Book of Zhuangzi

clip image001 thumb3 Book of ZhuangziZhuang Zi (Book of Zhuangzi) is a collection of the sayings of the Taoists. Also named Zhuang Zhou, Zhuang Zi was an anchoret in the Warring States Period (475-221BC) and he was born in Meng (today’s Shangqiu in Henan Province) of the Song State. Compiled by Liu Xiang in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the book had 52 sections. But now, only 33 sections are available in three parts. Being an important classic of Taoism, the contents of Zhuang Zi is very close to that of Laozi (Book of Laozi). In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Zhuang Zi was highly praised because of the respect to Taoism from the emperor.

Zhuang Zhou experienced the sufferings and calamities caused by social changes and wars. He thought that the suffering was due to the rivalship caused by the stipulation of ceremonial rites and regulations by the sages, and advocating benevolence and justice could cause hypocricy. Like Laozi, Zhuang Zhou thought the primitive life was more comfortable because of no war, no rival and simple personality. So, the ceremonial rites and regulations should be abandoned, and the benevolence and justice should be discarded. Zhuang Zhou would rather to be poor than being officials. He ignored the fame and gains, regarding all affairs and beings in the world as nothing.

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Zhuang Ziex pressed his philosophical views with many fables, which left many vivid and affecting stories to later generations.

Zhuang Zi denounced relentlessly the hypocritical behaviors of that time, displaying profound wisdom in the seemingly ambivalent sayings and also expressing his pessimism to life and disappointment to the society. He had to pin his hope on the soul purification, and pursue the unfettered freedom of his inner world.

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