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The Text The Man: Zhuang Zhou The CT in Relation to the TTC Its Characteristics Chuang-tzu’s exemplary men Opposite values Equality of things,Follow Nature, Value Spontaneity The ultimate man Life and death Deceptive virtue Heaven Immortality Mind, Body, and Understanding of Life

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the chuang tzu zhuangzi wan dering on the way
The Text

The Man: Zhuang Zhou

The CT in Relation to the TTC

Its Characteristics

Chuang-tzu’s exemplary men

Opposite values

Equality of things,Follow Nature, Value Spontaneity

The ultimate man

Life and death

Deceptive virtue



Mind, Body, and Understanding of Life

Dream, reality, and others

The Chuang-tzu/Zhuangzi:Wandering on the Way
t he chuang tzi zhuangzi
The Chuang-tzi/Zhuangzi
  • A Literary text
    • a work of literature with some lengthy dialogues on philosophical issues
    • great literature full of wisdom, imagination, wit, and humor
    • mixture of prose and poetry
    • characterized by parables, anecdotes, fiction, paradoxical statements, allegorical and rhetorical arguments
    • rich in allusions, analogy, metaphor, parody, ridicule
  • The text represented several Daoist trends
    • Inspired literary works throughout centuries
    • Aided the formulation of religious visions of various traditions such as Chan
four major strands of thought
Four Major Strands of Thought
  • The text consists materials from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE and has 4 distinct voices/strands:
    • Zhuang Zhous’ school (Inner Chapters, chs. 16-17,33)
    • The primitivists (chs. 8-10)
    • The Syncrestists (chs. 11-5,33)
    • The Hedonists (chs. 28-31)
four voices
Four Voices
  • Primitivists (anarchists)
    • Worldviews similar to that of the DDJ
    • Emphasizes more on simplicity/simple life/wu
    • Condemns developed social structure and culture, such as government, technology
    • Ideal men are men of integrity (te/de) or inner virtue
    • Ideal society is similar to the small community portrayed in the TTC/DDJ 30/80
    • refines and theorizes the Dao discussed in the TTC/DDJ
    • Demonstrates integration of the more formalized forms of cosmology and worldview into the basic understanding of Dao.
      • integrates Qi, Yin-Yang, and five phases into a fluid system
    • Advocates that every aspect of life is positive and part of Dao
    • Man should live a life of no constraints and no restrictions according to the natural impulse of Dao
    • Satisfies one’s personal desires because they are expressions of the greater cosmic goodness

School of Zhuang Zhou Himself

  • Wandering on the Way: (Free and Easy Wandering
    • Freedom: understand ones’ inner quality and fulfill one’s natural self to attain perfect happiness
    • Skepticism and relativism
Existence of spontaneous flow of life experience
    • Holistic, non-dual, non-dichotomy way
  • Fasting of the mind
    • Qi exercise, completeness of inner virtue, realization of mental serenity
  • Accept one’s fate
    • Transcend one’s feeling, go along with heaven
the man ca 369 286 bce
The Man (ca. 369-286 BCE)
  • Known for beating on a basin and singing upon the death of his wife (18:2)
  • Known for seeing death, including his own, as a natural process or transformation and a blissful state of existence (18: 2,3,4)
  • Valued spiritual and physical freedom (17:5)
  • Stressed the value of intuitive knowledge (17:7)
  • Believed that the society and government in his time were corrupting
  • Saw the authority of the ancient sages could no longer be dependent on as an adequate guide to the contemporary world
  • Man is not the center of all things (creatures), but one among the myriad things (creatures)
mencius mengzi
  • Successor of Confucius
  • His Confucianism is characterized by optimism:
    • Key to social harmony is located in the human mind, which is originally good, as evidenced by “four beginning”
      • The feeling of commiseration-------→beginning of humaneness
      • The feeling of shame and dislike----→ beginning of righteousness
      • The feeling of respect and reverence→ beginning of etiquette
      • The feeling of right and wrong---------→beginning of wisdom
  • All people possess instinctual or innate knowledge of the good and have the ability to do good in all social situations

Evil is due to people’s failure to recognize and develop their innate good, which resulted in the loss of [good] mind

