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Oeuvre complète de Tchouang-Tseu

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  2,263 ratings  ·  76 reviews

-- Asian Affairs



The basic writings of Chuang Tzu have been savored by Chinese readers for over two thousand years. And Burton Watson's lucid and beautiful translation has been loved by generations of readers.

Chuang Tzu (369?-286? B.C.) was a leading philosopher representing the Taoist strain in Chinese thought. Using parable and anecdote, allegory and paradox, he set fort

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Paperback, 388 pages
Published by Gallimard (first published -350)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tim
This book contains the "inner chapters," not the entire Chuang Tzu, but generally considered the essential and least corrupt chapters. It's one of my favorite books, and after reading Watson's translation I'm unable to read anyone else's - it's wonderful (and there are quite a few weak versions, and weaker paraphrases). Of the Chinese classics I've read this is not only the most subtle and profound, it's sometimes absolutely hilarious. His parodies of Confucianism are a riot, his magical unreali ...more
Jess
I almost felt like putting this on the "fantasy" shelf, so much of it was so purely fanciful. Chuang-tzu is, in the words of my prof, "a wild literary ride." Daoist in affiliation, this book is actually pretty drastically different from Lao-tzu's, and much more of the mystical side. The only reason why it's at 4 and not 5 stars is the lack of cohesiveness which plagues these +2000 year old texts. It can be a little hard to focus your attention at times when the thing is jumping all over the plac ...more
Adam
Feb 20, 2010 Adam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in Taoism
Recommended to Adam by: Freshman Studies
I found this to be a nice discussion of Taoism, worlds easier to extract meaning from than the Tao Te Ching, though not quite as clear as the Tao of Pooh. It has all the trappings of ancient philosophy: parables, dialogues, and very poor logical constructions (though, unlike in Plato, these are essentially irrelevant for Zhuangzi; the point is never expressed in logical terms, but rather by illustration in analogy and parable).

The parables are somewhat repetitious, both in tone and in ideas, an
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Choonghwan
The book of Chuang Tzu


He says what we hold dear for which we even commit our own life is often not Tao. Obsession with honor, wealth, power as well as knowledge blind our spiritual eyes to see true purpose and meaning of life.

Without intervention and supervision, spring follows winter. Day follows night. Flowers bloom. Form which every life springs up and through which we can peek what Tao is. In this sense, righteousness and benevolence, he warns, do more harm than good on balance: some disgui
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Joseph
I've read this a number of times and I've read other translations ... for me Burton Watson is the best ... the humor shines through and the language Watson uses in his translation is clear and precise. He also provides useful footnotes which are located on the same page as the text

Here's a famous sample using the famous cleaver illustration: "However, whenever I come to a complicated place, I size up the difficulties, tell myself to watch out and be careful, keep my eyes on what I'm doing, work
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Gregg
Ursula K. LeGuin's "Lathe of Heaven" has a few quotes by Chuang Tzu inside; namely the one about a man dreaming he's a butterfly, who when waking questions if he's now a butterfly dreaming he's a man. This book is a collection of mind-bending parables about imaginary creatures, arguments between philosophers from different times, and places that don't exist.
Delly
So far this was the most entertaining philosophy book I have had to read for my class, and the most relatable to my life. There are practices in Taoism I am too selfish to attain. However, there was one aspect that I totally related to: Woodworker Ch'ing on pages 126-127 would only carve from a tree if he saw the bell stand within. I used to be a costumer for a historic site, and I tried to only buy fabric if I could imagine it in garment form - and the fabrics I bought without this "vision" lan ...more
Bruno Oliveira
Once upon a time, I, Chuang Tzu, dreamt that I was a butterfly, flitting around and enjoying myself. I had no idea I was Chuang Tzu. Then suddenly I woke up and was Chuang Tzu again. But I could not tell, had I been Chuang Tzu dreaming I was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming I was now Chuang Tzu ?
Joe Green
I'm gonna keep this short: I love this book so much I'm tempted to learn Chinese just so I can better get the true words of Chuang Tzu.

Those of you who have it marked as "to read", get on with it already, it's more than well-worth your time.
Felonious
Aug 26, 2014 Felonious rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Interested In Taoism
Over the years I have read many books about Tao, and I'm more than a little embarrassed to admit that this is the first book I have read by Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu was one of the earliest and most prolific writers on Tao/Taoism. Several of the stories in this book I have heard/read versions of in other books. Some of my favorites are “The Useless Tree”, “3 In The Morning”, and “Training a Cock to Fight”. Even though these stories along with several others were already known to me it was nice to r ...more
Opzonbee
As a Chinese,the time(Spring and Autumn Periods)Chuang Tsu,Sun Tsu,Lao Tsu,etc lived is always fascinating to me,it's one of few periods in the long history that actually make me proud.Of course,Chuang Tsz is a must read for me,though I find it difficult and I haven't finished it in the years,the ideas Chuang Zhou brought in his works inspired me so much that I mentioned him here and there from time to time.What he said more than 2000 years ago always remind me that out of the suffering and mean ...more
Jordan Hunt
The Martin Palmer translation of The Book of Chuang Tzu is an excellent introduction to Taoism that eschews a rigorous academic translation in favor of an accessible one. Footnotes are few and far between, and there is no doubt that much has been lost in translation (Martin admits as much in his introduction). However, the essence of Chuang Tzu remains the same.

