Translations are excerpted from

cover

The Essential Chuang Tzu, by Sam Hamill and J.P. Seaton

 

cover

Chuangtsu : Inner Chapters, a Companion..., by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English.

 

Slide 1: The doctrine of the truly great one comes forth like the shadow from the form, the echo returning to the sound. If you are possessed by a question, he will answer. With all that he holds dear, he's the companion to All-under-heaven. He dwells beyond the echo and moves outside direction. He will lead you by the hand beyond the circle of vexations, leading you to wander the realm of causelessness, to come and go without direction, unborn and constant as the sun. When he speaks in hymns of the form and the body, he unites them in the Great Unity. In this Great Unity, there is no self. Without a self, how can you possess possessing? He who fixes his eye on possessing is what we used to call a prince. He who fixes his eye on nothing is a friend of heaven and earth.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 2: Let's try wandering together to the palace of not possessing anything. We can talk about sameness and coming together no end. Let's do nothing together. We'll be calm and quiet, empty as a desert, clear as water, in tune -- and free. Spreading our wings will be our hearts' only desire -- heading nowhere, not knowing where we'll end, going and coming without knowing where we finally set our heels. We've already been there and back, but we still don't know the end of the string. The two of us, going where we please, emperors of the unbound vastness. The Great Knowing will come too. There's no knowing it to fail.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 3: Don't be going from anywhere to anywhere. Here is where it is!  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 4: There once was a man who feared his own shadow and who hated his footprints and tried to escape from them. The more he lifted his feet, the more tracks he made. As fast as he could go, his shadow remained with him. Thinking he was still going too slow, he streaked like an arrow until all his strength was spent, and he died. He didn't realize that sitting in the shade of a tree would do away with his shadow, and living quietly would leave his traces to fade away.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 5: On far off Gu She Mountain, there is a feminine spirit with flesh and bone like ice and snow, gentle and sweet as a virgin. She doesn't eat the Five Grains, but sips the breeze and the dew. She climbs the highest clouds and drives a chariot drawn by flying dragons, wandering the Four Seas at her leisure. Her spirit, when concentrated, keeps things from decaying and brings crops to fruition.   Back to slideshow

 

Slide 6: Heaven and earth possess greatness and beauty and use no words. The Four Seasons possess the Brilliant Method but don't discuss it. The ten thousand things possess the perfect principles but do not speak. The sage begins to get from the beauty of heaven and earth the principle of the ten thousand things. This is why the one who's gotten there doesn't act, and the sage makes nothing. They watch for what heaven and earth have to say.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 7: Do not seek fame. Do not make plans. Do not be absorbed by activities. Do not think that you know. Be aware of all that is and dwell in the infinite. Wander where there is no path. Be all that heaven gave you, but act as though you have received nothing. Be empty, that is all.

The mind of a perfect person is like a mirror. It grasps nothing. It expects nothing. It reflects but does not hold. Therefore the perfect person can act without effort.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 8:

People have a constant nature. They weave cloth themselves, they till to eat. This is called sharing the Power of Virtue, being one without forming classes. This was called Heaven's Mandate, given freely. Thus, a generation that's gotten there, to the Power of Virtue, walks true to the earth and sees true to the lie of the land. They act in concert with the seasons, their mountains know no outlaw's tracks and trails, their marshes know no boats or bridges. The ten thousand things flock and grow, side by side. Birds and beasts flourish in their flocks. Grasses and trees grow tall. You can leash a bird or beast and ramble. You can bend down the branch and peer into the nests of magpie or crow.

