Chuang Tzu

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Master Zhuang and a frog

Chuang Tzu or Zhuangzi lived and taught around 350 BC. He was a Taoist philosopher. A collection of his sayings have been passed down over the centuries, and is one of the fundamental sources for Zen Buddhism.

Chang Tzu thought that men should distance themselves from the traditional prestige and honor of worldly life. They should just live. He told a story about two ministers who ask him to serve as a court official. He replied with a story about a sacred turtle. He says, "The king's men caught a sacred turtle. They killed it and put its shell in a special box to use to tell the future. Now would that turtle rather be honored in that box and dead, or would he rather be alive dragging his tail through the mud?"

Example[change | change source]

Source: Merton, Thomas 1965. The way of Chuang Tzu. Allen & Unwin, London. ISBN 0-04-299004-1

Fish are born in water; man is born in Tao.
If fish, born in water, seek the deep shadow of pond and pool
all their needs are satisfied.
If man, born in Tao, sinks into the deep shadow of non-action
to forget aggression and concern
he lacks nothing; his life is secure.
All the fish needs is to get lost in water.
All man needs is to get lost in Tao.