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Translated by

A. Charles Muller

January 29, 2016

[Updated: 2018-12-07+09:00]

Table of Contents

1. Chapter One: Free and Easy Wandering 莊子 逍遙遊
2. Chapter Two: Discussion of the Equality of Things 莊子 齊物論
3. References

1. Chapter One: Free and Easy Wandering 莊子 逍遙遊

[Note: The translation of Chapter One was undertaken in conjunction with a readings course in Classical Chinese at the University of Tokyo, Winter Semester, 2009. Hence, student input was integral to this work. Participants included: Wei Wei Shen, Casey Snyder, Akira Inoue, Jieun Kang, Tetsuhiro Yamada, Hirota Mizuno, and Satoshi Ishiyama. Notes from traditional commentaries on Chapter One were supplied primarily by Jieun Kang.]

北冥 1 有魚、其名爲鯤。鯤之大、不知其幾千里也。化而爲鳥、其名爲鵬。鵬之背、不知其幾千里也。怒 2 而飛、其翼若垂天之雲。是鳥也、海運 3 則將徙於南冥。南冥者、天池也。

In the Northern Darkness there is a fish, his name is Kun. Kun is so big that I don't know how many thousands of li long he is. He changes into a bird, named Peng. Peng's back is I don't know how many thousand li wide. When he takes off, his wings seem to cover the clouds. When the currents move, then this bird takes off for the Southern Darkness, to the Heavenly Pond.

齊諧者、志怪者也。諧之言曰。「鵬之徙於南冥也、水擊三千里、摶扶搖而上者九萬里、去以六月息者也。」 野馬 4 也、塵埃也、生物之以息相吹也 5 。天之蒼蒼、其正色邪。其遠而無所至極邪。其視下也、亦若是則已矣。

The Universal Harmony records various amazing things, and about Peng, it says: “When Peng takes off for the Southern Darkness, after roiling the seas for three thousand li, as he ascends ninety thousand li, availing himself to the early summer winds, his flapping causes typhoons. The dust flies about and living creatures are blown about amongst each other.” Is the blueness of heaven its real color? Or does it look like that just because it is so far off? When Peng looks down, it's the same way.

且夫水之積也不厚、則其負大舟也無力。覆杯水於坳堂之上、則芥爲之舟。置杯焉則膠、水淺而舟大也。風之積也不厚、則其負大翼也無力。故九萬里則風斯在下矣。而后乃今培風。背負靑天而莫之夭閼 6 者、而后乃今將圖南。

Now, if you don't pile up water deeply enough, it won't have enough strength to carry a large boat. If you pour the water out of a cup into a depression in the floor, then little bits of trash become boats. If you place the cup in that water, it will stick, since the water is shallow and the boat is large. So, if the wind is not piled up deeply enough, then it doesn't have the strength to support the great wings of Peng. Therefore when Peng flies up ninety-thousand li, he needs to have the wind under him like this. Only after this, when the wind is piled up, can he ride on the blue sky with nothing to stop him, after which he aims for the south.

蜩與學鳩 7 笑之曰。「我決起而飛 8 、搶楡枋 9 、時則不至而控於地 10 而已矣。奚以之九萬里而圖南爲。」 適莽蒼 11 者、三餐而反、腹猶果然 12 。適百里者、宿舂糧。適千里者、三月聚糧。之二蟲又何知。

The Cicada and Little Dove laugh, saying: “I set my mind on leaping up and flying, jumping from the elm tree to the sandalwood, but always end up not getting there, and fall back to the ground. How can he fly 90,000 li to the south?” Someone who takes a day trip to the local meadow has three meals and comes back home with his stomach still full. Someone who is going to travel one hundred li grinds his grain the night before. If you are going a thousand li, you need three months to gather provisions. What do these two little creatures know?


Small understanding can't match great understanding; the short-lived cannot match the long-lived. How do we know this? The Morning Mushroom knows nothing of the dawn and twilight. The Summer Cicada knows nothing of the spring and fall. They are the short-lived. In the south of Chu there is the Mingling 13 which counts five hundred years as its spring, and five hundred years as its fall. In great antiquity there was a great Camelia, which counted eight thousand years as its spring, and eight thousand years as its fall. And nowadays, Ancestor Peng is known for his longevity, and everyone tries to follow him. Isn't it a shame?

湯之問棘 14 也是已。窮髮 15 之北、有冥海者、天池也。有魚焉、其廣數千里、未有知其修者。其名爲鯤。

Tang's questions to Ji were about none other than this. In the extremely barren north, there is a dark sea, which is the Heavenly Pond. There is a fish there, which is several thousand li in breadth, and I don't know how long. It's name is Kun.

有鳥焉、其名爲鵬、背若太山。翼若垂天之雲、摶扶搖 16 羊角 17 而上者九萬里。絕雲氣、負靑天、然後圖南、且適南冥也。

There is a bird, whose name is Peng, whose back is as huge as Mt. Tai. His wings cover the sky like the clouds, and when he beats his wings [the winds] turn into a cyclone like the horns of a ram, as he ascends ninety-thousand li. Cutting through the clouds and mist, he carries the blue sky, after which he sets his sights for the south, journeying all the way to the Southern Darkness.

18 鴳笑之曰。「彼且奚適也。我騰躍而上、不過數仞 19 而下、戞翔蓬蒿之間。此亦飛之至也、而彼且奚適也。」 此小大之辯也。

The little quail 20 laughs, saying: “How can he do such a thing? I jump up and fly several meters and then fall down flopping and flailing in the midst of the weeds and brambles. And that's the most one can fly anyhow. Where does he think he is going?” This is the difference between the great and the small.

故夫知效一官、行比一鄕、德合一君、而徵一國者、其自視也、亦若此矣。而宋榮子 21 猶然 22 笑之。且擧世而譽之而不加勸、擧世而非之而不加沮。定乎內外 23 之分、辯乎榮辱之境、斯已矣。彼其於世、未數數然 24 也。雖然、猶有未樹 25 也。

Hence we know that the intelligence sufficient for a single office, the behavior appropriate [to lead] a single village, the merit matching that of a local ruler, or the judgment of running the entire country are still nothing more than one's own point of view, and are thus like this little bird (i.e., each thinks his knowledge is sufficient). ) Yet Rongzi of the Song has a good laugh over it. Furthermore, if the whole world praised him it was no special encouragement, and if the whole world criticized him, he was not especially discouraged. Here, he determined the divisions of inner and outer, and distinguished between glory and disgrace. He did not fret about [his place in] the world; yet, he was still not perfect. 26

夫列子御風而行、泠然 27 善也、旬有五日而反。彼於致福者、未數數然 28 也。 29 此雖免乎行、猶有所待者也。若夫乘天地之正、而御六氣之辯 30 、以遊無窮者、彼且惡乎待哉。故曰。至人無己、神人無功、聖人無名。

Now Liezi took off riding the wind, cool and skillful, coming back two weeks later — he was not concerned over gaining fortune. Even though he could avoid walking, there were still things for which he had to wait. But if one rides on the normal processes of heaven and earth, and directs the distinction of the six vapors 31 in order to course in the limitless, what is there to wait for? Hence it is said: “In the perfected man there is no selfishness; in the spiritual man, no accomplishment; in the holy man, no [concern for] reputation.”