So a generation that's gotten to the Power of Virtue lives as one with birds and beasts and stands side by side, of one clan, with the ten thousand things. What would they know of "gentlemen" and "commoner?" They are as one in non-knowledge. The power of their virtue is not separate. They are as one, undesiring. This is called the simplicity of unworked wood. In the simplicity of unworked wood, the nature of the people is achieved.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 9:  The ruler of the South Sea was called Light; the ruler of the North Sea, Darkness; and the ruler of the Middle Kingdom, Primal Chaos. From time to time, light and darkness met one another in the kingdom of Primal Chaos, who made them welcome. Light and Darkness wanted to repay his kindness and said, "All men have seven openings with which they see, hear, eat, and breathe, but Primal Chaos has none. Let us try to give him some." So every day they bored one hole, and on the seventh day, Primal Chaos died.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 10: Drawing upon the forces of birth and bringing them to fruition in fearlessness, a single warrior may crow like a cock as he stands alone against the Nine Armies. If one can -- in a mere quest for fame and the gratification of one's own desires -- become like this, how much more might one become who puts heaven and earth in order, houses all things, treats his own body as no more than a dwelling place, understands that perceptions of eye and ear are mere images, and knows all that is knowable as the One? The heart and mind of this one will never die. He will choose the day to rise and go and the people will follow. Yet to the marrow of his bones, he will be unwilling to serve mere things.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 11: There is a bird called Peng, with a back like Mount Tai and wings as broad as the clouds in the heavens. It flaps up hurricanes as it climbs thousands of miles, cutting through the very souls of clouds, lifting the blue sky. Then it turns south without resting until it arrives in the depths of the Southern Dark Sea.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 12: Horses' hooves carry them through frost and snow. Their coats protect them from cold winds. They munch grass and drink water. On winged feet they fly over dry land. This is the true nature of the horse. Even if horses had great towers and fine halls, they'd have no use for them.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 13: The Dao is without beginning and without end, and yet things have their lives and deaths. You can't depend on their becoming. One is empty. One is full. There is no standing in their forms. Passing years can't be held back. Turning seasons can't be stopped. Waxing and waning, filling and emptying, they run out their string and then are born again. This is why, when we speak of True Righteousness, we must first find connection with the principle of the ten thousand things. The life of things is the rush and race of horses, not a motion that is not a change. There is no time that is not movement. What to do then? And what to not do? Just be firm about letting things go.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 14: Look! There's no need for more kindling. The fire burns on. It knows no end.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 15: The Way is of fact and faith. Yet it does not act. It has no form. It can be passed on, but it can't be received. It can be gotten, but it can't be seen. It is it's own root, its own branch. Before there were heaven and earth, from the beginning within the beginning, solid as an infant, it was. It gave spirit to the spirits, spirit to the gods. It is beyond the Great Ultimate Poles, the Tai Ji, and yet not high. Beneath all the Six Directions, it is not deep. It is longer than antiquity itself, yet it is not old.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 16: Huizi said to Zhuangzi, "I know a huge tree local folks call the trea, trunk so thick, so gnarled and knotty that the carpenter can't cut it for use, branches too twisted for compass or square. Although it stands beside a busy road, no carpenter ever gives it a second look. Your words are just as big, just as knotty and as worthless! Nobody has any use for them, either!"

Zhuangzi laughed. "Haven't you ever watched a wildcat or a weasel as it keeps low to the ground, bowing in wait for its prey before it leaps east or west, never avoiding high or low, only to end up snared in some hunter's net? But look at the yak: big as clouds in the sky, big enough to call huge, but useless when it comes to catching mice.

