Chuang Tzu

“A CELEBRATION OF DEATH” — Chuang Tzu

Upon hearing of the death of Chuang Tzu's wife, his good friend Hui Tzu went over to comfort him and found the sage sitting on the ground banging on an overturned pot and singing a song at the top of his lungs. Read More...
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"When the Shoe Fits" by Chuang Tzu

Zhuangzi

Chu’i the draftsman
could draw more perfect circles freehand
than with a compass.
His fingers brought forth
spontaneous forms from nowhere.
His mind was meanwhile free and without concern
with what he was doing.

No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.

So, when the shoe fits
the foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits
the belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
“For” and “against” are forgotten.

No drives no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
are under control.
You are a free man.

Easy is right.
Begin right
and you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
is to forget the right way,
and forget that the going is easy.
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"The Empty Boat" by Chuang Tzu

stock-footage-empty-little-boat-in-the-lake-at-sunset-loopable-animation

Who can free himself of achievement and fame
Then descend and be lost
Amidst the masses of men?
 
He will flow like Tao, unseen…
He will go about like life itself,
With no name and no home.
 
Simple is he, without.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace.
 
He has no power.
He achieves nothing.
He has no reputation.
 
Since he judges no one,
No one judges him.
 
Such is the perfect man.
His boat is empty.



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"Flight from the Shadow" by Chuang Tzu

Shadow
There was a man
who was so disturbed
by the sight of his own shadow
and so displeased
with his own footsteps,
that he determined to get rid of both.
The method he hit upon was
to run away from them.
So he got up and ran.
But everytime he poot his foot down
there was another step,
while his shadow kept up with him
without the slightest difficulty.
He attributed his failure
to the fact
that he was not running fast enough.
So he ran faster and faster,
without stopping,
until he finally dropped dead.
He failed to realize
that if he merely stepped into the shade,
his shadow would vanish,
and if he sat down and stayed still,
there would be no more footsteps.
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"Where Can I Find a Man Who Has Forgotten Words?" by Chuang Tzu

chuang-tzu0808

“The purpose of a fish trap
is to catch fish,
and when the fish are caught
the trap is forgotten.

The purpose of a rabbit snare
is to catch rabbits.
When the rabbits are caught,
the snare is forgotten.

The purpose of the word
is to convey ideas.
When the ideas are grasped,
the words are forgotten.

Where can I find a man who has forgotten words?
He is the one I would like to talk to.”

― Chuang Tzu



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"The Active Life" by Chuang Tzu

CB007272


If an expert does not have some problem to vex him, he is unhappy.
If a philosopher's teaching is never attacked, he pines away.
If critics have no one on whom to exercise their spite, they are miserable.
All such people are prisoners in a world of objects.

Whoever wants followers seeks political power.
Whoever wants reputation holds an office.
The strong man looks for weights to lift.
The brave man looks for an emergency in which he can show his courage.

The swordsman wants a battle in which he can swing his sword.
Men past their prime prefer a dignified retirement, in which they can seem profound.
Experienced lawyers seek difficult cases to extend the application of laws.
Poets, writers and musicians like festivals in which they can parade their talents.
The benevolent, the dutiful, are always looking for chances to display virtue.

Where would the gardener be if there were no more weeds?
What would become of business without a market of fools?
Where would the masses be if there were no pretext for getting jammed together and making noise?
What would become of labour if there were no superfluous objects to be made?

Produce! Get results! Make money! Make friends! Make changes!
Or you will die of despair!

Those who are caught in the machinery of power take no joy except in activity and change.
The whirring of the machine!

Whenever an occasion for action presents itself, they are compelled to act: they cannot help themselves.
They are inexorably moved, like the machine of which they are a part.
Prisoners in the world of objects, they have no choice, but to submit to the demands of the matter.
They are pressed down and crushed by external forces, fashion, the market, events, public opinion.
Never in a whole lifetime do they recover their right mind!

The active life!
What a pity!

(Chuang Tzu - translated by Thomas Merton)
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"The Need to Win" by Chuang Tzu


The Need to Win

When an archer is shooting for nothing,
he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle,
he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold,
he goes blind or sees two targets.
He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed,
but the prize divides him.

He cares.

He thinks more of winning than of shooting.
And the need to win drains him of power.

—Chuang Tzu
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THE EMPTY BOAT by Chuang Tzu

colorful_wooden_cape_cod_boat_by_provincetown_arti_seascapes__landscapes__a462a7eee67397606ca521714fb706b6
”Colorful Wooden Cape Cod Boat by Provincetown Artist”
by Nancy Poucher


 
Who can free himself of achievement and fame
Then descend and be lost
Amidst the masses of men?
 
He will flow like Tao, unseen…
He will go about like life itself,
With no name and no home.
 
Simple is he, without.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace.
 
He has no power.
He achieves nothing.
He has no reputation.
 
Since he judges no one,
No one judges him.
 
Such is the perfect man.
His boat is empty.


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