32 讓天下於許由 33 、曰。「日月出矣、而爝火不息、其於光也、不亦難乎。時雨降矣、而猶浸灌、其於澤也、不亦勞乎。夫子立而天下治。而我猶尸之、吾自視缺然。請致天下。」 許由曰。「子治天下、天下旣已治也。而我猶代子、吾將爲名乎。名者、實之賓也、吾將爲賓乎。鷦鷯巢於深林、不過一枝。偃鼠飮河、不過滿腹。歸休乎君、豫無所用天下爲。庖人雖不治庖、尸祝不越樽俎而代之矣。」

Yao, 34 seeking to cede the empire to Xu You 35 said: “When the sun and moon have come out and the torch fires have not been put out, is their light not meaningless? When the seasonal rains fall, and we still keep watering [the crops] isn't this wasted effort? Sir, take the throne and assume rulership. If I continue to stick around, my deficiency is evident. I beg of you to take the throne.” Xu You said: “You, sir are governing the realm, and it's already well-handled. If I were to take your place, wouldn't it be only for the title? But a title is nothing but the guest of reality. Shall I be a guest? When the tailorbird makes its nest in the deep forest, it doesn't use more than a single branch. When the mole drinks from the river, it fills its belly, and nothing more. Go home and be at ease, my lord; I have no use for rulership. Even if the chef is not doing a great job of managing the kitchen, the person playing the role of the deceased and the priest do not leap over the wine-casks and chopping-board to take his place!”

肩吾問於連叔 36 曰。「吾聞言於接輿 37 、大而無當、往而不返。吾驚怖其言猶河漢而無極也。大有徑庭 38 、不近人情焉。」 連叔曰。「其言謂何哉。」「藐 39 姑射之山、有神人居焉。肌膚若冰雪、綽約 40 若處子 41 。不食五穀、吸風飮露。乘雲氣、御飛龍、而游乎四海之外。其神凝、使物不疵癘而年穀熟。」 吾以是狂而不信也。

Jian Wu asked Lian Shu, saying: “I heard some words out of Jie Yu, a big talker with no point, who goes off on his topic without ever coming back. I was amazed at his words, which were endless, just like the Milky Way. Way off the mark, and utterly detached from the real human situation.” Lian Shu said: “What did he say, then?” “He said: ‘There is a divine being living in Mt. Mo Guye. His skin is white like ice and snow, and he is slender as a maiden. Without eating the five grains, he breathes in the air and drinks the dew. He rides the clouds and drives the dragons, ranging out beyond the four seas. Focusing his spirit, he prevents people from getting disease and ripens the yearly harvest.’ I didn't believe it, and took him to be crazy.”

連叔曰。「然、瞽者無以與乎文章之觀、聾者無以與乎鐘鼓之聲。豈唯形骸有聾盲哉。夫知亦有之。是其言也、猶時女 42 也。之 43 人也、之德也、將旁礡 44 萬物以爲一。世蘄 45 乎亂、孰弊弊 46 焉以天下爲事。之人也、物莫之傷。大浸稽 47 天而不溺、大旱金石流、土山焦而不熱。是其塵垢秕糠,將猶陶鑄堯舜者也、孰肯以物爲事。」

“So it is,” responded Lian Shu. “The blind have no way to appreciate the scene of ornate decoration, and the deaf have no way to experience the sound of bells and drums. How could this limitation only show itself in the physical faculties? Intelligence also has limitations. These words reflect your own case at the moment. The virtue of this fellow would take the myriad things and wrap them up into one. The world cries out in its disorder, but why should it be his responsibility to struggle with the burden of the affairs of the world? This fellow cannot be harmed by other beings. Great floods can rise up to the sky and he won't be drowned. Great drought can melt minerals and scorch the lands, and he won't be burnt. He scoops up the dirt and chaff of the world, and molds men like Yao and Shun. Why should he consent to handle the trivial problems of society?”

宋人資章甫而適越。越人斷發文身 48 、無所用之。堯治天下之民、平海內之政。往見四子 49 藐姑射之山、汾水之陽、杳然喪其天下焉。

A man of Song who made a living selling ceremonial hats brought them to Yue. But the Yue people, who shaved their heads and covered their bodies with tattoos, had no use for them. Yao governed the people in his realm, administering all within the four seas. He went to see the four sages of Mt. Mo Guye, and returning to (his capital at) the north side of the Fen River, blankly forgot about his kingdom.


Huizi, speaking to Zhuangzi, said: “The King of Wei gave me some seeds for a giant gourd. I planted them, and they grew to the size of five bushels. I used them as water containers, but they were so heavy that I couldn't lift them. I cut them into pieces to make ladles, but they were so flat and broad that they wouldn't hold anything. It's not that they weren't huge (as promised), but I had no use for them, and broke them into pieces.”

莊子曰。「夫子固拙於用大矣。宋人有善爲不龜手之藥者、世世以洴澼絖爲事。客聞之、請買其方百金。聚族而謀之曰。「我世世爲洴澼絖、不過數金。今一朝而鬻技百金、請與之。」 客得之、以說吳王。越有難、吳王使之將。冬、與越人水戰、大敗越人。裂地而封之。能不龜手一也、或以封、或不免於洴澼絖 。則所用之異也。今子有五石之瓠。何不慮以爲大樽而浮乎江湖。而憂其瓠落無所容。則夫子猶有蓬之心也夫。」

Zhuangzi said: “Well you are certainly clumsy when it comes to using large things, aren't you? Among the Song people there were some who were good at making a salve that prevented the chapping of the hands. They used it for generations in their family business for bleaching silk. A traveler heard of it, and offered to buy the formula for one hundred pieces of gold. The people of the clan got together and discussed it. One said: “We've been bleaching silk for generations, never making more than several pieces of gold. Now, in one morning we can sell the technique for one hundred pieces. I say we go for it.” The traveler took it, and told the king of Wu about it. There was trouble with Yue, and the king of Wu made him a commander. It was winter, and there was a naval battle with Yue, in which they routed the Yue. So the king took a piece of the conquered land and enfeoffed him. Now, the ability to prevent the chapping of the hands is one, but one fellow was able to turn this into a fiefdom, while another could not go beyond the bleaching of silk. This is the difference in usage. Now you, sir, have a gourd five bushels in size. Why didn't you think of making it into a great barrel and use it to float on the rivers and lakes? Instead you suffer over the uselessness of large dippers. It's like you have brambles in your brain!”

惠子謂莊子曰。「吾有大樹、人謂之樗。其大本臃腫而不中繩墨、其小枝卷曲而不中規矩。立之涂、匠者不顧。 50 今子之言、大而無用、衆所同去也。」 莊子曰。「子獨不見狸狌乎。卑身而伏、以候敖 51 者。東西跳梁。不避高下。中於機辟、死於罔罟。今夫斄牛 52 、其大若垂天之云。此能爲大矣、而不能執鼠。今子有大樹、患其無用。何不樹之於無何有之鄕、廣莫之野。彷徨乎無爲其側、逍遙乎寢臥其下。不夭斤斧、物無害者。無所可用、安所困苦哉。」

Huizi said to Zhuangzi: “I have a large tree, which people call Ailanthus. 53 It has a great trunk that is all swollen and knotted, such that you cannot use a plumb line. Its branches are twisted up so that they don't line up with the carpenter's square. If it were standing along the road, a lumberjack wouldn't give it a glance. Now, sir, your words are big, but lack application — the kind of thing everyone avoids.” Zhuangzi said: “Have you alone never seen badgers and wildcats? They crouch down low, and then are proud of themselves as they dart around from East to West on the beams. But they can't avoid going between the high and low ground, and in the middle get caught in traps, and die in the nets. Then there is the Yak, said to be so large as to cover the sky. Well, it certainly can be regarded as huge, but it can't catch mice. Now you sir, have this great tree, and you fret over its uselessness. Why don't you go and plant it in the Village Where There is Nothing Whatsoever, in the broad and empty fields; hang around without aims at its side, freely and easily nap underneath it. Axes and hatchets do not cut its life short, and it is not harmed by people. Why are you suffering over its uselessness?”