This book is made up of two sections. The seven "Inner Chapters" are believed to have been written by Chuang Tzu himself. These chapter
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Alex
Oh crap, I woke up this morning and realized that the butterfly was dreaming me!!

Tasty little book, includes inner and outer chapters that can be read in any order. From what I understand the translation has been somewhat simplified for the Western reader by omitting at least some of the Chinese cultural references. That said Martin Palmer’s translation is considered to be pretty good overall.

I was primarily interested in checking the text out from a neuro-scientific and anti-enlightenment persp
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H
(trans. Martin Palmer)

Cook Ting put down his knife and said, 'What your servant loves best is the Tao, which is better than any art. When I started to cut up oxen, hat I saw was just a complete ox. After three years I had learnt not to see the ox as whole. Now I practise with my mind, not with my eyes. I ignore my sense and follow my spirit. I see the natural lines and my knife slides through the great hollows, follows the great cavities, using that which is already there to my advantage. . . .'
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Hieu Cao
I don't understand several first chapters; however, the text gradually makes sense by itself. Chuang Tzu attempts to show us a perspective completely different from conventional thinkings but perfectly harmonious. A must-read!

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03/12/2011, Sat
This is my second reading. I will make some statements about my insights gained from this book:
- All 'words' are relative but points to one absolute truth of nothingness.
- There must be something in order to have nothingness.
- Life as well as the whole wor
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Neil
Zhuangzi has been labeled a "Taoist" since the 2nd century B.C., but what the hell does that mean? Sima Qian started this whole thing of calling Laozi and Zhuangzi "Taoists", like they shared the same world view and argued the same ideas. Wrong! Laozi and Zhuangzi really need to be taken as separate representations of different ways of thought, distinct not only from each other but from the wave of "Confucians" (another label courtesy of Sima Qian in the 2nd century BC) to come after Confucius h ...more
William Cheek
Feb 10, 2010 William Cheek rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Them that likes to think a bit
It doesn't matter what your worldview is - Chuang Tzu is good food for the mind.

The basic allure is in the concept of casting off...everything. Our deepest thoughts and considerations are almost always blocked by certain premises that we are unable to see through. Chuang Tzu escapes these barriers, in a thrilling and powerful way.

At its basic level, The Way according to Chuang Tzu is not anchored in anything. Physical circumstance, metaphysical reality - these do not, well, MATTER. The Way is a
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Tony duncan
After reading the Tao Te Ching, I discovered Chuang Tzu and it blew me away. This was an actual historical person that is documented and these are his writings.

The main thing is that his points are made in a style that is completely n harmony with the philosophy. Some of the passages are very funny, and the emotional connection fo the humor makes the point being made affect you. It is the connection to the idea, and the making it a part of oneself, rather than the intellectual understanding that
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Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson
This is one of those books that I always have with me. I am not a Chinese scholar but I've studied and practiced Tai Chi and traveled in China immediately after the cultural revolution in the early 1980's. That gave me a chance to see a culture and a way of life that I suspect hardly exists anymore. Chuang Tzu's Taoist writings are one of the basic tenets of Chinese philosophy and anyone interested in China, martial arts or philosophy should read this book. Like any ancient book shrouded in myst ...more
Christopher J Sparks
A collection of writings which represent the heart of early Taoist literature by Chuang-Tzu, 369 BC to 286 BC. This particular translation is a fun read, David Hinton having taken a light hearted but insightful approach to conjuring some of the meaning lost when moving from a language with implied meaning like Chinese to English, where meaning must be directly expressed. The last 2 pieces are my favorite works of this text.
Geoff Balme
As translated ancient Asian texts go, this is a nice little work.
This was published in 1964 and while compared to the 2300 year history of the works this is nothing, I'm sure there are more modern interpretations that might be of some use to casual readers.

The introduction is excellent and the footnotes are very helpful in attempting to understand (where possible, it's not always!) the probable meaning of some of the allegorical stories.

