76 "Zhuangzi" Quotes And Sayings

The Zhuangzi is a collection of sayings and anecdotes attributed to a figure referred to as Master Zhuang. It is one of the most important and enigmatic texts in Daoism, and has exerted a strong influence on the development of Chinese philosophy and religion, especially Confucianism. The date of the text is uncertain; the most frequently cited range is between 270 BCE and 280 BCE (the Han dynasty), but there is also some consensus that it may be much older. However, given the huge number of commentaries and other sources, it seems most likely that the work was composed in the late Warring States period or early Spring and Autumn period (between about 500 BCE and 403 BCE).

Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Zhuangzi
The time of the autumn floods came and the hundred streams poured into the Yellow River. … Then the Lord of the River was beside himself with Joy, believing that all the beauty in the world belonged to him alone. Zhuangzi
Men of the world who value the Way all turn to books. But books are nothing more than words. Words have value; what is of value in words is meaning. Meaning has something it is pursuing, but the thing that it is pursuing cannot be put into words and handed down. The world values words and hands down books but, though the world values them, I do not think them worth valuing. What the world takes to be values is not real value. Zhuangzi
Words are not just wind. Words have something to say. But if what they have to say is not fixed, then do they really say something? Or do they say nothing? People suppose that words are different from the peeps of baby birds, but is there any difference, or isn't there? What does the Way rely upon, that we have true and false? What do words rely upon, that we have right and wrong? How can the Way go away and not exist? How can words exist and not be acceptable? When the Way relies on little accomplishments and words reply on vain show, then we have rights and wrongs of the Confucians and the Mo-ists. What one calls right the other calls wrong; what one calls wrong the other calls right. But if we want to right their wrongs and wrong their rights, then the best to use is clarity. Zhuangzi
The wise man knows that it is better to sit...
The wise man knows that it is better to sit on the banks of a remote mountain stream than to be emperor of the whole world. Zhuangzi
A path is made by walking on it.
A path is made by walking on it. Zhuangzi
Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and...
Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home! Zhuangzi
He who knows he is a fool is not the biggest fool; he who knows he is confused is not in the worst confusion. The man in the worst confusion will end his life without ever getting straightened out; the biggest fool will end his life without ever seeing the light. If three men are traveling along and one is confused, they will still get where they are going - because confusion is in the minority. But if two of them are confused, then they can walk until they are exhausted and never get anywhere - because confusion is in the majority. . Zhuangzi
I cannot tell if what the world considers ‘happiness’ is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness. Zhuangzi
So it is said, for him who understands Heavenly joy, life is the working of Heaven; death is the transformation of things. In stillness, he and the yin share a single Virtue; in motion, he and the yang share a single flow. Zhuangzi
Rewards and punishment is the lowest form of education.
Rewards and punishment is the lowest form of education. Zhuangzi
Yet the stupid believe they are awake, busily and brightly assuming they understand things, calling this man ruler, that one herdsman — how dense! Confucius and you are both dreaming! And when I say you are dreaming, I am dreaming, too. Words like these will be labeled the Supreme Swindle. Zhuangzi
Only he who has no use for the empire is...
Only he who has no use for the empire is fit to be entrusted with it. Zhuangzi
If a man crosses a riverand an empty boat collides with his own skiff, Even though he be bad tempered man He will not become very angry. But if he sees a man in the boat, He will shout at him to steer clear. If the shout is not heard, he will shout again, and yet again, and begin cursing. And all because someone is in the boat. Yet if the boat were empty, He would not be shouting, and not angry. If you can empty your own boat Crossing the river of the world, No one will oppose you, No one will seek to harm you . Zhuangzi
I've heard my teacher say, where there are machines, there are bound to be machine worries; where there are machine worries, there are bound to be machine hearts. With a machine heart in your breast, you've spoiled what was pure and simple; and without the pure and simple, the life of the spirit knows no rest. Zhuangzi
The Perfect Man uses his mind like a mirror - going after nothing, welcoming nothing, responding but not storing. Zhuangzi
The sage is still not because he takes stillness to be good and therefore is still. The ten thousand things are insufficient to distract his mind - that is the reason he is still. Zhuangzi
The Spirit Tower has its guardian, but unless it understands who its guardian is, it cannot be guarded. Zhuangzi
Today, I went to sleep under a plum tree. There, I dreamed I was a butterfly, flying so pleasently. Then, I fell asleep, and the dream ended. Now- I have to ask myself - am I Zhuang Zi who dreamed of a butterfly? Or am I that butterfly, dreaming I am Zhuang Zi? Zhuangzi
It comes out from no source, it goes back in through no aperture. It has reality yet no place where it resides; it has duration yet no beginning or end. Something emerges, though through no aperture - this refers to the fact that it has reality. It has reality yet there is no place where it resides - this refers to the dimension of space. It has duration but no beginning or end - this refers to the dimension of time. There is life, there is death, there is a coming out, there is a going back in - yet in the coming out and going back its form is never seen. This is called the Heavenly Gate. The Heavenly Gate is nonbeing. The ten thousand things come forth from nonbeing. Being cannot create being out of being; inevitably it must come forth from nonbeing. Nonbeing is absolute nonbeing, and it is here that the sage hides himself. Zhuangzi