2. Chapter Two: Discussion of the Equality of Things 莊子 齊物論

This, the second chapter of the Zhuangzi, should be seen as one of the most incisive critiques in the entire Asian tradition, of the contingent nature of language and meanings, as well as their mutually-defining relationship with formation of point-of-view. Zhuangzi asks, what really is the difference between words, and the sounds made by the wind blowing through the forests? And by what standards do we distinguish between rightness and wrongness? How is it possibly to truly affirm and deny things? Yet there are distinctions, and Zhuangzi makes clear distinctions among the levels of the sapience of sages, based on the relative earliness and lateness at which they perceive themselves to be falling into the trap of language, affirmation and denial. The critique of language provided here rivals just about anything given in the language-critiquing texts of Buddhism, such as the Diamond Sutra or the Madhyamika-kārikās. After reading this chapter, we can see how Chan Buddhists must have found it to reflect their own understandings. Two of the best-known parables of the Zhuangzi are contained here: “Three in the Morning,” and the “Dream of Zhuangzi being a Butterfly.” It is a work of true genius.

[Note: The translation of Chapter Two was undertaken in conjunction with a readings course in Classical Chinese at the University of Tokyo, Winter Semester, 2015, with student input bringing a great influence on the outcome of this translation. Participants included: Xiaojin Cai, Chuhan Du, Beibei Ge, Chen Jin, Yinglang Li, Joyce Lim, Xiaoqiang Pan, Hiroki Sato, Chong Pui Yee, Xia Yu, Laya Zhang, and Yiping Zhang. ]

①南郭子綦隱几而坐 仰天而噓 嗒焉似喪其耦。顏成子游立侍乎前、曰、何居乎。形固可使如槁木。 而心固可使如死灰乎。今之隱几者 非昔之隱几者也。

As Ziqi of the South Wall 54 sat resting 55 on his armrest, he looked up at the heavens and sighed. He seemed in a daze, as if he had lost his companion. Yancheng Ziyou, 56 who stood waiting in front of him, said: “What is this? Can you really make your body like a withered tree? And can you make your mind like dead ashes? The one who is now leaning on the armrest is not the one who was formerly leaning on it.”

②子綦曰、偃不亦善乎而問之也。今者吾喪我。汝知之乎。女聞人籟而未聞地籟 女聞地籟而未聞天籟夫。子游曰、敢問其方。子綦曰、夫大塊噫氣 其名爲風。是唯无作 作則萬竅怒呺。而獨不聞之翏翏乎。

“Has not Yan 57 indeed asked a good question? Now I have lost myself; do you understand? You may have heard the piping of man, but you have not yet heard the piping of earth; you may have heard the piping of earth, but may not have heard the piping of heaven.” Zi You said: “May I dare to ask you the method?” Ziqi said: “The Great Clod belches out qi, it is called Wind. At this point it has not yet been activated. Once it is activated, myriad apertures howl with rage. How could you not hear their roaring?”

③山林之畏佳 大木百圍之竅穴 似鼻 似口 似耳 似枅 似圈 似臼 似洼者 似汚者。激者 謞 者 叱者 吸者 叫者 譹者 宎者 咬者。前者唱于而隨者唱喁。泠風則小和飄風 則大和

“In the winding recesses of the mountain forests, the holes in trees of vast circumference seem like noses, seem like mouths, seem like ears, seem like bowls, seem like mortars, seem like puddles, seem like lakes; the noises produced sound like rushing water, like whishing arrows, like screeching, like sucking, like wailing, like roaring, like wind going through a hole, like growling. It first sounds like yu and then sounds like yong. With a small wind comes a small symphony, with a strong wind, a great symphony.”

④厲風濟則衆竅爲虛。而獨不見之調調、之刁刁乎。子游曰 地籟則衆竅是已 人籟則比竹是已。敢問天籟。子綦曰、夫吹萬不同 而使其自已也 咸其自取 怒者其誰邪。

“When it stops, then all the apertures become vacant. Have you not seen the wavering and the quivering of the leaves?” Ziyou said: “The piping of earth refers to these apertures. The piping of men refers to woodwind instruments. Dare I ask about the piping of heaven?” Ziqi said: “When it blows, all the differences are revealed, and each becomes distinct, with each one grasping itself. Who is the angry force behind all of this?”

⑤大知閑閑 小知閒閒。大言炎炎 小言詹詹。其寐也魂交 其覺也形開。與接爲構 日以心鬭。縵者 窖者 密者。小恐惴惴 大恐縵縵。

Great knowledge is vast and expansive; small knowledge is trivial and petty. Great words illumine, small words are just chatter. When they sleep, their spirits intermingle, when they are awake, their bodies are revealed. They encounter each other, taking positions, daily engaging their minds in struggle. Unadorned, covered, and concealed. Minor apprehension is dread; great apprehension is dejection.

⑥其發若機栝 其司是非之謂也。其留如詛盟 其守勝之謂也。其殺如秋冬 以言其日消也。其溺之所爲之 不可使復之也。其厭也如緘、以言其老洫也。近死之心 莫使復陽也。喜怒哀樂 慮嘆變慹 姚佚啓態。樂出虛 蒸成菌。日夜相代乎前 而莫知其所萌。已乎已乎。

They spring out as if they were shot from an arrow, deeming themselves judges of right and wrong. 58 They hold back as if they were under a sworn oath, and call it “protecting one's winnings.” They die away like autumn and winter, and dispose of the matter by saying that the days grow shorter. They drown in what they do, and can't bring about their recovery. They are pressed down as if under a seal, and deal with it by saying that they are aging and decaying. As their minds approach death, there is nothing that can make them return to their former vigor. Joy, anger, sorrow, and pleasure 59 planning and regretting, fickle and stubborn, refined and dissipated, critical and fawning. Music coming out of empty holes, dampness becoming mushrooms. Day and night alternating before our eyes, and no one knows where they have sprouted from. Enough! Enough!

⑦旦暮得此 其所由以生乎。非彼無我 非我無所取。是亦近矣 而不知其所爲使。若有眞宰 而特不得其眹。可行已信 而不見其形。有情而無形。百骸、九竅、六藏 賅而存焉。 吾誰與爲親。汝皆說之乎。其有私焉。如是皆有。爲臣妾乎。 其臣妾不足以相治乎。其遞相爲君臣乎。其有眞君存焉。如求得其情與不得 無益損乎其眞。

Morning and evening we obtain these, and this is how we live! If we don't have these things, there is no me, and without me, there is nothing to grasp. This is indeed close to the matter, but we don't know who brings it about. If there is a true lord, I am unable to find a clue of him. No doubt he is acting, but I cannot see his form. He has mind, but no form. The hundred bones, the nine orifices, 60 the six organs, all are here. With which should I be intimate. Do you say I should enjoy all of them? Do you have a personal preference among them? Are they your servants and maids? If they are servants and maids then there is no way for them to govern each other. Do they serve in turn as ruler and subject? Does a true ruler exist? If one seeks after his essence but can't lay hold of it, there is nothing added to or taken away from his reality.

