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Oeuvre complète de Tchouang-Tseu

4.4  ·  Rating Details ·  1,414 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
A Chinese classic, the Chuang Tzu was written sometime in the 14th century BC, and consists of original teachings, stories, tales and jokes told by Master Chuang, as well as others which have coalesced round his name. It is considered second only to the Tao Te Ching, but the two books coundn't be more different. Where the Tao Te Ching is distant and proverbial in style, th ...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published by Gallimard (first published -350)
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Apr 28, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Following the Tao (the Way) is a method of being in the world but not of it. This volume translates certain key texts of the Tao, here mostly short stories featuring the rich and powerful, their advisors, set up against the followers of the Way. Followers of the Way don’t chase after riches, follow ceremony or boast at their good fortune. They also do not lament their penury or bad fortune. They don’t lose their temper needlessly, don’t engage in argument or political debates, and don’t devise s ...more
Gijs Grob
De Zhuang Zi is een bonte verzameling geschriften uit de 4e tot 3e eeuw v. Chr. over de Tao. Deze Chinese filosofie is verre van eenduidig en de geschriften zijn zeer divers in hoe ze proberen te illustreren wat de tao nu eigenlijk is. Dit gebeurt veelal in mythen, parabels en dialogen tussen historische figuren als Confucius en allegorische personages, met tot de verbeelding sprekende namen als 'duisterman afwezig', 'niemendal' en 'tandeloos'. Vaak wordt geïllustreerd wat tao vooral niet is. Th ...more
Daniel Wright
Zhuangzi deliberately makes himself very hard to pin down, but here are some of the things that struck me.

1. Zhuangzi is the Diogenes to Confucius' Aristotle, to use a slightly fatuous analogy. He disclaims ambition and self-aggrandizement, and systems in favour of proverbs, anecdotes and clever subversion.

2. Zhuangzi delights in paradox. This one of the greatest pleasures in reading the book.

3. Confucius and other 'sages' appear in stories at various points, filling the purpose of sympathetic c
Feb 03, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 06, 2013 Jade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When many think of the essential text of Taoism (Daoism) they think of the Tao Te Ching. This is true. However, if you really want to get inside of the tenets of philosophical daoism, you must read Chuang Tzu. Please understand before you read that Chuang Tzu is a transformative text (google it) and so you will be changed in a significant way after reading. The stories are simple but they plant important seeds in your mind. Victor Mair does a superb job of presenting this transformative text.
May 24, 2016 Adrian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chuang Tzu (more correctly rendered as Zhuang Zi) is perhaps the second most important figure in Daoism after (the possibly Mythic) Lao Zi. The book of Chuang Tzu (henceforth referred to as Zhuang Zi) is a collection of anecdotes, stories, and analogies of Zhuang Zi's teachings on how to achieve the Tao, or the way.
The Tao, Dao, or Way is essentially the same concept as found in Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing) but is elaborated more so, and as such, is more accessible.
The origin and precise canoni
Sep 28, 2013 Choonghwan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
This book is so quotable.

This is one of the best chinese texts I've ever read, and one of the most famous ones. It's probably the most fun to read too.

Zhuangzi (and the anonymous writers) talk about and poke fun at different philosophers and ideas of the time. He/they explain their philosophy through short stories and anecdotes, often featuring legendary chinese rulers and other characters.

Some of the most memorable passages have Confucious, probably the most praised philosopher and statesman
Bruno Oliveira
Nov 11, 2012 Bruno Oliveira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 07, 2009 Joe Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 24, 2011 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the foundational texts of Chinese culture. Find me a man who has forgotten words, and I will have a word with him.

(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. . . .'
Mar 13, 2017 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Understanding is not understanding” (302): such is Chaung Tzu’s flavour of scepticism. It goes far beyond Descartes’—to put them on the same spectrum would be like asking both Tom Cruise and a cucumber to audition for the same role. One might also say it goes far beyond what is healthy: when someone says a thing like, “It is dangerous to use any of your faculties” (222), it’s hard not to cry paranoia. Knowledge, to Chuang Tzu, seems to be by definition a deception.

And yet: it’s also hard to sa
Quicksilver Quill
May 17, 2017 Quicksilver Quill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Book of Chuang Tzu is a fun volume full of Eastern wisdom and Taoist thought. Read it and seek to discover the Tao!
Childerich III
Mar 03, 2017 Childerich III rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In meiner Jugend habe ich mich recht intensiv mit Zen und Buddhismus beschäftigt. Die wahrscheinlich interessanteste Lektüre, die ich mir in dieser Zeit zugeführt habe, war dieses Buch in der deutschen Übersetzung. Ich war damals sehr beeindruckt von dem Symbolgehalt der kleinen Geschichten. Sie bilden Teile des Lebens tatsächlich sehr anschaulich ab und bieten viel Anreiz, um sich auch entsprechende eigene Gedanken über das eigene Dasein zu machen. Die wahrscheinlich bekannteste Geschichte ist ...more
Alex Zakharov
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
Sep 24, 2015 Jerobeam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uit de vierde tot derde eeuw voor onze jaartelling stammen deze geschriften. Het is een verzameling wonderlijke verhalen, de oerteksten van het taoïsme, die hun stempel hebben gedrukt op het Verre Oosten, met name China en Japan.

