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The Way of Chuang Tzu (Shambhala Pocket Classics)

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  2,435 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Working from existing translations, Thomas Merton composed a series of personal versions from his favorites among the classic sayings of Chuang Tzu, the most spiritual of the Chinese philosophers. Chuang Tzu, who wrote in the fourth and third centuries B.C., is the chief authentic historical spokesman for Taoism and its founder Lao Tzu (a legendary character known largely ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 30th 1992 by Shambhala (first published -300)
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A J You do not need anything, just enjoy Merton's poetic simplicity in bringing Zhuangzi's teaching to life.
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Jan 19, 2016 KamRun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
فلسفه چین و تفاوت هایش با فلسفه غربی

فلسفه یونان و فلسفه چین باستان، در بنیاد خود از یکدیگر جدا می شوند. فلسفه یونانی از ابتدا توجه زیادی به اضداد داشت و ابتدایی ترین نظریه های فلسفی نیز بر همین اصل استوار است.اما در شرق، فلسفه نه بر اضداد، بلکه بر پیوستگی جهان و همه چیز (ذات دائو) بنا شده است
نخستین فیلسوفان چینی صرفا فیلسوف بودند اما در یونان باستان اندیشمندان فیلسوف-دانشمند بودند. فلسفه نخستین یونان دارای عناصری دینی آن روزگار، یعنی اساطیر ادیان باستانی یونانی بود و مدت ها طول کشید تا انتقال از
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Way of Chuang Tzu (Shambhala Library), Zhuangzi
عنوان: این کتاب بی فایده است؛ نویسنده: توماس مرتون؛ تهران، کاروان، 1394؛ برگردان علیرضا تنکابنی؛ در 231 ص، مصور؛ موضوع: آموزه های جوانگ دزو؛ قرن 4 پیش از میلاد
Feb 03, 2013 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who think outside of the box
This is one of the first books I read some time ago after first reading the Chuang Tzu. Read it because I needed to read other interpretations of the Chuang Tzu. Merton has a special appeal for me because I had read his great “Seven Story Mountain” and I am enamored of Trappist monks (maybe because I’m not sure I have the fortitude it would take to live those vows). Even given that Merton did not read Chinese, I still think that his is a unique perspective, perhaps because he more than anyone el ...more
Sep 21, 2008 Hannibal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, religion
جوانگ زه دومین استاد بزرگ فلسفه دائو پس از لائو زه است. اگر دائو دجینگ منسوب به لائوزه را مانیفست اعتقادی ایین دائو محسوب کنیم، این اثر به نوعی در برگیرنده اخلاقی دائوی است.
برگردان انگلیسی این کتاب از توماس مرتون است و نمی دانم مترجم پارسی تا چه اندازه در متن آن تصرف کرده است. برای مثال هر جا که در کتاب واژه "خدا" ذکر شده، در متن اصلی چینی "دائو" است که به معنای راه و سلوک و ... می باشد. از این روی این ترجمه را نباید ترجمه ای دقیق انگاشت، هر چند که خواندنش خالی از لطف نیست و برای آشنایی با حال و
Jul 14, 2016 Mobina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
عالی بود این كتاب... اندیشه های تامل برانگیزی رو تجربه كردم...
از متن:
وقتی كفش اندازه است، پا فراموش شود.
وقتی كمربند اندازه است، شكم فراموش شود.
نه فشاری،نه اجباری
نه نیازی،نه كششی
و اینگونه جمله ی كارها زیر مهار و تو آزادی
آرام،درست است
درست، تو آرامی
به آرامی ادامه بده و تو درستی...
راه درست آرام رفتن فراموش كردن راه درست است و فراموش كردن اینكه رفتن آرام است...
Bob Nichols
Apr 13, 2010 Bob Nichols rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Among the classical Chinese philosophers (550-250 BCE), Chuang Tzu (d. 275) was the premier voice for Taoism. The Tao is regarded as mysterious, immune to description. Taoism's legendary founder, Lao Tzu (who may not have existed), states that "The name that can be named is not the constant name." In the same vein, Chuang Tzu writes that "Tao is a name that indicates without defining." Given this characterization or lack thereof, even a reference to "the Tao" is problematic as "the" qualifies Ta ...more
Apr 22, 2016 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a reference book on my shelf, which I return to again and again. Chuang Tzu illustrates the way with fables rather than epigrams. More approachable than Lao Tzu, thought some stories can be as enigmatic as truisms. Not a book to read through cover to cover in one sitting, but rather a book to leave around, and pick a page at random whenever guidance is needed.
Dec 16, 2009 Guy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: multiple-reads
Enjoyable, but when I first read it felt it wasn't up to 5 stars, and gave it a 3. However on recent re-read, I now rate it a full five stars. Not sure what has changed about me to make such a change in my perception of the writing, but on this read even the introduction stood out as exceptionally entertaining.

