Zhuang Zhou 庄周


The Zhuangzi 庄子 “Master Zhuang” is one of the two basic writings of Daoist philosophy from the Warring States period 战国 (5th cent.-221 BCE). The other is the book Laozi 老子 or Daodejing 道德经.

Traditionally the authorship of the Zhuangzi is ascribed to Zhuang Zhou 庄周 (trad. 369-286 BCE), called Zhuangzi, who lived during the late 4th century in the state of Song 宋. He refused a state office offered to him by the king of Chu 楚 and preferred living a private and quiet life, or, in the words of himself, “to drag my tail in the mud like the tortoise”. Following his own philosophy, Zhuangzi lived in great austerity, wore threadbare clothes and straw sandals. It is said that in this shape he once visited the king of the state of Wei 魏. Asked why he used to travel in such a poor condition, Zhuangzi compared himself to a monkey fallen into a thornbush. His biography in the history Shiji 史记 says that he once had the post of a lacquer tree garden, but soon became tired of this work and gave it up. His most befriended collegue was Hui Shi 惠施, who is known as a dialectician or sophist (mingjia 名家).

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