The Book of Chuang-Tzu - The Inner Chapters of Chuang-Tzu.pdf

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The Book of Chuang Tzu
The Inner Chapters by Chuang Tzu
The Inner Chapter One:
Free and Easy Wandering
The Inner Chapter Two:
Theories on all things being equal
The Inner Chapter Three:
Opinions on Nurturing Life
The Inner Chapter Four:
Relating to the Human World
The Inner Chapter Five:
Calculations on Filfilling Virtue
The Inner Chapter Six:
Teachings from those who were Great
who are no longer alive
The Inner Chapter Seven:
Responding to (Complying with) Emperors and Kings
Interpretations of The Inner Chapters
Interpretation of Chapter 1:
Loosening the Bonds of our Fixed
Preconceptions - The Tao Way
I nterpretation of Chapter 2:
Overcome Dualism by Smoothing Things Out
Interpretation of Chapter 3:
Skills as Expression of Dao
Interpretation of Chapter 4 :
Avoid Involvement in Society and its Conflicts - Stay Natural
Interpretation of Chapter 5:
Deviance as a Virtue beyond Social and
Natural Conventions - the Art of Nature
Interpretation of Chapter 6:
The Tao of Stoicism and Sociality
Interpretation of Chapter 7:
Preserve your Life by withdrawing from Society
Chapter 1:
Free and Easy Wandering
In the northern darkness there is a fish and his name is K’un. The K’un is so huge I don’t
know how many thousand li he measures. He changes and becomes a bird whose name is
P’eng. The back of the P’eng measures I don’t know how many thousand li across and,
when he rises up and flies off, his wings are like clouds all over the sky. When the sea
begins to move, this bird sets off for the southern darkness, which is the Lake of Heaven.
The Universal Harmony records various wonders, and it says: “When the P’eng journeys to the
southern darkness, the waters are roiled for three thousand li. He beats the whirlwind and rises
ninety thousand li, setting off on the sixth-month gale.” Wavering heat, bits of dust, living things
blown about by the wind - the sky looks very blue. Is that its real color, or is it because it is so far
away and has no end? When the bird looks down, all he sees is blue too.
If water is not piled up deep enough, it won’t have the strength to bear up a big boat. Pour a cup of
water into a hollow in the floor and bits of trash will sail on it like boats. But set the cup there and it
will stick fast, for the water is too shallow and the boat too large. If wind is not piled up deep
enough, it won’t have the strength to bear up great wings. Therefore when the P’eng rises ninety
thousand li, he must have the wind under him like that. Only then can he mount on the back of the
wind, shoulder the blue sky, and nothing can hinder or block him. Only then can he set his eyes to
the south.
The cicada and the little dove laugh at this saying, “When we make an effort and fly up, we can get
as far as the elm or the sapanwood tree, but sometimes we don’t make it and just fall down on the
ground. Now how is anyone going to go ninety thousand li to the south!”
If you go off to the green woods nearby, you can take along food for three meals and come back
with your stomach as full as ever. If you are going a hundred li, you must grind your grain the
night before; and if you are going a thousand li you must start getting together provisions three
months in advance. What do these two creatures understand? Little understanding cannot come up
to great understanding; the short-lived cannot come up to the long-lived.
How do I know this is so? The morning mushroom knows nothing of twilight and dawn; the
summer cicada knows nothing of spring and autumn. They are short-lived. South of Ch’u there is a
caterpillar which counts five hundred years as one spring and five hundred years as one autumn.
Long, long ago there was a great rose of Sharon that counted eight thousand years as one spring
and eight thousand years as one autumn. Yet P’eng-tsu alone is famous today for having lived a
long time, and everybody tries to ape him. Isn’t it pitiful!
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