Door de prachtige vertaling van Kristofer Schipper is dit werk nu voor ons toegankelijk. Hij heeft er veel noten aan toegevoegd, die gelukkig op dezelfde bladzijde staan, zodat je niet hoeft te bladeren. Sommige noten gaan over de figuren en plaatsnamen, af en toe wijst
Rowan Sully
Jul 25, 2016 Rowan Sully rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having loved Lao Tze's Tao Te Ching around 4 years ago I chose to buy books by Confucius and Chuang Tzu. Confucius is the most well known of these three philosophers whilst Chuang Tzu's biggest claim to fame was his one dream in which he questions whether he is a man dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly now dreaming that he is a man (mentioned in Borge's 'New refutation of time').

First, I read The Analects by Confucius, and was largely underwhelmed. In comparison with the more radical elem
Joe Green
Sep 19, 2011 Joe Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martin Palmer's translation was the first translation of Chuang Tzu I ever read, and the book had such a profound effect on me that it's unlikely that any other translation will ever supplant Palmer's as my preferred translation. But Mair certainly gives it a valiant effort.

Mair's translation is highly accessible and readable in it's own right. Like Palmer, he appears to understand that Chuang Tzu's (or, at least, the "royal" Chuang Tzu, since the books was almost certainly written by more than
Jordan Hunt
Jan 10, 2014 Jordan Hunt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 2014
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
Emily Carroll
Mar 12, 2015 Emily Carroll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zhuangzi is one of the two foundational texts of Daoism. It is unique in Chinese philosophy because instead of teaching life lessons and rules, it teaches to be a carefree wanderer. It was also very unlike other philosophies because it was extremely fun to read…though somewhat confusing as well. For example, chapter two “On Equalizing Things” is like reading a more intense version of Alice in Wonderland. It repeats words multiple times and uses the same word to explain the opposite. Almost the e ...more
Sep 17, 2015 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I think you can get the same wisdom in a more concise form with the Tao Te Ching. There were a lot of references to ancient Chinese history and lots of examples to illustrate the same points.


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?

So Hakim
One of the main books of Taoism, the Chuang Tzu is actually compilation of fragmentary tales. Sometimes humorous, it often satirized Confucius as too-strict-for-life figure.

Indeed, Chuang Tzu (the writer, not the book) was very carefree person who kept away from authority. Scholars generally consider him as a proto-anarchist, and that reflects in his work. Being a major text in Eastern Philosophy, though, there have been plenty interpretations of Chuang Tzu, so I should just stop here... (Not th
Clay Kallam
Jan 10, 2015 Clay Kallam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
May 01, 2013 Jacopo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Mr. Kohanski
Oct 15, 2013 Mr. Kohanski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 18, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not accessible, but after even a first read, this book shows its value. For the un-initiated into Daoism it's a brutal first course. Even after several college courses and long, box-wine inspired conversations with fellow Peace Corps volunteers, the book continues to elude me, and the philosophy which underpins it. Comic, spontaneous, wild and challenging. Some of the parables remain clear and vital to this day. Get some background (or read the introduction very carefully) before plunging in. An ...more
Jun 02, 2011 Brimate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: taoism
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
Rebecca Hecking
This was my second foray into Taoist classics. The first was the Tao Te Ching, but honestly, I found Chuang Tzu to be more accessible to my modern, western self. Some sections were local in focus, but others spoke clearly across the temporal and cultural divide. The author's contempt for Confucianism is clear, and almost laughable in places, but it helped to bring into focus the differences between the two dominant schools of Chinese thought. I found it helpful to read Confucian works first, the ...more
Aug 22, 2015 Kris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Calling quits on this one early. Read the first 8 or 9 chapters, with the first ~7 being theoretically (some discussion in the foreword) being the closest to being directly from Chuang Tzu, and those being good, but not loving them, or at least not in the right state of mind to get much out of them. So after a couple more chapters, called it quits. May return to this, but just not feeling it right now.
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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
More about Zhuangzi...

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“Men of the world who value the Way all turn to books. But books are nothing more than words. Words have value; what is of value in words is meaning. Meaning has something it is pursuing, but the thing that it is pursuing cannot be put into words and handed down. The world values words and hands down books but, though the world values them, I do not think them worth valuing. What the world takes to be values is not real value.” 23 likes
“You can't discuss the ocean with a well frog - he's limited by the space he lives in. You can't discuss ice with a summer insect - he's bound to a single season.” 21 likes
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