Zhuāng Zǐ 荘子 (or 庄子 in simplified writing) (EFEO: Tchouang-tseu ) is a Chinese thinker of IVe century before Jesus-Christ to whom one allots the paternity of an essential text of the Taoïsme. This text him is even called the Zhuangzi
If Zhuang Zhou really existed, one in any case knows only very few things about the person of this Chinese philosopher who lived at the time of the Royaumes Combatants (IVe front century J. - C.). “Historical Annals” of Sima Qian report that it was originating in the district of Meng, which could be located at the south of the yellow river, some share in the current province of Henan. It is known as also that it occupied of the administrative loads subordinates and refused the post of Prime Minister whom the king of the principality of Chu offered to him.
It completely finished its life withdrawn of the world carrying out a wandering life near to the people.
The thought of Zhuang Zhou, more usually called Zhuangzi (main Zhuang), reached us in a text written in prose of a great literary quality. The current work must much with its principal editor, Guo Xiang, Taoïste having lived at the 3rd century, and perhaps in another well-read man, Xiang Xiu. Guo Xiang preserved only thirty-three chapters on the fifty-two ones of the time Hàn (汉), having drawn aside those which they judged of bad quality or doubtful origin. It put at the head seven of them that they regarded as particularly important, allotted to Zhuang Zhou in person, which constitute the “internal chapters” neipian . Fifteen “external chapters” waipian then eleven “various chapters” zapian follow. It is thought that it replaced the poetic style of origin by its prose. In the gloses which consist primarily of interpolations, it exposes its reading of the work.
One also traditionally presents Zhuangzi like a successor of Laozi. However, certain researchers do not hesitate today to affirm the anteriority of Zhuangzi (it is also the name which one gives to the work which remains us). At all events, this text occupies a determining place in what was indicated, several centuries after the death of these characters, like the thought taoist.
The central concept of the philosophy of Zhuangzi is the CAD ( 道 ) that one can define as the natural and spontaneous course things. Zhuangzi makes fun of the Man, only being to try to be detached from the CAD by imposing its action and its speech. There indeed the problem is: all the attempts to discourse on reality aiming at acquiring the knowledge bases founder of the action are vain since the speech does nothing but operate cuttings in favor of this reality.
The question raised by Zhuangzi is thus the following one: if the speech is not a suitable instrument making it possible to acquire unquestionable knowledge, that remains T it with the Man and how must it consider its position in the universe? The answer is in not-acting it (wuwei 無為 ) which, far from being synonymous with indolence, passivity or fold, defines the action as it is in conformity with the nature of the things and the beings. The Man is thus invited to get rid of his self-centredness and his will to fold reality with his phantasms. The " Wu" in are etymological direction of " is perhaps taken here; dépouillement" , more than of " vide" with the modern direction.
This search for a cosmic position is incarnated in the figure of wise which is not embarrassed of any metaphysical question nor of any conflict of any kind. Turning over to the origin, it directly draws its force and its vitality in the CAD. Marrying the metamorphoses of the ten thousand beings, it is released from very forced and is subjected more only to the needs.
Not-to act such as conceives it Zhuangzi is a strictly individual step, without political claim, unlike the design of Laozi for which the policy is the place emblematic where should be exerted all the effectiveness of not-acting.
The most known episode of Zhuangzi is this history where the wise dream which it is a butterfly, and, awaking, wonders whether it is not rather the butterfly which dreams that it is Zhuang Zi. What raises the question of the major nature of reality, and echoed certain developments of the Indian mystical schools (tradition vijñanavada of the Bouddhisme, tantrism Kashmirien or Védanta).
- Zhuangzi (Chuang-Tzu, 369-298 ECB), The Internet Encyclopedia off Philosophy.
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