Quotes by Zhuangzi

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The eyes envy the mind. more...

Easy is right. Begin right and you are easy. Continue easy and you are right. The right way to go easy is to forget the right way, and forget that the going is easy. more...

The sage embraces things. Ordinary men discriminate amongst them and parade their discriminations before others. So I say; those who discriminate, fail to see. more...

Do not struggle. Go with the flow of things, and you will find yourself at one with the mysterious unity of the Universe. more...

He who pursues fame at the risk of losing his self is not a scholar. more...

The sound of water says what I think. more...

Take care of your body, then the rest will automatically become stronger. more...

My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. more...

If you have grasped the purpose of life there is no point in trying to make life into something it is not or cannot be. more...

Tao is beyond words and beyond things. It is not expressed either in word or in silence. Where there is no longer word or silence Tao is apprehended. more...

The non-action of the wise man is not inaction. It is not studied. It is not shaken by anything. The sage is quiet because he is not moved, not because he wills to be quiet. . . . Joy does all things without concern. For emptiness, stillness, tranquillity, tastelessness, silence, and non-action are the root of all things. more...

Perfect happiness is the absence of striving for happiness. more...

Those who realise their folly are not true fools. more...

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. more...

There is no bandit so powerful as Nature. The interaction of the positive and the negative principles, which produces the visible universe. In the whole universe there is no escape from it. more...

Do not seek fame. Do not make plans. Do not be absorbed by activities. Do not think that you know. Be aware of all that is and dwell in the infinite. Wander where there is no path. Be all that heaven gave you, but act as though you have received nothing. Be empty, that is all. more...

Those that think that wealth is the proper thing for them cannot give up their revenues; those that seek distinction cannot give up the thought of fame; those that cleave to power cannot give the handle of it to others. While they hold their grasp of those things, they are afraid of losing them. When they let them go, they are grieved and they will not look at a single example, from which they might perceive the folly of their restless pursuits - such men are under the doom of heaven. more...

A frog in a well cannot conceive of the ocean. more...

Heaven does without doing through its purity, Earth does without doing through its calmness. more...

Heaven is like an egg, and the earth is like the yolk of the egg. more...

'I shall have heaven and earth for my coffin and its shell; the sun and moon for my two round symbols of jade, the stars and constellations for my pearls and jewels; and all things assisting as the mourners. Will not the provisions for my funeral be complete? What could you add to them?' more...

Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him? more...

Your preciousness lies in your essence; it cannot be lost by anything that happens. more...

Good order results spontaneously when things are let alone more...

To have attained to the human form is a source of joy... What an incomparable bliss it is to undergo these countless transitions. more...

Thus, those who say they would have right without its correlate, wrong; or good government without its correlate, misrule, do not apprehend the great principles of the universe, nor the nature of all creation. more...

If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind. more...

He who regards all things as one is a companion of Nature. more...

Let everything be allowed to do what it naturally does, so that its nature will be satisfied. more...

Sound intelligence promises victory in every battle. more...

The greatest tragedy that can befall a person is the atrophy of his mind. more...

The Way is to man as rivers and lakes are to fish, the natural condition of life. more...

The little child learns to speak, though it has no learned teachers - because it lives with those who know how to speak. more...

Words are for meaning: when you"ve got the meaning, you can forget the words. more...

To regard the fundamental as the essence, to regard things as coarse, to regard accumulation as deficiency, and to dwell quietly alone with the spiritual and the intelligent - herein lie the techniques of Tao of the ancients. more...

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. more...

A path is made by walking on it. more...

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. more...

Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home! more...

During our dreams we do not know we are dreaming. We may even dream of interpreting a dream. Only on waking do we know it was a dream. Only after the great awakening will we realize that this is the great dream. more...

The baby looks at things all day without winking; that is because his eyes are not focused on any particular object. He goes without knowing where he is going, and stops without knowing what he is doing. He merges himself within the surroundings and moves along with it. These are the principles of mental hygiene. more...

If you have insight, you use your inner eye, your inner ear, to pierce to the heart of things, and have no need of intellectual knowledge. more...

The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of the word is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to. more...

Where is that man who has forgotten words that I may have a word with him? more...

And how do I know that the hate of death is not like a man who has lost his home when young and does not know where his home is to return to? more...

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. more...

Cherish that which is in you and shut out that which is without, for much knowledge is a curse. more...

When affirmation and negation came into being, Tao faded. After Tao faded, then came one-sided attachments. more...

The one-legged creature is envious of the millipede; the millipede is envious of the snake; the snake is envious of the wind; the wind is envious of the eye; the eye is envious of the heart. more...

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. more...

Running around accusing others is not as good as laughing. And enjoying a good laugh is not as good as going along with things. more...

