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Transcript of Zhuang Tzu
Fame and Fortune
In the opinion of Zhuangzi, he cares little about fame and wealth. people always desire for too much so they lose a happy life easily. Zhuangzi refused the invitation of the emperor of Chu, because he had no interest in being an officer. In his eyes, fame and wealth are not the most important in someone’s life.
People always live in confusion because they don’t quite understand the true meaning of death and life. The highest state of life is freedom which is difficult for most people to get. Making life easy and free is the best way to enjoy what the God gives you. Listening to your heart and getting away from conflicts and ugliness,that is what a free life should be.
Equality in all Things
Therefore the perfect man does nothing, the great sage takes no action. In doing this, he follows the pattern of the universe.
For instance, to him, death is no more than a necessary and proper correlative of human life and a natural and desirable step following life. It is the eternal rest after one's labor in this world and the ultimate cure of the sick.
"Whoever can make non-being the head, life the backbone, and death the buttocks, and whoever knows that life and death, and exixtence and non-existence are one, the man shall be our friends."
“The true sage is never curious about where he comes from, nor is he worried about where he will go, because he knows that death is a special form of life, and the only difference between them is the distinction of the form of existence.”
"Wherever a parent tells a son to go, whether east, west, south, or north, he has to obey. The yin and yang are like man's parents. If they pressed me to die and I disobeyed, I would be obstinate.
For the universe gave me the body so I may be carried, my life so I may toil, my old age I may repose, and my death so I may rest. Therefore to regard life as good is the way to regard death as good."
Being and Non-being
“Life and death are due to fate (ming, destiny) and their constant succession like day and night is due to Nature, beyond the interference of man. They are the necessary character of things.”
The philosophy of Chuang Tzu has a great impact on Chinese culture. Lao Zi teaches the way of the world and the virtues of survival, while Chuang Tzu is indifferent to human society.
His teaching makes an ardent plea for spiritual freedom, self-interested tendencies, and prejudices. His central concern may be described as the finding of absolute happiness of transcending the distinction between one's self and the universe by union with the Tao.
According to him, by superior wisdom, a sage is no longer affected emotionally by the changes of this world.
Te (Finite Existence)
Material Transformations (Wu hua)
"Whether things are produced or destroyed, Dao again identifies them all as one."
"The pure man of old did not mind having little, did not brag about accomplishments, and did not scheme about things."
"We must go to the depth of things. It is there that the 'secret of Nature' begins... the way in which things spring forth. One should not try to get away from nature but go to its depth.
"There is nothing in the world greater than the tip of a hair that grows in the autumn, while Mount Tai is small. No one lives a longer life than a child who dies in infancy, but P'eng-tsu (who lived many hundred years) died prematurely. The universe and I exist together, and all things and I are one. Since all things are one, what room is there for speech? But since I have already said that all things are one, how can speech no exist? Speech and the One then make two. These two and the One make three. Going from this, even the best mathematician cannot reach [the final number]. How much less can ordinary perople" If we proceed from nothing to something and arrive at three, how much more shall we reach if we proceed from somthing to something Let us not proceed. Let us let things take their own course.
"The 'this' is also the 'that.' The 'that' is also the 'this.' This 'this' has one standard of right and wrong, and the 'that' also has a standard of right and wrong.
Is there really a distinction between 'that' and 'this'?"
The Bare Necessities
"All things are blended... and mutually involve each other."
"Such being the pure man, his mind is perfectly at ease. His demeanor is natural. His forehead is broad. He is as cold as autumn but as warm as spring. He is in accord with all things, and no one knows the limit thereof.... His benefits may be extended to ten thousand generations without any [partial] love for any man."
Therefore the sage, in employing an army, can destroy a country without losing the affection of the people.
Te: Tao individualized in the nature of things.
Following one's nature, nourishing it and adapting it to environment
Absolute happiness of transcending the distinction between one's self and the universe by union with the Tao.
vacous: receptive to all
A road becomes so when people walk on it, and things become so-and-so because people call them so-and-so.
Life and Death
To live or not, it is a question in Chuang Tzu's eyes.
Chuang Tzu identifies life and death as one. Life leads to death. It is the right way to treat life and death exactly: life equals to death and death equals to life. Everyone has to experience two periods of them like there are four seasons in one year moving in cycles. Therefore, people needn't deal with the matter of life and death too emotionally.