⑧一受其成形 不亡以待盡。與物相刃相靡 其行盡如馳 而莫之能止。 不亦悲乎。終身役役而不見其成功。苶然疲役而不知其所歸。可不哀邪。人謂之不死 奚益。其形化 其心與之然 可不謂大哀乎。

Once our body is complete, we don't let go of it, but hold it until its extinction. We struggle with others and get along with them, our activities exhaust us as if we were running full speed, yet no one is able to stop. Is this indeed not a pity? We toil our whole lives without seeing perfect achievement; we are exhausted from our labors, but don't know where to go for respite. Is it not pitiful? People say that they haven't died, but where's the benefit in that? The body changes but the mind goes along with it. Is it not a great pity?

⑨人之生也 固若是芒乎。其我獨芒 而人亦有不芒者乎。夫隨其而師之 誰獨且無師乎。奚必知代而心自取者有之。愚者與有焉。未成乎心而有是非、是今日適越而昔至也。是以無有爲有。無有爲有、雖有神禹 且不能知。吾獨且柰何哉。

The life of people is inevitably muddled like this. Am I alone confused, while others are not also confused? 61 If we follow our completed mind 62 and take it as our teacher, who could be without a teacher? Why is it necessary to know alterations for the mind to grasp it for itself and possess it. The foolish also have it (a teacher). With the mind yet to be completed and to judge right and wrong — this is like setting off for Yue today and arriving yesterday. This is to claim that what does not exist exists. If you claim that the nonexistent exists, then even if Sage Yu were here, he would not be able to understand you. How could I possibly do it?

(10) 夫言非吹也。言者有言。其所言者特未定也。果有言邪。其未嘗有言邪。其以爲異於鷇音、亦有辯乎。其無辯乎。道惡乎隱而有眞僞。言惡乎隱而有是非。道惡乎往而不存。言惡乎存而不可。道隱於小成 言隱於榮華。故有儒墨之是非。以是其所非 而非其所是。欲是其所非而非其所是 則莫若以明。

Now, words are not wind; words have something to say. But what words have to say is not decided. Isn't there something expressed in words? Or is there something not-yet-expressed in words? We take words to be different from the chirping of birds, but is there really a distinction? Or is there no distinction? How could the Way be concealed and yet there be distinctions between authentic and inauthentic? How could words be concealed and yet there be distinctions between yes and no? How could the Way go forth and not exist? How could words exist, yet not be acceptable? The Way is concealed in trivial accomplishments and words are concealed in grandiosity. Therefore there are the yeses and nos of the Confucians and Mohists. Because of there being yes, there is no, and because of there being no, there is yes. If we want to affirm what has been rejected, and reject what has been affirmed, then there is nothing like using clarity. 63

(11) 物無非彼 物無非是。自彼則不見 自知則知之。故曰。彼出於是 是亦因彼。彼是方生之說也。雖然 方生方死 方死方生。方可方不可 方不可方可。因是因非 因非因是。是以聖人不由 而照之于天 亦因是也。是亦彼也 彼亦是也。彼亦一是非 此亦一是非。果且有彼是乎哉。果且無彼是乎哉。彼是莫得其偶 謂之道樞。

There are no things that are not that; there are no things that are not this. From the perspective of that, we do not see; when we know for ourselves, then we know it. Hence it is said: that issues out of this, and this also depends on that. This is the explanation of that and this giving rise to each other. Even though it is like this, with birth there is death; with death there is birth; with the admissible there is the inadmissible; with the inadmissible there is the admissible, depending on affirmation, depending on rejection; depending on rejection, depending on affirmation. Hence the sage, without relying on this, sheds light from heaven to depend on affirmation. [For him] this is also that, and that is also this; that is also a single affirmation and rejection, and this is also a single affirmation and rejection. Is there really a that and a this? Or is there actually no that or this? That and this never obtaining their counterparts is called the Hinge of the Way.

(12) 樞始得其環中 以應無窮。是亦一無窮 非亦一無窮也。故曰莫若以明。以指喩指之非指、不若以非指喩指之非指也。以馬喩馬之非馬、不若以非馬喩馬之非馬也。天地一指也、萬物一馬也。可乎可 不可乎不可。道行之而成 物謂之而然。惡乎然。然於然。惡乎不然。不然於不然。

Once the hinge first rests in its socket, it can respond limitlessly. “Affirmation” is also a single limitlessness, and “rejection” is also a single limitlessness. Therefore there is nothing like using clarity. Using a finger to show a finger's not being a finger, is not as good as using a non-finger to show a finger's not being a finger. Using a horse to show a horse not to be a horse is not as good as using a non-horse to show that a horse is not a horse. Heaven and earth are a single finger; the myriad things are a single horse. The admissible is admissible; the inadmissible is inadmissible. A path is made by our walking on it; things are so by their being named. What is so? It is the so of being so. What is not so? It is the not-so of being not-so.

(13) 物固有所然 物固有所可。無物不然 無物不可。故爲是擧莛與楹 厲與西施 恢恑憰怪 道通爲一。其分也 成也。其成也 毀也。凡物無成與毀 復通爲一。唯達者知通爲一 爲是不用而寓諸庸。庸也者用也。用也者通也。通也者得也。適得而幾矣。因是已。已而不知其然 謂之道。

Things definitely have their way of being so; things definitely have their admissibility. There is no thing that is not so, no thing that is not admissible. Hence a stalk of grass could be a pillar, a leper could be Xi Shi, 64 mysterious and strange. The Way penetrates these and makes them one. That which is partial is completed; that which is completed degenerates. All things, without completion or degeneration are once again melded as one. Only the wise know how they are melded as one. By this it is not used, yet lodges itself in the commonplace. The “commonplace” is “used.” “Used” is freely penetrating; free penetration is attainment. Appropriately attaining it, one is close. Based on this, one is finished. Being finished without being aware that this is so, is called the Way.

(14) 勞神明爲一 而不知其同也、謂之朝三。何謂朝三。曰狙公賦芧、曰、朝三而莫四。衆狙皆怒。曰。然則朝四而莫三。衆狙皆悅。名實未虧 而喜怒爲用。亦因是也。是以聖人和之以是非 而休乎天鈞。是之謂兩行。古之人 其知有所至矣。惡乎至。有以爲未始有物者 至矣盡矣 不可以加矣。

To exhaust one's mind in the effort of clarifying them to be one, yet not knowing that they are already the same — this is called “three in the morning.” What is the meaning of “three in the morning”? When the monkey-keeper was handing out chestnuts, he said “three in the morning and four in the evening,” and the monkeys all became furious. So he said, “Well, in that case, I'll give you four in the morning and three in the evening,” and all the monkeys were happy. Nothing was changed in terms of the actuality of the words, yet the result was happiness and anger. Indeed, it is based on this that the sage harmonizes them using affirmation and rejection, and rests on the heavenly balance. This is called “walking on two paths.” 65 There is a level that the wisdom of the ancients reached to. How far did it reach? It was able to know things before they appeared. How far-reaching! How exhaustive! Nothing can be added to it.

(15) 其次以爲有物矣 而未始有封也。其次以爲有封焉、而未始有是非也。是非之彰也、道之所以虧也。道之所以虧 愛之所以成。果且有成與虧乎哉。果且無成與虧乎哉。有成與虧 故昭氏之鼓琴也。無成與虧 故昭氏之不鼓琴也。

Those in the next level are aware of the existence of things, but not yet as delimited. Those in the next level regard things in their delimitation, but have not yet engaged in affirmation and rejection. With the appearance of affirmation and rejection the Way fades, and it is in the fading of the Way that attachments are formed. Is there indeed, forming-with-fading? Or is there indeed no-forming-with-fading? When there is forming with fading, we have Mr. Chao's strumming of the zither. Without forming and fading, we have Mr. Chao's not strumming the zither.