  • Learning lies in the process of searching for the “lost mind”
    • Learning through reading
    • Learning through nurturing this mind (yăng qì )
  • Personal good→community →state→humane government
Thus, Mencius was the active spokesperson of Confucian ethics:
    • “No man is devoid of a heart sensitive to the suffering of others.”
    • “suppose a man were, all of a sudden, to see a young child on the verge of falling into a well, he would certainly be moved to compassion, not because he wanted to get in the good graces of the parents, nor because he wished to win the praise of his fellow villagers or friends….
taoist daoist mockery of confucian ethics
Taoist/Daoist Mockery of Confucian ethics
  • Taoist/Daoist swimmer saw Confucian morality a symptom of poor insight and understanding
    • Morality only arises when one has allowed circumstances to deteriorate to the extent that artificial goodness is called for
    • Example: Confucius was emotionally disturbed by watching the Daoist swimmer and wanted to save him, only to see his worry completely out of place. (19:8, p.182)
Humaneness and righteousness may be core Confucian moral values, but from a Daoist view, they are nothing but ineffective remedies in a degenerated society.
  • DDJ:
    • When the geat Way was forsaken
    • There were humaneness and ighteousness
    • When cunning and wit appeared
    • There was great falsity
    • When the six family relationship lacked harmony
    • There were filial piety and parental kindness
    • When the state and royal house were in disarray
    • There were upright ministers (DDJ, 62/18)
the zhuangzi in relation to the ddj
TheZhuangzi in Relation to the DDJ
  • Similar to the DDJ but no direct quote from it
  • Not interested in establishing some sort of Taoist rule like the DDJ did
  • compared with the Daode jing:
    • More concerned with mental attitudes
    • Condemns active political involvement
    • wants no part of machinery of government
    • Compares state bureacrats to sacrificial ox and sacred turtle
nonaction without any practical goal or purpose
  • loved freedom of the individual
  • stressed transcendence
  • transformation replaced production
its characteristics
Its Characteristics
  • No systematic philosophy
  • Reiterates points in the TTC/DDG
  • Elaborates on points not stressed in the TTC/DDJ
    • Nature
    • Spontaneity
    • Freedom
    • Transformation of things
    • Equality of things
    • Diversity rather than uniformity
    • no absolute reality except for the Tao
    • Anti-rationalism
    • Relativism--relativity of all values
    • Intuition
chuang tzu s exemplary men
Chuang-tzu’s exemplary men
  • Congenitally defective, physically mutilated, ugly, deformed, but shinning with Te
    • Scattered Apart (4:7)
    • Princely Nag (5:1)
    • Shent’u Chia (5: 2)
    • Toeless Nuncle Hill (5: 3)
    • Nag the Hump (5: 4)
    • Lipless Glubfoot Scattered (5:5)
    • Jar Goiter (5:5)
r reversal of common value s
Rreversal of Common Values
  • Those useless are useful; those worthless are worthy, those inauspicious are auspicious
    • A carpenter and a chestnut-leaved oak 4: 4
    • Sir Motley and huge tree 4: 5
    • Trees have worth got chopped down 4: 6
    • Trees that yield got chopped down 4: 9
equality of all things
Equalityof All Things
  • Equality of All Things
    • All beings and things are fundamentally one
    • no absolute value, only relative
  • Follow Nature,Value Spontaneity
  • Discard knowledge, forget distinctions
    • 5: 6
the ultimate men of the past the ture man of old
The Ultimate Men of the Past, the Ture Man of Old
  • The ultimate men of the past first sought to preserve it in themselves and only after that to preserve it in others (CT,p.30)
  • The mind of the ultimate man functions like a mirror (CT, p.71)
  • Only when there is a true man is there true knowledge (CT, pp. 52-53)
    • The true man of old did not oppose the minority
    • The true man of old did not dream when he slept….
    • The true man of old knew neither fondness for life nore aversion to death
    • The true man of old was towering in stature but….
  • Example:
    • Master Hu (pp.68-70,#5)
life and death
Life and Death
  • Life and death are destined, due to heaven (CT, 53-55) and belong to the transformation of the Tao
    • Like alternation of day and night. (CT, 53,58-59)
    • Dictated by heaven, men are unable to interfere
  • Life is:
    • an attached cyst; and appended tumor
  • Death is:
    • the bursting of a boil, the draining of an abscess (CT, 60)
What should men do with life and death?
    • Understand “oneness of life and death and of existence and non-existence (CT, pp. 57-58)
    • Be compliant with what Nature (Tao/Dao) commands you (your lot)
    • Be in accord with the spontaneous and not add to life (CT, p. 49)
    • Go along with the transformation of things (which is due to the Tao/Dao)
Wander about where things do not disappear (nature, way)—wandering on the Way, free and easy wandering
  • Accept one’s life as it is: to be good at being young and good at growing old; good at beginning and good at ending
  • Recognize the inevitable and accept it as one’s destiny (CT, pp. 45, 64-65)
  • Understand that death is “return to the true”
zhuangzi s theory of regimen
Zhuangzi’s Theory of Regimen
  • Conserve life: follow nature
    • Pursuing knowledge [endlessly] is dangerous (3:1)
    • Forget acquired knowledge
      • Fishnet allegory: (26:13, p.276)
      • Cook Ting/Ding allegory (3:2)
    • “emancipation of the lord” (3:5)
inaction and deceptive virtue
Inaction and Deceptive Virtue
  • Deceptive virtue in ruling: by canons, patterns, rules, and regulation (CT, 67)
  • Good ruling and enlightened kings:
    • following along with the nature of things
    • wanders in nonexistence (wu, nonbeing) (CT, 68)
heaven nature tian
Heaven/Nature (Tian天)
  • Heaven-intoxicated man
  • “Tian” designates the whole scenario of cosmic and social functioning, the course of time and the pattern of space, or simply natural process
  • The position of the sage is the “pivot of the Dao”, the “center of the circle”
The perspective of the sage is the perspective of the heaven
    • “The sage does not subscribe to the view based on single perspective, but see things in the light of heaven/nature
    • The course of nature is “ziran” (self-so), “natural”; it has its own course
  • Immortality may be possible, but is not the primary concern
    • Spirit man (1:3)
  • Correct conception of life and death could rid one of the fear of mortality
  • The ultimate man is spiritous (CT, p.21)
mind body and understanding of life
Mind, Body, and Understanding of Life
  • Fasting of the Mind (4:1, p.32)
  • Sit and forget (6:9)
  • Do what is doable, abandon the world/affairs
    • become one with heaven, one with the Tao/Dao (CT, 19:1)
    • guard the purity of one’s vital breath (CT, 19: 2)
dream is reality reality is dream
Dream is Reality/Reality is Dream
  • Butterfly dream (2:14, p.24)