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Zhuangzi or Chuang Tzu — Taoist Philosopher and Great Romanticism Writer

Zhuangzi or Chuang Tzu (about 369 BC — 286 BC), original name Zhuang Zhou, courtesy name as Zixiu or Zimu, respected as Zhuang Zi, Master Zhuang, or Nanhuan Zhenren, was a great Taoism philosopher, an eminent Romanticism writer, and an absolute freedom worshiper.

As one of history's most influential and extraordinary writers, he conveyed his insightful and brilliant ideas through romantic fables and fantastic imaginations, significantly shaping Chinese literature.

While Zhuangzi briefly served as an official in his youth, he spent the majority 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 firmly rejected the offer.

Gold Currency (Ying Yuan) of the State Chu

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

Romanticism and Mysticism of Zhuangzi and the Zhuangzi Book


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 who viewed the secular world from an exterior perspective.  

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

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

Mythical Bird Peng from A Story of Zhuangzi's Writing

Mythical Bird Peng from A Story of Zhuangzi's Writing

Main Beliefs of Zhuangzi or Chuang Tzu

  • 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, 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.


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


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

Taoism philosopher Zhuang/Chuang Tzu and his seclusive life
  • 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, fish swimming in the water, or human beings integrating with nature. 


  • Everyone has 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 an excellent way to obtain inner peace. 


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


  • The best circumstance is that someone can 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. 

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