(16) 昭文之鼓琴也、師曠之枝策也、惠子之據梧也、三子之知幾乎。皆其盛者也、故載之末年。唯其好之也 以異於彼。其好之也 欲以明之彼。非所明而明之。故以堅白之昧終 而其子又以文之綸終。終身無成。若是而可謂成乎。雖我亦成也。若是而不可謂成乎。物與我無成也。是故滑疑之耀 聖人之所圖也。爲是不用而寓諸庸。此之謂以明。

Chao Wen's strumming of the zither, Master Kuang's keeping the beat with a stick, and Huizi's leaning on the Dryandra tree: was the wisdom of these three masters so subtle? All three prospered, such that their reputations carried them into their later years. 66 They only did what they enjoyed, and in this they were different from others. They only did what they enjoyed, and wanted to clarify their efforts for others. It is not that they clarified what needed clarification. Therefore they finished their lives in the obscurities of “hardness” and “whiteness.” And Wen's son finished his life trying to play the strings like Wen. They finished their lives incomplete. Can this, then, be called completion? In that case, even I am also complete. Thus, can it not be called completion? Beings and I are not complete. Therefore the sage makes his plans in the light of confusion. 67 Therefore he does not use them and remains in the ordinary. This is what is called “using clarity.”

(17) 今且有言於此 不知其與是類乎。其與是不類乎。類與不類 相與爲類 則與彼無以異矣。雖然 請嘗言之。有始也者 有未始有始也者。有未始有夫未始有始也者。有有也者。有無也者。有未始有無也者。有未始有夫未始有無也者。俄而有無矣 而未知有、無孰有孰無也。今我則已有謂矣 而未知吾所謂之其果有謂乎。其果無謂乎。

Now there is indeed something to be said here, but I don't know if it is in the same category as “this”? Or is “this” not of the same category? Whether it is the same or not the same, it is the same as some category, but then there is no way of determining the difference from “that”! Be that as it may, let me try to say it. If there is a beginning, there is a not-yet having begun to a beginning. There is not yet having begun to a not yet having begun to a beginning. There is being, and there is non-being. There is a not yet having begun to being and nonbeing; there is a not-yet having begun to a not-yet having begun to being and nonbeing. Suddenly, there is being and nonbeing. Yet we do not yet know, regarding being and nonbeing, which is being, and which is nonbeing. Now, I have said something, but I don't know if what I've said has really said something, or if it hasn't said something.

(18) 天下莫大於秋豪之末而大山爲小。莫壽乎殤子而彭祖爲夭。天地與我竝生 而萬物與我爲一。 旣已爲一矣 且得有言乎。旣已謂之一矣 且得無言乎。一與言爲二 二與一爲三。自此以往 巧歷不能得 而況其凡乎。故自無適有 以至於三 而況自有適有乎。無適焉 因是已。

There is nothing in the world greater than the tip of autumn down, and nothing in the world smaller than Mt. Tai. There is no one longer lived than an infant died young, and no one shorter lived than Ancestor Peng. 68 Heaven and earth and I are born together; the myriad things and I are one. 69 With their already being one, how could they be spoken of? Since they are already said to be one, how could they not be spoken of? Being one and being spoken of makes two; the two and one make three. If we proceed from this, even an accomplished mathematician wouldn't be able to calculate it, how much more so for the average fellow? Hence, starting from non-existence and proceeding to existence we arrive to three; how much more will it be if we proceed from existence and arrive at existence? Just not proceeding follows on this.

(19) 夫道未始有封 言未始有常 爲是而有畛也。請言其畛。有左 有右 有倫 有義 有分 有辯 有竸 有爭 此之謂八德。六合之外 聖人存而不論。六合之內 聖人論而不議。春秋經世 先王之志 聖人議而不辯。故分也者 有不分也。辯也者 有不辯也。曰。何也。

Now the Way has never begun to have delimitation. Language has never begun to be eternal. With this being the case there is a boundary. Let me describe this boundary: there is left, there is right, there is societal order, there is justice, there is distinction, there is discussion, there is competition, there is strife. These are called the eight ways of ordering. 70 Outside of the six directions, 71 the sage abides in non-discussion; within the six directions, the sage discourses without debate. Regarding the transmission of the will of the ancient kings down through the ages, the sage discusses but does not debate. Therefore, those who would discriminate will encounter things that can't be discriminated; and those who would debate will encounter things that they can't debate. You ask, why is it so?

(20) 聖人懷之、衆人辯之以相示也。故曰。辯也者 有不見也。夫大道不稱 大辯不言 大仁不仁 大廉不嗛 大勇不忮。道昭而不道 言辯而不及 仁常而不成 廉淸而不信 勇忮而不成。五者园而幾向方矣。故知止其所不知至矣。孰知不言之辯 不道之道。

The sage embraces it; the rest of the people debate it to clarify it to each other. Hence it is said “there is things that debaters do not see.” Now, the Great Way is unnamed, great debates have no words; great humaneness is not humane, 72 great modesty is not humble, great courage does not injure. The Way that is displayed is not the Way; words of debate do not reach their mark; humaneness as a constant is not consummate, 73 modesty that is incorruptible is not trusted; courage that injures is not complete. These five are round, but they tend toward squareness. Hence, knowing to stop at what one doesn't know, one reaches it. Who understands the wordless debate, or the Way of No-Way?

(21) 若有能知 此之謂天府。注焉而不滿 酌焉而不竭 而不知其所由來。 此之謂葆光。故昔者堯問於舜曰。我欲伐宗、膾、胥敖 南面而不釋然。其故何也。舜曰。夫三子者 猶存乎蓬艾之間。若不釋然 何哉。昔者十日竝出 萬物皆照 而況德之進乎日者乎。

If there is such an ability to know, it should be called the Reservoir of Heaven. Pour into it and it is not filled, scoop out from it, and it is never emptied; yet we do not know from whence it comes. This is called the concealed light. Therefore, in days of yore, Yao, facing south and not being able to resolve his consternation, asked Shun: “Should I attack the Zong, Kuai, and Xu-ao?” Why is this? Shun said: “Because these three [minor rulers] are still lurking in the underbrush. What happens if it remains unresolved. In ancient times when the ten suns appeared together, all things were illuminated. How much more does your virtue surpass these suns!”

(22) 齧缺問乎王倪曰。子知物之所同是乎。曰。吾惡乎知之。子知子之所不知邪。曰。吾惡乎知之。然則物無知邪。曰。吾惡乎知之。雖然 嘗試言之。庸詎知吾所謂知之非不知邪。庸詎知吾所謂不知之非知邪。且吾嘗試問乎女。民溼寢則腰疾偏死 鰌然乎哉。木處則惴慄恂懼 猨猴然乎哉。

Nie Que asked Wang Ni: “Do you know how things are the same as this?” Wang said: “How should I know that?” Nie said: “Do you know what you don't know?” Wang said: “How should I know that?” Nie said: “Then do the creatures lack knowledge?” Wang said: “How should I know that?” “Even so, let's see if we can discuss it. How can I know what I call knowledge is not non-knowledge? And I how can I know what I call non-knowing is not knowing? Indeed, I'd like to test this in questioning you: When people sleep in damp places they get lumbago and become half-paralyzed. But what about loaches? If people tried to live in the trees, they'd tremble in fear. But what about monkeys?”

