ring true no matter who reads them, and they can be applied to any age in history.

The Zhuangzi is a book that can be read over and over, and with each reading a new insight can be found. If someone reads Zhuangzi and comes up with prescriptive Truths from it, then they've lost the humor and dichotomy of Zhuangzi. Best to keep an open mind and have fun.


About Zhuangzi:

- Zhuangzi (pinyin) and Chuang Tzu (Wade/Giles) are the two ways of spelling his name in the English language. The Wade/Giles spelling was adopted in the mid 19th century so as to make it easier for English speaking people to pronounce the Chinese characters. In1959 the pinyin spellings were adopted on a world wide level as an easier method for pronunciation of the characters. Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu) translates as "Master Zhuang" ("Master Chuang").
- Zhuang Zhou (Chuang Chou) was his given name. Chinese names are the reverse of English names in that the family name appears first and the individual's name appears last.

Zhuangzi is said to have lived from about 370-300 BCE in the city of Meng in the state of Song. Song was located in the eastern section of what's now known as Henan province, near the northeastern border of the state of Chu.

Although little is known of his life, it's been stated in the Historical Records of Sima Qian that he once tried his hand as an official at the Lacquer Garden, however it isn't known what a "laquer garden" actually is - it could refer to a type of garden, a city building or possibly the name of a library. In any event, it's obvious that he was well educated and had a mastery of the language, as well as having much knowledge of ancient Chinese history. Despite his apparent education, he rejected positions in government.

Zhuangzi is now regarded as a major player in Daoism (grouped with Laozi and Liezi), but there's no evidence he had any disciples at the time. As a matter of fact, the earliest written texts attributed to Zhuangzi is the compilation made by Guo Xiang toward the end of the third century CE, who supposedly edited down the original work from 52 to 33 chapters and placed the chapters in the order we have them today.

There's also some disagreement as to whether Zhuangzi wrote the entire book credited to his name. Most agree that the first seven chapters, called "the Inner Chapters" were written by Zhuangzi himself. Chapters 8-22, called "the Outer Chapters", are thought to have been written later by his followers. Chapters 23-33, called "the Mixed Chapters", are believed to be a compilation of the writings of Zhuangzi and other philosophers of the time.

In 742 CE Emperor Xuanzong of Tang mandated honorific titles for Daoist texts, and he gave the new name of Nan Hua Zhen Jing (True Classic of Southern Florescence) to the Zhuangzi, alluding to the fact that Zhuangzi came from South China. However, most people still refer to it as The Zhuangzi (The Chuang Tzu).

About the Zhuangzi section at Dao Is Open:

ZZ Links - Provides access to other web sites where much has been written about the philosophical ideas of Zhuangzi, as well as links to English translations and Chinese texts. It also includes a list of books I have in my own library which reference Zhuangzi.

Zhuangzi Translation - Provides access to my own English translations of Zhuangzi.

Glossary/Index - Includes information on the people, places and things mentioned in Zhuangzi. It's separated alphabetically into sections: "A to N" and "P to Z" using the pinyin spellings.

Enjoy-
Nina
12/13/06



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