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The Book of Chuang Tzuby Chuang Tzu
Synopses & Reviews
A masterpiece of ancient Chinese philosophy, second in influence only to the Tao Te Ching
One of the founders of Taoism, Chuang Tzu was firmly opposed to Confucian values of order, control, and hierarchy, believing the perfect state to be one where primal, innate nature rules. Full of profundity as well as tricks, knaves, sages, jokers, unbelievably named people, and uptight Confucians, The Book of Chuang Tzu perceives the Taothe Way of Naturenot as a term to be explained but as a path to walk. Radical and subversive, employing wit, humor, and shock tactics, The Book of Chuang Tzu offers an intriguing look deep into Chinese culture.
One of the great founders of Taoism, Chuang Tzu lived in the fourth century BC and is among the most enjoyable and intriguing personalities in the whole of Chinese philosophy. Like the Lieh Tzu and the Tao Te Ching, the Chuang Tzu perceives the Tao - the Way of Nature - not as a term to be explained but as a path to walk. 'The Tao that is clear is not the Tao'; experience is all. The Book of Chuang Tzu enters into debate with logic and dances around philosophy, making Confucian earnestness - along with the pretensions of emperors, bureaucrats and sages - the frequent butt of its jokes. Radical and subversive, employing wit, humour and shock-tactics, the Chuang Tzu is concerned not with government but with the life and growth of the individual spirit.
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. Development of what later became known as Taoism lies in his advocacy of change as fundamental to life.
About the Author
Chuang Tzu lived in the fourth century BC.
Martin Palmer is director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education, and Culture and a translator of many Chinese classics and folktales.
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