(23) 三者孰知正處。民食芻豢 麋鹿食薦 蝍且甘帶 鴟鴉耆鼠。四者孰知正味。猨猵狙以爲雌 麋與鹿交 鰌與魚游。毛嬙、麗姬人之所美也、魚見之深入、鳥見之高飛、麋鹿見之決驟。四者孰知天下之正色哉。自我觀之、仁義之端、是非之塗、樊然殽亂、吾惡能知其辯。

Among these three types, who knows the right place to live? People eat livestock; elk and deer feed on grasses; centipedes find the meat of snakes to be tasty; owls and hawks like eating mice. Which of these four knows the right taste? Monkeys take other apes as mates; reindeer and deer interact with each other; loaches and fish cavort with each other. All the people regarded Mao Qiang and Li Ji as beauties, but if fish encountered one of them they would dive deep; if birds met one of them they would fly away; if deer met one of them they would scatter. Among these four, who knows true beauty? From my perspective, the sprouts of humaneness and justice, 74 the paths of right and wrong, are disordered, chaotic. How could I know how to discuss them?

(24) 齧缺曰。子不知利害 則至人固不知利害乎。王倪曰。至人神矣。大澤焚而不能熱 河漢沍而不能寒 疾雷破山、風振海而不能驚。若然者 乘雲氣 騎日月而遊乎四海之外。死生无變於己 而況利害之端乎。

Nie Que said: “If you don't know what is beneficial or harmful, then the perfected person will definitely not understand profit and harm.” Wang Ni said: “The perfected man possesses a degree of spirituality such that he can be in a forest fire and not be burned; he can enter the frozen-over Yellow and Han rivers without freezing; with a sudden thunderclap that shatters a mountain, or winds that churn the seas, he cannot be shaken. When you are like this, you can mount the clouds and mists, right on the sun and moon and roam beyond the four seas. Death and birth do not affect you, so how much less the sprouts of benefit and harm?”

(25) 瞿鵲子問乎長梧子曰。吾聞諸夫子 聖人不從事於務 不就利 不違害 不喜求 不緣道。无謂有謂 有謂无謂 而遊乎塵垢之外。夫子以爲孟浪之言 而我以爲妙道之行也。吾子以爲奚若。長梧子曰。是黃帝之所聽熒也、而丘也何足以知之。且女亦大早計 見卵而求時夜 見彈而求鴞炙。

Ju Quezi asked Chang Wuzi: “I heard that the Master (Confucius) says that the sage does not apply himself to mundane work; does not seek profit, does not avoid harm; does not follow a particular Way. Without speaking, he has something to say; having something to say, he does not speak — and yet he roams out beyond the dust of the world. The Master takes this as reckless talk, but I take it as the activity of the marvelous Way. How do you take it?” Chang Wuzi said: “This would baffle even the Yellow Emperor, so how would Confucius be able to understand it? You are indeed in a rush to get it sorted out. You see an egg, and expect to get a crowing rooster. You see a slingshot pellet and expect to eat a roasted dove!”

(26) 予嘗爲女妄言之 女以妄聽之奚。旁日月挾宇宙 爲其脗合 置其滑涽 以隸相尊。衆人役役 聖人愚芚。參萬歲而一成純。萬物盡然而以是相蘊。予惡乎知說生之非惑邪。予惡乎知惡死之非弱喪而不知歸者邪。麗之姬、艾封人之子也。晉國之始得之也、涕泣沾襟。及其至於王所 與王同筐床 食芻豢 而後悔其泣也。予惡乎知夫死者不悔其始之蘄生乎。

I have already spoken for you with wild talk; won't you wildly listen? Leaning on the son and the moon you take hold of the cosmos and merge with it, leaving it as it is, in chaos, taking oneself as a slave, venerating all others. All the people toil away, while the sage is dull. 75 He participates in myriad harvests and gives form to a single plainness. Myriad things are all like this, yet by this they cluster together. How do I know that being happy to be alive is not a delusion? How do I know that hating death is not like being an orphan who has lost his home and does not know how to return? The princess of Li was a child of a border guard of Ai. When the Duke of Jin first took her, she wept until her tears soaked her dress; that is, until she arrived to the royal palace and shared a luxurious bed with the king and ate fine foods. Then she regretted her tears. How do we know that those who die don't regret having first clung to life?

(27) 夢飮酒者 旦而哭泣。夢哭泣者 旦而田獵。方其夢也 不知其夢也。夢之中又占其夢焉 覺而後知其夢也。且有大覺而後知此其大夢也、而愚者自以爲覺 竊竊然知之。君乎 牧乎 固哉。丘也與女皆夢也。予謂女夢亦夢也。是其言也 其名爲弔詭、萬世之後 而一遇大聖知其解者 是旦暮遇之也。

A man may dream of drinking wine and the next morning. He may dream of crying, and the next morning go hunting. Thus, when dreaming, one doesn't know one is dreaming. But a man also interpret a dream within a dream, and it is only after one awakens that he realizes it was a dream. Moreover, after having a great awakening, he knows that it was a great dream. But the foolish assume themselves to be awakened, pretending to know what is going on. A ruler! A herdsman! How dense! Confucius and you are all dreaming. And my saying that you are dreaming is also a dream. Such talk may seem paradoxical, but ten thousand generations hence, we will encounter a great sage who will figure it all out. But he can be met at any moment.

(28) 旣使我與若辯矣。若勝我 我不若勝 若果是也、我果非也邪。我勝若 若不吾勝 我果是也。而果非也邪。其或是也 其或非也邪。其倶是也 其倶非也邪。我與若不能相知也 則人固受其黮闇。

Now, let me debate it with you. If you beat me, and I do not beat you, is it necessarily the case that you are right and I am wrong? If I beat you and you do not beat me, is it necessarily the case that I am right and you are wrong? Are we both right? Both wrong? If even you and I do not understand each other, then are others completely in the dark?

(29) 吾誰使正之。使同乎若者正之。旣與若同矣 惡能正之。使同乎我者正之。旣同乎我矣 惡能正之。使異乎我與若者正之。旣異乎我與若矣 惡能正之。使同乎我與若者正之 旣同乎我與若矣 惡能正之。然則我與若與人倶不能相知也。而待彼也邪。

Whom should we have judge who is right? Should we have someone who agrees with you judge it? Then if he agrees with you, how can he make a proper judgement? Should we have someone who agrees with me judge it? But if he already agrees with me, how can he judge it fairly? Should we have someone who disagrees with me and you judge it? But if he already disagrees with me and you, how can he judge it? Should we have someone who agrees with me and you judge it? But if he already agrees with me and you, how can he be correct? With this being the case, then me and you and a third party are all incapable of understanding each other. Shall we wait for yet another person?

(30) 化聲之相待 若其不相待。和之以天倪 因之以曼衍 所以窮年也。謂和之以天倪。曰。是不是 然不然。是若果是也 則是之異乎不是也亦無辯。然若果然也 則然之異乎不然也亦無辯。忘年忘義 振於無竟 故寓諸無竟。

Waiting for the changing of each other's voices (verbal arguments) is like not waiting for them. Harmonize them through the natural course of things; follow them as they spread far and wide, and thus live out your years. What does it mean to “harmonize them through the natural course of things?” It means right and not right, being so and not being so. If right is really right, then if right is different from the not-right, there should be no debate. If so is really so, then so should be different from the not-so, and thus there is no debate. Forgetting years, forgetting justice, stimulated by the limitless, and thus, remaining in the limitless.

(31) 罔兩問景曰。曩子行 今子止 曩子坐 今子起。何其無特操與。景曰。吾有待而然者邪。吾所待又有待而然者邪。吾待蛇蚹、蜩翼邪。惡識所以然。惡識所以不然。

Penumbra asked Shadow: “Before you moved, now you stop. Before you sat, now you get up. Why are you so inconstant?” Shadow said: “Shall I wait before doing anything? Is what I am waiting for also waiting for something? Shall I wait for the scales of a snake, or the wings of a cicada? How do I know why it so? How do I know why it isn't so?”