On the way to Chu, Chuang Tzu encountered a skeleton who showed up his original shape. Chuang Tzu asked him:"Have you become what you are because you are greedy for life and abandoned the truth, you witnessed the destruction of your country and lost your life, or you surrendered yourself to loose conducts, feeling too shameful of it? Have you become what you are because you suffered from chilliness and starvation, or you enjoyed your late years and then natually died?" With these words left, Chuang Tzu fell asleep using the skeleton as a pillow under his head.
In the midnight, the skeleton appeared in Chuang Tzu's dream and said to him:"You seem to be good with words. According to what you said, it is totally hardship for the living. Actually, there is no worry you referred to. Once a person dies, he gains his freedom out of king's governing and constraint, and he gains his rest out of tireness of labor. Thus, he regards the permanence of heaven and earth as the run-out of time. Even if I was elected king of this country, I would not get any more satisfaction than now." However, Chuang Tzu disbelieved, so he said:" If I help you regain your shape and flesh and return to your family and friends, would it be OK?""Never"shouted the skeleton,"How could I be so foolish to quit my happiness here just to experience life's pain in return?"
He roams with the Creator, and below he makes friends with those who transcend life and death and beginning and end.
"Having abolished the past and present, he was then able to enter the realm of neither life nor death. Then, to him, the destruction of life did not mean death and the production of life did not mean life. In dealing with things, he would not lean forward or backward to accommodate them.To him everything was in the process of destruction, everything was in the peocess of perfection. "
"This is the great truth of things in general. We possess our body by chance and we are already pleased with it. If our physical bodies went through ten thousand transformations without end, how incomparable would this joy be Therefore the sage roams freely in the realm in which nothing can escape but all endures. Those who regard dying a premature death, getting old, and the beginning and end of life as equally good are followed by others. How much more is that to which all things belong and on which the whole process of transformation depends (that is, Tao)?"
"The pure man of old knew neither to love life nor to hate death. He did not rejoice in birth, nor did he resist death. Without any concern he came and without any concern he went, that was all. He did not forget his beginning nor seek his end. He accepted his body with pleasure, and forgetting life and death, he reture to the natural state. He did not violate Tao with his mind, and he did not assist Nature with man. This is what is meant by a pure man."
Chuang Tzu's wife died and Hui Tzu went to offer his condolence. He found Chuang Tzu squatting on the ground and singing, beating on an earthen bowl. He said, "Someone has lived with you, raised children for you and now she has aged and died. Is it not enough that you should not shed any tear? But now you sing and beat the bowl. Is this not too much?“
"No," replied Chuang Tzu. "When she died, how could I help being affected? But as I think the matter over, I realize that originally she had no life; and not only no life, she had no form; not only no form, she had no material force. In the limbo of existence and non-existence, there was transformation and the material force was evolved. The material force was transformed to be form, form was transformed to become life, and now birth has transformed to become death. This is like the rotation of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, and winter. Now she lies asleep in the great house ( the universe ). For me to go about weeping and wailing would be to show my ignorance of destiny. Therefore I desist."
People's living and dying are common phenomenon.
To live is somehow miserable, while death is a matter of joy.
On the premise of above, people don't need to be grieved or desperate in the face of death. Instead, it is worth delight and celebration.
The world Chuang Tzu built his philosophy upon have the existence of theory beyond earthy life and sincere solicitude towards primitive life. This is a mixture of reality and super reality, which is the main difference that distinguishes Chuang Tzu's philosophy from others.
Death is no more than a necessary and proper of human life and a natural and desirable step following life. It is the eternal rest after one's labor in this world and the ultimate cure of the sick.
Cao businessman cared little about their dignity and reputation as the King of Qin gave a lot of money, after returning he became very assumptive and laughed at the poor Zhuangzi,after heard that Zhuangzi was unmoved, but also showed the cause of the CAO merchants to get rich.
One day Zhuangzi went to see a Prime Minister Huizi. To his surprise, Huizi feared that Zhuangzi would take the position of his,so he appointed many people to search for him. After knowing that, Zhuangzi made it clear that he would not do that, because in his eyes, power was just like rotten Rat meat.
Each individual should listen to the voice of heart, when we come to the world, we have nothing, and when we leave the world, we take nothing away, that’s what life ought to be. As we can see in this total process, fame and wealth are not the real possessions in one’s life.
By superior wisdom, a sage is no longer affected emotionally by the changes of this world
Being one with the beginning, One becomes vacuous. (Hsu) And being vacuous, one becomes great.
"Once, I Chuang Chou, dreamed that I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself, but I did not know that I was Chou. suddenly I awoke, and there I was, visibly Chou. I do not know whether it was Chou dreaming that he was butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that it was Chou."