Zhuangzi — Great Philosopher of Taoism in Chinese Culture

Zhuang Zhou (about 369 BC — 286 BC), respected as Zhuangzi (or Chuang Tzu) or Nanhua Zhenren, courtesy name as Zi Xiu or Zi Mu, was a great philosopher of Taoism in Chinese culture.

He was also one of the most influential and extraordinary writers in Chinese history, who presented his insightful, brilliant ideas through romantic fables and fantastic imaginations. 

Besides having worked as an official for a short while when he was young, Zhuangzi spent most of his life freely in the countryside. 

When a powerful king invited him to be prime minister of the State Chu, one of the strongest regimes during the Warring States Period (403 BC — 221 BC), Zhuangzi rejected him firmly. 

Gold Currency (Ying Yuan) of the State Chu — Nanjing Museum (Photo by Dongmaiying)

As an absolute freedom pursuer, Zhuangzi didn’t want to get involved in political issues. 

On the contrary, he was more like a brilliant observer that viewed the secular world from an exterior perspective.  

He traveled around, appreciated exceptional views, chat with wise people that he appreciated, and wrote beautiful articles. 

From the fabulous nature and mysterious universe, Zhuangzi found more advanced wisdom, and a bigger, more beautiful world.

Taoism representative lotus
 

Main Ideas of Zhuangzi

  • Everyone in the universe is equal, and can, in the end, reach an integration harmoniously.

 

Human and animal, life and death, humble and noble, are all the same from a bigger perspective. 

 

Therefore, strict etiquette and hierarchy from Confucianism ideology are strongly disdained.

  • People should try to abandon man-made rules, including political ideas, universal values, etiquette, and hierarchy; these are designed to suppress human nature.

  • There is no ghost or spirit; dead is dead.

 

Hence, an elaborate funeral is not necessary; people should come from and go back into nature simply.

 

  • Physical death is not scary or sad, the ideological death is; because ideas can last forever. 

 

The most mournful thing for a person is a desperate and dead heart.

  • Value and follow nature and humanity. 

 

Everyone should try to appreciate the beauty around them, freely and independently; that is the only way to achieve genuine happiness.

 

Like birds singing in the sky, or fishes swimming in the water, or human being integrating with nature. 

 

  • Everyone has their own limitations and shortcomings, so there’s no need to be negatively influenced, because of other people’s comments or achievements.

 

Knowing and embracing this fact is a good way to obtain inner peace. 

 

  • Everyone has an ability or some hobbies to cheer themselves up; knowing how and when to make use of it is an important path to happiness. 

 

  • The best circumstance is that someone has the ability to find happiness whenever and wherever.

 

One doesn’t need to wait for certain people or events, nor reach a specific stage or material condition.

 

That is the highest spiritual state that human beings could achieve. 

You Might Also Like:

Founder of Taoism and Writer of Tao Te Ching — Lao Zi

 

Taoism Religion, the Mystic Martial Art and Magical Horoscope

 

Schools and History of Ancient Chinese Philosophy

History, Belief, and Essence of Taoism Ideology

Brief Introduction to Chinese Mythology — Origin and Special Characteristics

Yin Yang and Five Elements


Record and Count System in Ancient Chinese Culture (Tian Gan Di Zhi)

Chinese Zodiac Signs — A Comprehensive Introduction​

Chinese Astrology — Three Enclosures, Four Symbols, Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions

Confucianism and Its Remarkable Philosophers

 

Chivalrous, Mysterious Mohism and Their Advanced Technology

 

History and Development of Legalism in Chinese History