(32) 昔者莊周夢爲胡蝶 栩栩然胡蝶也 自喩適志與。不知周也。俄然覺 則蘧蘧然周也。不知周之夢爲胡蝶與 胡蝶之夢爲周與。周與胡蝶 則必有分矣。此之謂物化。

Formerly, Zhuang Zhou had a dream that he was a butterfly, a flitting, fluttering butterfly, thoroughly enjoying himself. Suddenly he awoke, and he was vaguely Zhou. He didn't know if he was Zhou dreaming he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming that he was Zhou. But between Zhou and a butterfly, there must certainly be some distinction! This is called the transitory character of things.

3. References

Feng, Gia-fu, and Jane English. 2008. Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters. Portland, Ore.:  Amber Lotus.

Ikeda Tomohisa  池田知久. 2014. Sōji 荘子. Tokyo:  Kodansha.

Kanaya, Osamu, trans. 1994. Zhuangzi荘子 Tokyo:  Iwanami Shoten. vol. 1

Mair, Victor H. 1998. Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu. Honolulu:  University of Hawaiì Press.

Watson, Burton. 1964. Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings. New York:  Columbia University Press.

Wu, Kuang-ming. 1990. The Butterfly as Companion: Meditations on the First Three Chapters of the Chuang Tzu. Albany, N.Y.:  State University of New York Press.

Ziporyn, Brook. 2009. Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings with Selections from Traditional Commentaries. Indianapolis:  Hackett Pub. Co..


1. 北冥: Lu Deming's 陸德明 commentary 經典繹文 says, “ is written in one recension. It means the northern sea 本一作溟, 北海.” Lin Xiyi's 林希逸 commentary 莊子口義 supports this, saying 北冥,北海也. (Jieun Kang)

2. Usually means to become angry. But in this case, it is interpreted as “powerfully.” (Jieun Kang)

3. Cheng Xuanying's 成玄英 commentary Zhuangzi shu 莊子疏 says, “ means churn .This bird Peng is heavy and big. If the sea does not churn, he can't fly to the high place himself. 運, 轉也。…即此鵬鳥, 其形重大, 若不海中運轉, 無以自致高昇.” (Jieun Kang)

4. 野馬: Cheng Xuanying's 成玄英 commentary Zhuangzi shu 莊子疏 says, "In the spring time, Yangqi are shimmering. When you watch the middle of the swamp in the distance, it appears as a running horse. Therefore it is called Yema. 此言青春之時, 陽氣發動, 遙望藪澤之中, 猶如奔馬, 故謂之野馬也. (Jieun Kang)

5. 生物之以息相吹也: Guoxiang's 郭象 commentary 莊子注 says, “These all are the things by which Peng flies 此皆鵬之所愚以飛者耳.” (Jieun Kang)

6. Cheng Xuanying's 成玄英 commentary Zhuangzi shu 莊子疏 says, 「夭,折也.閼,塞也.」 (Jieun Kang)

7. 學鳩: Linxiyi's 林希逸 commentary 莊子口義 also says, “the little dove to learns to fly 學飛之小鳩).” (Jieun Kang)

8. 決起而飛: Guoxiang's 郭象 commentary 莊子注 says, 決, 疾貌.」 (Jieun Kang)

9. 槍楡栃而止: is difficult here. Guoxiang 郭象 says, 槍, 突也.」 Linxiyi 林希逸 agrees and translates : “Even though they keep trying to reach the top of the elm tree and Judas tree but can not get to the height of about one zhang 奮起而飛, 欲突至於楡栃之上, 不過丈尺之高.” (Jieun Kang)

10. 控於地: Linxiyi 林希逸 says, “fall to the ground 投諸地.” (Jieun Kang)

11. 莽蒼: Guoxiang 郭象 says, “the colors of near suburb 近郊之色也.” (Jieun Kang)

12. 果然: Guoxiang 郭象 says, 飽貌.」 Linxiyi 林希逸 says, “Guo means full. The rice he ate still sits in his stomach. It means near 果, 實也.食未盡消也. 言其近也.” (Jieun Kang)

13. Interpreted variously as a great tree, or a great turtle.

14. : Guoxiang's 郭象 commentary 莊子注 says, “ He is a wise man in Tang period 湯時賢人.” (Jieun Kang)

15. 窮髮: Guoxiang 郭象 says, is similar to . The soil of the North Pole is barren land. Thus hair means grass. According to the geography books, the mountain use plants as their hair. 髮, 猶毛也. 北極之下, 無毛之地也. 案, 毛, 草也. 地理書云, 山以草木爲髮. (Jieun Kang)

16. 扶搖: whirlwind. Guoxiang 郭象 says, “A strong wind goes down and up 暴風從下上.” (Jieun Kang)

17. 羊角: Guoxiang 郭象 says, “When a whirlwind rise up to the sky, it takes the shape like horns of sheep 風曲上行若羊角.” (Jieun Kang)

18. Linxiyi's 林希逸 commentary 莊子口義 also says, “means small pond. The bird living there is small bird 斥, 小澤也. 斥澤之鶴, 小鳥也.” (Jieun Kang)

19. : A measurement of length. It was about 157.5 centimeters (7) in the Zhou dynasty. (Jieun Kang)

20. Kuang-ming Wu calls 斥鴳 a marsh-sparrow.

21. 宋榮子: Guoxiang 郭象 says, “A wise man of Song 宋國人也.賢者也.” Ziporyn glosses: “The philosopher Song Xing, who taught that that being insulted is not a disgrace. Reappears in Chapter 33. ” (Jieun Kang)

22. 猶然: Linxiyi's 林希逸 commentary 莊子口義 says “smiling face 笑貌也.” (Jieun Kang)

23. 內外: Guoxiang 郭象 says, “means me, means other people 內我而外物.” (Jieun Kang)

24. Guoxiang 郭象 says, “亦猶鳥之自得於一方也.” (Jieun Kang)

25. : Guoxiang 郭象 says, “means establishing, not yet being perfectly virtuous 樹, 立也.未能至德也.” (Jieun Kang)

26. Watson (p. 26) says: “. . . but there was still ground he left unturned.” Legge reads: “but still he had not planted himself firmly (in the right position)”; Ziporyn (p. 5) “But there was still a sense in which he was not firmly planted.”

27. 冷然: Guoxiang 郭象 says, “A light and marvelous image 輕妙之貌.” (Jieun Kang)

28. 數數: Guoxiang 郭象 says, “數數means busy trying to do something 數數,汲汲也.” (Jieun Kang)

29. Guoxiang 郭象 says, “He rides the wind naturally. He's not busy seeking it 自然御風行耳.非敏敷然.求之也.” (Jieun Kang)

30. :Most of the commentaries say that has the same meaning as  辯者, 變也。 (Jieun Kang)

31. The six vapors are six elemental energies of the changing seasons: yin 陰, yang 陽, wind 風, rain 雨, darkness 晦 (frost 霧), and brightness 明.

32. : Cheng Xuanying's 成玄英 commentary Zhuangzi shu 莊子疏 says, is a son (or grandson) of Diku. His last name is Yiqi 堯老,帝嚳之子,姓伊祁. (Jieun Kang)

33. 許由: Lu Deming's 陸德明 s commentary 經典繹文 says, “許由is a recluse 許由,隱人也.” (Jieun Kang)

34. The legendary Chinese sage emperor, whose reign was said to have extended from 2357 to 2255 BCE.

35. Xuyou. A legendary ancient recluse who is said to have refused when offered the emperor's position by Yao , after which he hid himself away in Jishan 箕山. Later on, once again requested by Yao to serve as the governor of Jiuzhou 九州, he cleaned out his ears with water from the Ying River 潁川, claiming that they had been defiled. Thus he is also known as the Ying River hermit 潁水隱士.

