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The Inner Chapters

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  489 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
The Inner Chapters are the oldest pieces of the larger collection of writings by several fourth, third, and second century B.C. authors that constitute the classic of Taoism, the Chuang-Tzu (or Zhuangzi). It is this core of ancient writings that is ascribed to Chuang-Tzu himself.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 15th 2001 by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (first published -350)
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Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy-asia, dao
My first reading of Chuang Tzu. I shall shortly go on to other translations but I enjoyed this one. As is the case with many other readers, I enjoyed the humour and found that much of the philosophy flowed easily from the anecdotes. I still have many questions, however. In particular, being somewhat familiar with 'Dao De Jing', I found the many references to "Heaven and Earth" in Chuang-Tzu confusing. Heaven seemed to have assumed the role of the Dao in much of the text. I am really unclear as t ...more
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The only truly funny philosopher. Whenever I feel bad about my life, I pick up this book and am chuckling within minutes. He puts everything so clearly, with such vivid examples, that you can't help but feel foolish for thinking the world is anything other than wonderfully indifferent to your life, and that's the best way it could be.
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: taoism
"Long ago, a certain Chuang Tzu dreamt he was a butterfly -- a butterfly fluttering here and there on a whim, happy and carefree, knowing nothing of Chuang Tzu. Then all of a sudden he woke to find that he was, beyond all doubt, Chuang Tzu. Who knows if it was Chuang Tzu dreaming a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming Chuang Tzu?" -- Chapter 2, Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters

Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters is a collection of parables believed to have been written by the Taoist teacher Chuang Tzu dur
Sean Wilson
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
A profound and entertaining book, The Inner Chapters is seven chapters of stories, fables and musings attributed to the Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu, or Zhuangzi. The following 'Outer Chapters/Mixed Chapters' were written by others in order to expand on the Taoist philosophy of Chuang Tzu, which are beneficial but are missing the charm of Chuang Tzu's prose.

May 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
First of all, Chaung-tzu/Zhuangzi lived around the time of king solomon. So it's pretty unfuckingbelievable that he was so clever.
Second- you can basically reduce his thought to- stop thinking. IN FACT- it almost seems like he committed a sin against mankind by writing down what he thought- seeing as how he even states that to know how to say the Way pretty much means you have no fucking idea what it is.
But, if philosophy is the study of wisdom I suppose those that pursue the study have to take
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite translation of Zhuangzi. Although Graham does rearrange the text somewhat, mainly in the outer and miscellaneous chapters, which makes some scholars squeamish, for me it is the most aesthetically pleasing translation available. Watson and Mair's translations are also good if you want to read a complete version in the original chapter order. Recently, Brook Ziporyn has produced a new version which includes the interlineal commentary present in the Chinese received version, whi ...more
Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Don't disfigure yourself with that's it that's not, and don't get suckered by Laozi when you can read something written by a real person.
johnny burke
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Inner Chapters is a wonderful compilation of poetic and anecdotal explanations of navigating life in harmony with the Tao, or the Way. It's fascinating for those who enjoy Eastern philosophy, Buddhism, Taoism, or just improving upon your own mind. Chuang Tzu is the less political of the two main Taoist philosophers, and his writings focus on your personal life. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in improving their life, decreasing stress, or just learning about Taoism.
Miles Zarathustra
I've long been a fan of Lao Tsu, so I found this text a bit disappointing. It does have the famous "butterfly" verse in it, but overall I found the stories pedantic if not downright Confucian (the opposite of Taoist), and somewhat lacking the mystical essence (or nothingness) of Lao Tsu. Still, there is wisdom that shines through enough to make it worth reading.

My last book from Gateways book store in Santa Cruz :-(

Elijah Meeks
Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best of Daoist philosophy. Best known for the dream of the butterfly, Zhuangzi explains daoist thinking through imagined dialogue and fable. The explanation of an accord that reaches all the way to heaven is necessary for anyone who studies skepticism and wants to place it in a non-individualistic context.
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Possibly my favorite book of all time! I even named my bookshop after it.....

When you need to find your place in the universe (even if just for this moment)Chuang Tsu is your go-to! I highly recommend reading a chapter every morning while sipping a hot cup of green tea.
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, 2015
Interesting read on Tao and Chinese philosophical concepts. The middleway is also discussed.

Read for the purposes of traditional rhetorical strategies and styles which are evidenced through the dialogues.
Jake Maguire
Oct 23, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Chuang Tzu is one of my favorites. This book is alright however the layout is not the greatest. Each chapter feels a little cramped for space in the overall spectrum of his life and thought. I still think its worth picking up, just be prepared for the task.
R. August
Dec 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Excellent translation and notes. Translating puns is not that hard to do, all it requires are a few parentheses and foot note or two, but so far no author has taken it upon themselves to explain the literary nature of Zhuangzi, only the philosophical. A sore loss.
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good translation of the classical texts, which were a helpful addition to my limited understanding of the Tao. In addition, the book itself is visually beautiful, which enhances the reading of it.
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I find Chuang Tzu, a Taoist, meatier and more enjoyable than Lao Tzu.
Michael Gossett
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best religion has the best stories.
Jun 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
beautiful and clear translation of the zhuang zi.

Victor Robin
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truth and beauty from our ancient human roots.
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who liked Tao Te Ching but want something more
Shelves: favorites
more colorful to Tao Te Ching, more expressive//fantastic interpretation of the eternal Tao
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful complement to John Gray - and, I think, to Deleuze and Spinoza too.
Maria Lancaster
Another wonderful translation by Gia Fu Feng and Jane English. I love Chuang Tsu's surreal sense of humour
Talbot Hook
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not that the point of this book is understanding, but I can proudly say I understood perhaps 50% of what was said in a meaningful way.
Aug 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Three stars for the inner chapters (pp. 43-111), the rest, two stars.
Liz Brennan
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book! I pull it out and read a passage whenever I feel I am trying to accomplish too much.
J. Walker
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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...
“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? However, there must be some sort of difference between Chuang Tzu and a butterfly!” 15 likes
“The effect of life in society is to complicate our existence,
making us forget who we really are
by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not.”
More quotes…