Dan Domanski
There is a three-star rating for saying "I liked it." There is a one-star rating for saying "I did not like it." There is a two-star rating which is a not yet three-star rating. There is a two-star rating which is a more than one-star rating. If a book has received a two-star rating, the reviewer did not like it, otherwise the book would receive a three-star rating. If a book has received a two-star rating, the reviewer did not did not like it, otherwise the book would receive a one-star rating. ...more
Clay Kallam
This is a vibrant translation of an overlooked -- and important -- work of Chinese philosophy. Chuang Tzu (or Chuangzi) is best known in the West for his question about an afternoon nap: Am I a man dreaming of being a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming of being a man? But there is much more to Chuang Tsu, and this brief work (barely 100 small pages) was so compelling as soon as I finished, I read it again. David Hinton's translation is excellent, the contents profound and "The Inner Chapters" is ...more
Jacopo
Il Zhuang-zi è uno dei testi fondamentali del Taoismo e rappresenta una lettura davvero ostica. Diviso in capitoli tematici, raccoglie una serie di parabole e aneddoti, i quali hanno lo scopo di presentare concetti taoisti. Il suo stile libero lascia intendere che il suo scopo originale non fosse affatto quello di divulgare l'insegnamento; questo, unito alla natura polivalente del Taoismo stesso, rende spesso difficoltosa l'interpretazione delle storie riportate.

Senza dubbio un libro da leggere
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bryce
Mar 18, 2007 bryce rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kung-fools
the good word...
4th century BCE... comedian, poet, story teller, and trickster..
a book i continually aspire to understand and hold myself to,
With a satchel of quirky stories... he single handedly undermined the institution of rational thought in ancient China..
(who knows if that's true.. it just has a ring to it...)

Burton Watson... is an excellent translator, a famous scholar... ive read four other translations.. only his manages to begin to capture all the multitudes... (though others are be
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Nick
Lovely poetic stories exemplifying key Daoist concepts. Whereas the Tao Te Ching is pure symbolism and poetry, this is a collection of parables. That means its a lot more "concrete." As a result, it gets even more explicitly anarchist than Laozi at times, but it also gets even more explicitly bizarre (condemning listening to complex music for example). This has the famous Butterfly Dream parable in it, as well as the Turtle of Ch'u parable, which were both excellent. This is a good way for peopl ...more
Mr. Kohanski
Chuang-tzu is, to my mind, not only the most interesting philosopher from either the east or the west, but the most readily applicable. He builds upon earlier Taoist thought taking it in more radical directions, deconstructing everything from social power structures to our insistence on naming and classifying objects around us, always peeling away the layers of pretense to question the conventional and foster an outlook based on total flexibility. If you have ever felt that the world is too rigi ...more
Myles
Apr 22, 2008 Myles rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophy kids and eastern religion types.
in a nutshell, this book offers a fairly loose translation of the Chuang Tzu, and offers a bit of philosophical difference from the works of Confucius. The book is sometimes a bit difficult to grasp, until you remember what the prologue suggests doing, and then the tales of pages begin, once again, to come together as they were intended to do.

Personally, I think that Confucius had a better way than the Chuang Tzu.

Then again... maybe it's just the frame of mind that I read it from?

all in all- w
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Brimate
I'm giving up on reading it for now... there are some gems of Taoist wisdom that are helpful for me to read, but much of the text is obscure, appears contradictory at times, and I can't make much sense out of it. I was excited to read it, as Chuang Tzu is seen as more radical than Lao Tzu, and it contains a variety of writing styles (stories, historical and cultural references, sarcasm and humour, making fun of Confucius) but I can't easily glean the wisdom from this translation of these enigmat ...more
reluctantpeach
some parts kind of blew my mind, some parts kind of made me have a mini existential crisis
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149093
庄子 or 莊子 Zhūangzi (c. 369 BC - c. 286 BC).
Zhuangzi, or “Master Zhuang” (also known in the Wade-Giles romanization as Chuang-tzu) was, after Laozi, one of the earliest thinkers to contribute to the philosophy that has come to be known as Daojia, or school of the Way. According to traditional dating, he was an almost exact contemporary of the Confucian thinker Mencius, but there appears to have been
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More about Zhuangzi...
The Way of Chuang Tzu The Inner Chapters The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings: With Selections from Traditional Commentaries

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“Words are not just wind. Words have something to say. But if what they have to say is not fixed, then do they really say something? Or do they say nothing? People suppose that words are different from the peeps of baby birds, but is there any difference, or isn't there? What does the Way rely upon, that we have true and false? What do words rely upon, that we have right and wrong? How can the Way go away and not exist? How can words exist and not be acceptable? When the Way relies on little accomplishments and words reply on vain show, then we have rights and wrongs of the Confucians and the Mo-ists. What one calls right the other calls wrong; what one calls wrong the other calls right. But if we want to right their wrongs and wrong their rights, then the best to use is clarity.” 17 likes
“The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten the words, so that I can talk to him?” 9 likes
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