36. 肩吾連叔: Lu Deming's 陸德明 commentary 經典繹文 says, “They are men who find enlightenment 肩吾連叔, 竝古之懷道人也.” (Jieun Kang)

37. 接輿: Lu Deming's 陸德明 commentary 經典繹文 says, “His first name is Lu, and his second name is Tong. His style is 接輿. He is a wise man and a recluse in the Chu 接輿者, 姓陸,名通,字接輿,楚之賢人隱者也.” (Jieun Kang)

38. 逕庭: Cheng Xuanying's 成玄英 commentary Zhuangzi shu 莊子疏 says, “逕庭has the same meaning as big difference 逕庭,猶過差.” (Jieun Kang)

39. : Both Lu Deming 陸德明 and Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 take miao to be far-off 貌,遠也。 But It can be taken as a part of the mountain's name, because it appears in other senses as if it is a name. (Jieun Kang)

40. 綽約: Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 says “thin and weak 柔弱也.” (Jieun Kang)

41. 處子: Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 says “unmarried maiden 未嫁女也.” (Jieun Kang)

42. About the meaning of this sentence, Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 says “means very near. 時女means young lady being in the room. This sentence means Jieyu's words are like the elegant lady who is thin, weak and so pure. They are the things that the superior man pursues. But those who are the equivalent of being blind and deaf in terms of knowledge lack this 是者,指斥之言也。時女,少年處室之女也。指此接輿之言,猶如窈窕之女,綽約凝潔,為君子所求,但知之聾盲者謂無此理也。” (Jieun Kang)

43. : Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 says “is a particle. It also means an exclamation. 之是語助,亦歎美也.” (Jieun Kang)

44. 旁礡: Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 says “旁礡 has the same meaning as 混同 旁礡,猶混同也.” (Jieun Kang)

45. : Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 says “ means want 蘄,求也.” (Jieun Kang)

46. 弊弊: 經典繹文 says, “弊弊 is working hard 弊弊,經營貌” (Jieun Kang)

47. : Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 says “means to reach 至也稽,至也.” (Jieun Kang)

48. Cheng Xuanying 成玄英 says “Yue is very close to some rivers. They have cropped hair and tattoos to escape crocodile attacks 越國逼近江湖,斷髮文身,以避蛟龍之難也.” (Jieun Kang)

49. The 經典繹文 says that 四子is Wangni 王倪, Nieque 齧缺, Beiyi 被衣, and Xuyou 許由, but without citing any sources. (Jieun Kang)

50. The Zhuangzi shu 莊子疏 says, 擁腫,槃癭也.卷曲,不端直也.規圓而矩方.塗,道也.樗栲之樹,不材之木,根本擁腫,枝榦攣卷,繩墨不加,方圓無取,立之行路之旁,匠人曾不顧盼也

51. The Zhuangzi shu glosses as: 伺候傲慢之鼠.

52. Also seen rendered as 犛牛.

53. Following Legge and Watson with Ailanthus.

54. The south wall of ancient Chinese cities was where the working-class people tended to live and congregate.

55. The reading of as “to rest on” is extremely rare — in fact, I have never encountered such an interpretation in any other text aside from this passage. But other commentators and translators also take it this way.

56. (506–?) A scholar of the Spring and Autumn period 春秋時代, from the state of Wu . His family name was Yanyan 言偃, with Ziyou being his style. Considered to be one of the ten main disciples of Confucius 孔門十哲, along with Zixia 子夏 he was considered to be especially well versed in literature and composition.

57. The personal name of Ziyou .

58. The distinction of right and wrong 是非 is made throughout the chapter, but this term can also be read, according to the context, as “yes and no” as well as “affirmation and rejection.” However, in the Analects, “right and wrong” usually refers to rightness and wrongness in terms of ethics. For Zhuangzi, right and wrong can be hardly judged.

59. The basic set of four human emotions discussed in the Zhongyong. 「喜怒哀樂之未發謂之中」 中庸

60. Nine orifices; the nine openings of the human body (eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth, urethra, anus).

61. Compare to Daode jing Ch. 20: “While average people are clear and bright, I alone am dull and dim.”

62. We can take notice of the special role of in the Zhuangzi to refer to perfection, completeness, etc., as in the complete body 成形 and the perfect achievement 成功 mentioned above, or the complete virtue 成德 discussed in later chapters.

63. 莫若以明 here refers to a clear state of mind, not distracted or blinded by any outer factors. In this paragraph Zhuangzi shows his criticism towards the disputes between Confucian and Mohism, the adherents of which kept arguing without reaching consensus. Therefore Zhuangzi offers his own opinion of their argument, that is meaningless arguing over right or wrong. Right and wrong are relative and when you view things from different perspectives their values always change. So Zhuangzi said it is important to have a clear state of mind, not be blinded by the current situation or position. (Chong Pui Yee)

64. A famous beauty.

65. That is, to be able to hold two disparate views in mind at the same time, without having to choose one and reject the other.

66. Translators take also this phrase 皆其盛者也、故載之末年 as: (1) famous in later generations and (2) practicing to the end of their lives. (Chong Pui Yee)

67. The Daoist sage differs from ordinary people in not needing to distinguish, define, and clarify every single thing that is presented, but rather just let them be as they are. A good example of this kind of approach can be seen in Chapter 20 of the Daodejing: “While average people are clear and bright, I alone am obscure. Average people know everything. To me alone all seems covered.” 俗人昭昭。我獨昏昏。俗人察察。我獨悶悶。

68. Peng is a Chinese mythological figure, grandson of emperor Xuanzu 顓頊. Said to have lived for over 700 years through the Xia and Yin Dynasties. The Methuselah of China.

69. Mencius (7A:4) said a similar thing: 萬物皆備於我.

70. Right and left are simple physical distinctions; societal order and justice are Confucian values; distinction and discussion are basic intellectual functions; competition and strife are extended intellectual activities. Although Zhuangzi invokes the eight virtues, he is ridiculing Confucian and Mohist ideas. In his view, the eight virtues eventually became boundaries and limited freedom of men. The true sage could set himself free by transcending the boundaries of the eight virtues.

71. The six directions of north, south, east, west, the zenith and the nadir.

72. Compare Daode jing Ch. 38: “Superior humaneness ‘acts,’ but has no intentions.” In this kind of discourse, “great” can be interpreted as “real.” A person who is truly kind, or humane (Ch. ren ) is not even aware of his own kindness.

73. Here the absolute goodness of humanness as understood by Confucius is shown to also be contingent upon its authenticity. (Chong Pui Yee)

74. Humaneness and justice are the first two of the four sprouts (also translated as “four beginnings,” “four potentialities,” “four seeds,” etc.) taught by Mencius 孟子. These are four basic good tendencies assumed to be the natural possession of all human beings, which can be enhanced and developed. The feeling of concern for the well-being of others 惻隠; is the beginning of humaneness . The sense of shame and disgust 羞惡 is the beginning of justice ; the sense to treat others with courtesy and respect 辭譲 is the beginning of propriety . The sense of right and wrong 是非 is the beginning of wisdom .

75. Compare to Daode jing Ch. 20:“While average people are clear and bright, I alone am dull and dim.”