A couple of paragraphs stood out as worthy of citing:

[My:] 'readings' [of Chuang Tzu:] are not attempts at faithful reproduction but ventures in personal and spiritual interpretation. Inev
Nov 02, 2012 fabi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
بهترین کتابی که تا به حال خوانده ام
Glen Grunau
Jun 07, 2014 Glen Grunau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chuang Tzu is considered the greatest of the Taoist writers (at least among those whose historical existence can be verified) that lived during the classic period of Chinese philosophy from 550 to 250 BC. This roughly parallels the timeline in Bible history from the time of the exile of Judah to Babylon and extending well into the "400 years of silence" between the OT and NT scriptures.

If one has an openness to accept the idea of religious pluralism, then the teachings of Chuang Tzu may be cons
Ted Child
Dec 20, 2009 Ted Child rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Tao Teh Ching a few years ago and become obsessed, reading various translations. I saved reading any Chuang Tzu till now. Generally Chuang Tzu is less ambiguous and more consistent than Lao Tzu. It is much easier to see the influence of Chuang Tzu rather then Lao Tzu on Zen Buddhism.
Here is some quotes I loved: “The rich make life intolerable, driving themselves in order to get more and more money which they cannot really use. In so doing they are alienated from themselves, and exh
James Klagge
Received this as a thank-you gift from a former student. I recently saw a piece about how the largest enrolled class at Harvard is now on Chinese philosophy. I was imagining using this as a text for a class. I don't see it. Of course there is the irony of all the institutional trappings of a class in connection with Zen. But it also couldn't help but feed the sense that philosophy is a silly game. Often the point of a story is that "consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." But of course th ...more
Aug 09, 2016 Yaholo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book feels like a sequel to the Tao Te Ching. With quick-to-read small parables and koans of wisdom, often as a conversation between two people, The Way of Chuang Tzu can bring a dose of enlightenment to any extended restroom trip. Also like the Tao Te Ching, this book helps the mind unravel the knots of the mind and open up to the world around it. What does butchering a cow have to do finding joy? You'll have to read to find out.
Jan 29, 2014 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Monk Thomas Merton reflects on the works of Chung Tzu, who lived in Asia nearly 2500 years ago. We are invited to release ourselves from servitude to riches, ambition, duty, and even virtue. The way begins with the simple good of being, in and through each moment. Happiness lies in doing nothing whatsoever calculated to obtain happiness, rather in bringing full presence to each situation, this making clear the path.
Jun 10, 2008 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read two other translations of Chuang Tzu and this is without a doubt the best. Other translations seem to be word for word and lose out on the poetry of the stories. Chuang is the poetic fulfillment of Taoist philosophy.

When the meaning of words are grasped, the words are forgotten. Find me the man who knows no words, for he is the one I'd like to talk to.

Rodger Broome
May 19, 2012 Rodger Broome rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book of wisdom. Short pages and snippets that are pregnant with paradigm shifting messages.
Oliver Ho
Dec 18, 2013 Oliver Ho rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read two other translations several years ago, and I'd been curious about this one for some time. Thomas Merton's introduction is excellent. He explains how he didn't translate the book so much as make an "imitation" based on four or five other translations, each of which was quite different. In that respect, this reminded me of Robert Lowell's book, "Imitations." Merton also gives an interesting overview of Chinese philosophy and its parallels to his particular interests, namely his mystic Ch ...more
Mareechi Sannyasin
Lawrence  Weber
The Way of Chuang Tzu, by Thomas Merton, is the product of five years of immersion, study, prayer, and reflection on the work of Zhuangzi, one of the towering figures in Chinese Taoism (Daojia) who lived sometime between the Fourth and Third Century BC.

According to Merton, the notes based on his meditative readings, "have acquired a shape of their own and have become, as it were, 'imitations' of Chuang Tzu." Merton goes on to describe these imitations as personal spiritual interpretations and s
Aug 08, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jason by: Conversations with Tengjiao Chen and Zhi Chai
I am finally reading it after conversations about Chinese philosophy and religion with several Chinese undergraduates on a field trip to Chicago. I purchased it at the Richland Community College bookstore, sometime during the summer of 1992, before I had heard of either Thomas Merton or Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu).

