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 Welcome to Introduction on Zhuang Zi in Seeraa International, New and Updated Content as Below:

The Painting of Zhuang Zi Dreams
as a Butterfly
book of zhuangzi
The First Chapter of Zhuang Zi
zhuangzi singing
Zhuang Zi Beat the Basin Singing

Zhuang Zi or Chuang Tzu (BC369-BC286) was a great philosopher and litterateur. Zhuang Zi’s full name was Zhaung Zhou, and his courtesy name was Zixiu or Zimu. Zhuang was his family name, and his first name was Zhou(周). Zi was the honorable designation that the ancient Chinese people used to call those who they thought deserve respecting. Zhuang Zi’s family originally was a noble duke of Chu State, generally taken as the descendants of King Zhuangwang of Chu State(楚庄王), who was the most outstanding king in history of Chu State, subsequently, the family declined and they moved to a place called Meng in Song State. The family going down to Zhuang Zi, became quite poor, and Zhuang Zi then acted as a small official in charge of Qiyuan(漆园) in Song State, so the later generation called Zhuang Zi Qi Yuan Li. Zhuang Zi was another greatest founder of Taoism inferior to Lao Zi. But their philosophy was together named Laozi-Zhuangzi Philosophy. In some way, Lao Zi opened Taoism, but Zhuang Zi established Taoism.

Book of Zhuang Zi – Personality Highlighted With Imagination

The basic philosophic standpoint of Zhuang Zi was the Oneness of Heaven and Human as well as Seclusion and Inaction. His theory covers all the aspects of social life – revealing his Taoist philosophy by way of the various social phenomena. Zhuang Zi was a free man working in the government as a small official, and he led a poor life but despised the lifestyle of probing into how to get more money and raise social status and reputation. He always kept his independent personality and dignity and strived for an absolutely spiritual freedom. Zhuang Zi owned a great influence on the history of intelligence and literature. In Tang Dynasty, Zhuang Zi was crowned to be Nanhua Zhenren(南华真人, Supernatural Man of Nanhua), an immortal figure in god list of Taoism. Since then, Zhuang Zi became the aspect of Taiyi Jiuku Tianzun, a superior Taoist god. His thought system consists of the basic dialectic elements. The main thought of his philosophy is Tian Dao Wu Wei(天道无为, The Nature Follows Inaction), and he supposed that everything belongs in change, but Dao was born before the appearance of heaven and earth. He thought the natural things are better than the artificial things. In his mind, the inutility is the biggest utility.

The book of Zhuang Zi originally comprised of 52 chapters, but currently there are only 33 chapters available. Today’s edition of Zhuang Zi was reedited by Guo Xiang, a great philosopher of metaphysics in Wei Period. Book of Zhuang Zi generally is constituted of the inner section, outer section and the extra section, and in academics, the inner section was considered as the real writing of Zhuang Zi, and the outer part and the extra part are changed too much, the relevant content has been changed, extended, shortened or rewritten by the later people. In general, the outer part is deemed as the joint works of Zhuang Zi and his students, or the works of his students. The extra part is created by different schools like the Shuo Jian(说剑, Of Swords), which is dependably taken as the classic works of Zongheng School or Strategic School. These two parts are the center of the academic controversy. Which is written by Zhuang Zi, which not, and this academic disagreement lasted for thousands of years and surely will go on to the next generations. ( MORE DETAILS ABOUT BOOK OF CHUANG TZU )

Influence of Zhuang Zi – Modeling Traditional Scholar’s Personality

zhuangzi statue
The Statue of Zhuang Zi

In the mind of traditional scholars of China, the philosophy of Zhuang Zi satisfies their needs in the aspects of internal spirituality and the soul. His thought gives traditional scholars a free world to show their own personality or individuality when the whole history was overwhelmed by Confucianism and Buddhism. It is natural and free, and provides the individual the independent space to protect his own personality and thinking. Zhuang Zi was a great philosopher in Chinese History of Philosophy and a great poet in Chinese History of Poem. In his masterpiece, the impressive fable stories and fantastic description show the readers a free world , or a fairyland differing itself from the earthly one. That is an ideal world allowing the individual to free develop and think.

In his lifetime, Zhuang Zi still kept a quite poor and reclusive life. He inherited and extended the Taoist thinking of Lao Zi. He was a great philosopher and a talented literature master. His idiom “庄周梦蝶”, Zhuang Zi Dreamed as a Butterfly, a special condition that dreamers cannot distinguish the true and the false. It also tells the humankind that the life is a dream, and dream is the life. Human living in dream or in life is not the problem, but should be as free as a butterfly. Since then, butterfly becomes a classic imagery in the literature of China, and also the symbol of freedom and perfection. His great debate against Hui Zi(惠子), whose name was Hui Shi (惠施), a close friend of Zhuang Zi, gives us an excellent intellectual enjoyment. One day, Zhuang Zi and Hui Zi stood on the bridge enjoying he fishes in autumn water. Zhuang Zi told Hui Zhi:”how delightful the fishes are !”, Hui Zi replied:”You are not fish, and how do you know the fishes are happy? ”, and Zhuang Zi freely responded:” You are not me, and how do you know that I don’t know the fishes are happy?”. This is an intellectual dialogue recorded in the spiritual history of China.

Beating the Basin to Sing(鼓盆而歌) – The Attitude of Zhuang Zi to Death

It is said that Zhuang Zi happily beat the basin singing when his wife died, and his neighbors were quite dissatisfied with him and angrily questioned him why? He laughed and answered:”thanks for your asking, and I know you are quite angry about what I did. Actually, I was heart-broken and quite sad as my wife left me forever. However, when I consider it carefully, I find it is not worth being sorrowful. Because my wife had no life originally, besides, she had no body and breath as well. In the dreamlike condition, the original thing had breath via change, and then had body, and then the life, so today she changed to be dead and without life. Such a change is like the regular and non-stop circulation of four seasons. At present, she quietly sleeps between Heaven and Earth to wait for the new change, but I am still crying for her restart. It is too inadvisable, isn’t it?, so I begin singing ”. This explanation reveals the basic philosophy of Taoism to death, and tells the humankind that the life also circulates itself in the eternal change. Death is just a part of the life circulation, so the death is the birth, and birth also means the death. The birth and death are the two parts of Yin-Yang, they are integrated.