"Now you have this huge tree. You think it's terrible that no one can cut it for use. Why not let it be a tree? -- in the Village of No-Thing, where the wilds spread out in every direction toward No-Place. Sit beneath it and master the art of nondoing. Wander freely, easily into dreams beneath it. Forget the axe -- nothing can harm it. Nothing can possibly be of use. Where's the problem?"  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 17: Forget judgments! Flap your wings and fly to the palace without boundaries and live there.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 18: Let's try wandering together to the palace of not possessing anything. We can talk about sameness and coming together no end. Let's do nothing together. We'll be calm and quiet, empty as a desert, clear as water, in tune -- and free. Spreading our wings will be our hearts' only desire -- heading nowhere, not knowing where we'll end, going and coming without knowing where we finally set our heels. We've already been there and back, but we still don't know the end of the string. The two of us, going where we please, emperors of the unbound vastness. The Great Knowing will come too. There's no knowing it to fail.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 19: Forget judgments! Flap your wings and fly to the palace without boundaries and live there.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 20: All-under-heaven has a constancy in the way it goes on, and in accord with this constancy, what is curved is not made by means of a craftsman's tool, what's straight doesn't depend on the carpenter's line; the round doesn't need the compass, nor does what's square need squaring. Things that aren't broken don't need gluing. What cleaves together doesn't need binding. In All-under-heaven, all things pass into being, none knowing by what they live and grow. Likewise all things attain what they attain, and there is no knowing how or whence they get it. In this, the ancient past and the present are not two. Nothing's been broken off. Nothing is missing.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 21: When you know heaven and earth as seeds of grain and grass, when you know that the tip of a hair is a mound or a mountain, then you know something about difference and measurement. As to their worth, they have worth according to what they are, and of the ten thousand things that exist, there's not a one that doesn't.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 22: Heaven's nondoing keeps it pure. Earth's nondoing keeps it calm. So the two, in nondoing harmonize together, and the ten thousand things all change. Vast and imperceptible, they come forth from no place. Imperceptible and vast, they are the perfect image of nonbeing, and the ten thousand things in their variety grow forth from their nondoing.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 23: The doctrine of the truly great one comes forth like the shadow from the form, the echo returning to the sound. If you are possessed by a question, he will answer. With all that he holds dear, he's the companion to All-under-heaven. He dwells beyond the echo and moves outside direction. He will lead you by the hand beyond the circle of vexations, leading you to wander the realm of causelessness, to come and go without direction, unborn and constant as the sun. When he speaks in hymns of the form and the body, he unites them in the Great Unity. In this Great Unity, there is no self. Without a self, how can you possess possessing? He who fixes his eye on possessing is what we used to call a prince. He who fixes his eye on nothing is a friend of heaven and earth.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 24: Ziyou said, "So the piping of the earth comes from its many holes, just as the pipes and flutes we play come from varieties of bamboo. But may I be so bold as to inquire about the piping of the heavens?"

Ziji said, "It blows upon the ten thousand things, yet blows upon no two the same. It permits each to become itself, each choosing to be itself. But from whom, such a breath?"  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 25: Death and life, persisting and perishing, exhaustion and completion, poverty and wealth, worthiness and worthlessness, blame and praise, hunger and thirst, cold and heat -- the alteration of these things is the work of destiny. Day and night, they roll on, and "knowing" can't even see back to their birth. Therefore they haven't sufficient footing to muddle the harmony. There is nowhere for them in the storehouse of the spirit. Let your mind be in harmony. Take delight. Understand. Never let joy be lost, day or night, ceaselessly, eternally in the springtime of things, always connecting, making the very seasons come alive within your heart and mind.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 26: No one uses running water for a mirror. Rather we gaze into still water. Only the still can instill a single stillness in the rushing many.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 27: Zhuangzi was fishing from the banks of Slave Creek when two ambassadors from the King of Chu approached. "Our master wishes to encumber you with the governance of his realm," they said.

Zhuangzi held his pole and without looking back replied, "I've heard that Chu has a Spirit Turtle that's been dead three thousand years; that the king has it wrapped and boxed and stored in the high hall of the ancestral temple. Do you think that turtle would rather have died so his bones could be ennobled, or to be living, dragging his tail in the mud?"

"Why, he'd rather be living, dragging his tail in the mud," the ambassadors agreed.

"Go away," Zhuangzi said. "I'm dragging my tail in the mud."  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 28: Blazing chaos is the light that guides the sage. Rather than merely using things, the sage dwells in the ordinary. This may be called illumination.  Back to slideshow

 

Slide 29: Come. I'll speak to you of the true Dao. The essence of true Dao is the chaste deep secrecy of mysterious darkness. The poles of true Dao are obscured in dark silence. No looking, no listening. Wrap your spirit in silence. Then your form will straighten of its own accord. You must silence your heart and mind to the point of clarity. No belaboring your body. No stirring up your essence. Then you live long indeed. When your eyes see nothing and your ears hear nothing and your heart and mind know nothing, then your spirit will guard your form and your form will live long.

There is no thing that is not acceptable. Sprouts rise up, and mighty pillars, lepers and lovely women, strange and extraordinary things -- in Dao they are one. To divide One is to "accomplish," and whatever is accomplished is destruction; whatever is unaccomplished cannot be destroyed: it is eternally beginning again at the beginning, One.  Back to slideshow

 

Translations are excerpted from

cover

The Essential Chuang Tzu, by Sam Hamill and J.P. Seaton

 

cover

Chuangtsu : Inner Chapters, a Companion..., by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English.