Zhuang Zhou 庄周

The inheritors and innovators of Taoism


Chinese Name: 庄周

English Name: Zhuang Zhou:Zhuangzi:Chuang Tzu

Other Names: Zhuang Zixiu 庄子休

Born: 369BC

Died: 286BC


One of the main representatives of the Taoism道家学派主要代表人物之一

Founded the philosophical Zhuangzi school创立了哲学上的庄子学派

Created Zhuangzi 创作了《庄子》

Brief Biography of Zhuang Zhou

Zhuang Zhou庄周 is the famous thinker, philosopher, and writer in the middle of the Warring States Period, one of the seven sons of the pre-Qin period, one of the main representatives of the Taoist school, founded the philosophical school of Zhuangxue.

Zhuang Zhou was born in the state of Song in 369 BC.

In 362 BC, when Zhuang Zhou was eight years old, he followed Qiu(丘) to study Confucianism.

Zhuang Zhou 庄周
ZhuangZhou 庄周

In 356 BC, Zhuang Zhou was no longer studying Confucianism. He followed Ziqi(子期) in learning Taoism.

In 349 BC, Zhuang Zhou’s parents made him marry Zhong Lishi when he was 21. His wife bore two sons to Zhuang Zhou in 348 BC and 339 BC respectively. In 333 BC, when both Zhuang and Zhou’s father and mother died, he sent his parents’ coffins back to Chu. In 331 BC, Zhuang Zhou rejected the request of the king of Chu to become prime minister. Zhuang Zhou died in his hometown in 286 BC.

Zhuang Zhou inherited and developed Laozi’s idea of ” Tao follows nature ” in philosophy, which made Taoism become a school of thought. He himself became an important representative of Taoism and called Laozi ” the ancestor of Taoism “.

Wagging his tail in the mud 曳尾于涂

The king of Chu heard that Zhuang Zhou was very knowledgeable and specially sent two officials to hire him as his prime minister.

Zhuang Zhou listened, the head also did not return, replied: ” I heard that the state of Chu has a god turtle, died three thousand years, dry bone turtle shell was also the king of Chu treasure, you say this turtle how lucky! “Two official do not understand the meaning of Zhuang Zhou, thought he said is the king of Chu cherish talent means.

Zhuang Zhou 庄周
Zhuang Zhou 庄周

Zhuang Zhou’s main thoughts 

An important part of Zhuang Zhou’s thought is the understanding of relativity. Zhuang Zhou’s principle of nature is connected with relativism. Zhuang Zhou thought that things are always relative and opposite, that is to say, everything has both positive and negative aspects which are opposite and interdependent.

Zhuang Zhou also realized that the change of things is always to its opposite transformation, although all things in the universe are different, and in the final analysis is homogeneous, there is no difference. He believes that determining the criteria of cognition is difficult, even impossible, because any cognition will be limited by specific conditions, subject to the constraints of time and space.

Zhuang Zhou 庄周
Zhuang Zhou 庄周

Zhuang Zhou’s relativism appeared as the opposite of their dogmatism. Zhuangzi’s relativism thought first manifested in the denial of the material difference of objective things.

In fact, there is a new theme in Zhuangzi’s thought of traveling the world, which is to fight against a dark world with self-deprecating self-exile. The confrontation here is not a direct confrontation, but a gesture of indifference, looking directly at any possible malicious manipulation of the dark world, and expressing a mockery of the dark world with a playful welcome to such a malicious manipulation

Evaluation of Zhuang Zhou

The Chinese culture always keeps the brand of Zhuang Zhou.

Wen Yiduo

Since the Qin and Han dynasties every Chinese literary history, almost half of the development under Zhuang Zhou’s influence.To thinkers and writers, in ancient Chinese philosophers, it is unique.

Guo moruo

The appearance of Chinese literati is Confucianism, but the heart is always Zhuang Zhou.

Li Zehou
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