List of Chinese Quotations - Z - Zhuangzi


Zhuangzi (pinyin), Chuang Tzŭ (Wade-Giles), Chuang Tsu, Zhuang Tze, or Chuang Tse (Traditional Chinese characters: 莊子; Simplified Chinese characters: 庄子, literally meaning "Master Zhuang") was a famous philosopher in ancient China who lived around the 4th century BCE during the Warring States Period, corresponding to the Hundred Schools of Thought philosophical summit of Chinese thought. Another well-known part of the book, which is also found in Chapter 2, is usually called "Zhuangzi dreamed he was a butterfly".

Zhuāng Zhōu mèng dié
"Zhuangzi dreamed he was a butterfly"
“Once Zhuang Zhou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Zhuang Zhou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuang Zhou. But he didn't know if he was Zhuang Zhou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuang Zhou. Between Zhuang Zhou and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.”
Translated by Burton Watson 1968. The name of the passage has become a common Chinese idiom, and has spread into Western languages as well. It appears, inter alia, as an illustration in Jorge Luis Borges' famous essay "A New Refutation of Time", and may have inspired H. P. Lovecraft's 1918 short story "Polaris".)

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