As I later learned, Zhuangzi was the second great expositor of Daojiao or Daoist (Taoist) philosophy, following a few centuries after the legendary Laozi (Lao Tzu). Instead of propounding hi
Sep 27, 2013 Arda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book showed up in my mail one day and I had no idea where it came from, until months later. I was not sure why the person who sent it to me decided that I should read it. Did I look lost? Did I seem as the type of person who needed guidance? Was this a way to maneuver me into religion? On the back-page I read: "Fishes are born into water. Man is born into Tao..." This looked way too simplistic for my taste. Would I have the patience for it?

And so the book stayed on my shelf for almost two y
Bernie Gourley
Dec 18, 2013 Bernie Gourley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Way of Chuang Tzu is Thomas Merton’s take on Chuang Tzu’s lessons of Taoism. One might ask why a person should learn about Taoism from a Trappist monk any more than one would learn the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi from a Zen monk. Maybe you should and maybe you shouldn’t, but I think Merton did a remarkable job in putting this book together and that there’s a lot to be learned from it. Some may find a fresh fusion in Merton’s approach to Chuang Tzu.

What I like most about this version o
Ali M.
Sep 11, 2016 Ali M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soul-food
Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk who lived at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky (of all places), was buddies with the Dalai Lama. Yep, picture Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism hanging out side by side and learning from each other – acknowledging and sharing the wisdom that exists in each spiritual discipline. It's a beautiful thing, and not as rare as people think. As often as the world is torn apart by religious dissent, I think it's more important than ever to hold up these examples of harmon ...more
Nov 22, 2014 Keith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The dawn must look different to one living on a small lake from which he gets his dinner, idling about alone, without work, without a spouse, without a child and without a mortgage. How does the bread taste to one withdrawn from society, from politics, from family, indifferent to life, to death, to law, to friends, to duty, to good and evil?

Looking out his window he sees the swirling confusion of life, the tumbling hopes and stark anxieties of his neighbors, the whirling exasperation and sinking
Teo 2050
(view spoiler)
Nov 08, 2010 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
I didn't know much about Taoism before I read this book. What little I did know came from books about Zen- often, when describing the origins of Zen, authors would say something like "Zen came out of the intersection of Buddhism with Chinese Taoism"- so I was interested to see what exactly that meant. I picked this slim volume because it was written by Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk. His "Seven Story Mountain" has been recommended to me a bunch of times, but so far I've been intimidated by its ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Allenh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always heard of the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, but until a foray into Br. Thomas Merton's works I had never heard of Chuang Tzu. It's a true shame that more people don't know about Lao Tzu, as I feel his work is much more close to what I would call Zen than Lao Tzu's, even though Lao Tzu's work is the definitive work on Tao. Chuang Tzu was a poet, and my Chinese friends call his work beautiful, and I have to agree, his stories about Tao mean more than Lao Tzu's sayings about Tao for me. The ...more
Nov 27, 2013 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am a great admirer of Thomas Merton. However, the content of his translation is too frequently wrong to make this translation a reliable representation of what Zhuang Zi (Chuang Tzu) meant.

There are many places in ancient Chinese where, e.g., one person might translate: "The sage always..." and another person might translate: "The Dao always..." That is because the original text did not have a subject. The reader has to supply that part. Usually there is no way to figure it out for sure; eithe
Jan 13, 2016 Wise_owl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The second major text in the Taoist Canon after the Tao Te Ching, the Way of Chuang Tzu is a collection of stories and parables meant to illustrate historical truths.

I've been following Taoism for quite some time, so I was familiar with a good portion of this book already, if not having read it in it's entirety. I would be interested to see other translation of the work, and will endeavour myself to read it in it's original Literary Chinese form eventually. For now though it filled with some en
Raúl Sánchez
Feb 10, 2012 Raúl Sánchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Versiones (más que traducciones) del libro de Chuang Tzu. Esto no me parece desmerito, Merton es un gran poeta al que admiro y si algunas partes son sospechosamente cristianas o modernas la traducción gana en eufonía y en hermosas descripciones paisajísticas, además de una segura comprensión mística de las paradojas del Tao. Esa comprensión de un occidental sólo podía provenir de alguien como Merton, un gran poeta y un monje trapense, profundamente influido por San Juan de la Cruz y por Santa Te ...more
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Thomas Merton was one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, in the American state of Kentucky, Merton was an acclaimed Catholic spiritual writer, poet, author and social activist. Merton wrote over 60 books, scores of essays and reviews, and is the ongoing subject of many biographies. Merton was also a proponent of int ...more
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