Make your will one! Don't listen with your ears, listen with your mind. No, don't listen with your mind, but listen with your spirit. Listening stops with the ears, the mind stops with recognition, but spirit is empty- and waits on all things. The Way gathers in emptiness alone. Emptiness is the fasting of the mind. more...

Let your mind wander in simplicity, blend your spirit with the vastness, follow along with things the way they are, and make no room for personal views-then the world will be governed. more...

Why don't you try wandering with me to the Palace of Not-Even-Anything more...

Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly... more...

He who knows the activities of Nature lives according to Nature. more...

Tzu Li went to see Tzu Lai who was dying. Leaning against the door, he said, 'Great is the Creator! What will he make of you now? Will he make you into a rat's liver? Will he make you into an insect's leg?' Tzu-Lai replied, 'The universe gave me my body so I may be carried, my life so I may work, my old age so I may repose, and my death so I may rest. To regard life as good is the way to regard death as good. . . . If I regard the universe as a great furnace and creation as a master foundryman, why should anywhere I go not be all right?' more...

The hidden so-called scholars of old did not hide themselves and refuse to be seen. They did not close the door on their words and refuse to let them out. They did not shut away their wisdom and refuse to share it. But those times were all haywire. If it had been possible for them to act, they could have done great things, bringing all to Oneness without any sign of doing so. However, the times were not favorable and it was not possible, so they put down deep roots, remained still and waited. this was the Tao by which they survived. more...

When people do not ignore what they should ignore, but ignore what they should not ignore, this is known as ignorance. more...

My description of wisdom has nothing to do with benevolence and righteousness, it is to do with being wise in one's own virtue, nothing more. My description of being has nothing to do with benevolence and righteousness, it is that one should be led by one's innate nature, nothing more. more...

True depth of understanding is wide and steady, Shallow understanding is lazy and wandering, Words of wisdom are precise and clear more...

Heaven is in everything: follow the light, hide in the cloudiness and begin in what is. Do this and your understanding will be like not understanding and your wisdom will be like not being wise. By not being wise you will become wise later. more...

But you now, you wear your soul on your sleeve, exhausting your energy, propping yourself up on a tree, mumbling, or bent over your desk, asleep. Heaven gives you a form and you wear it out by pointless argument. more...

To be constant is to be useful. To be useful is to realize one's true nature. Realization of one's true nature is happiness. When one reaches happiness, one is close to perfection. more...

The mind remains undetermined in the great Void. Here the highest knowledge is unbounded. That which gives things their thusness cannot be delimited by things. So when we speak of 'limits', we remain confined to limited things. The limit of the unlimited is called 'fullness.' The limitlessness of the limited is called 'emptiness.' Tao is the source of both. But it is itself neither fullness nor emptiness more...

If you persist in trying to attain what is never attained (It is Tao's gift), if you persist in making effort to obtain what effort cannot get, if you persist in reasoning about what cannot be understood, you will be destroyed by the very thing you seek. To know when to stop, to know when you can get no further by your own action, this is the right beginning! more...

When there is no more separation between 'this' and 'that,' it is called the still-point of the Tao. At the still point in the center of the circle one can see the infinite in all things. more...

Only the intelligent knows how to identify all things as one. . . . When one is at ease with himself, one is near Tao. This is to let Nature take its own course. more...

Great knowledge sees all in one. Small knowledge breaks down into the many. more...

By ethical argument and moral principle the greatest crimes are eventually shown to have been necessary, and, in fact, a signal benefit to mankind. more...

I am going to try speaking some reckless words, and I want you to try to listen recklessly. more...

The bait is the means to get the fish where you want it, catch the fish and you forget the bait. The snare is the means to get the rabbit where you want it, catch the rabbit and forget the snare. Words are the means to get the idea where you want it, catch on to the idea and you forget about the words. Where shall I find a man who forgets about words, and have a word with him? more...

Either in conflict with others or in harmony with them, we go through life like a runaway horse, unable to stop. more...

There is danger for the eye in seeing too clearly, danger for the ear in hearing too sharply and danger to the heart from caring too greatly. more...

Although things seem to be sometimes going up and sometimes descending, sometimes slipping away, nevertheless there is a reality, the same today as in the past. It does not change, for nothing can affect it. Could we not say it is one great harmony? So why shouldn't we ask about it... more...

The saying goes, 'The sage rests, truly rests and is at ease.' This manifests itself in calmness and detachment, so that worries and distress cannot affect him, nothing unpleasant can disturb him, his Virtue is complete and his spirit is not stirred up. more...

The true man of the past waited upon Heaven when dealing with people and did not wait upon people when dealing with Heaven. more...

One whose inner being is fixed upon such greatness emits a Heavenly glow. Even though he has this Heavenly glow, others will see him as just a man. Someone who has reached this point will begin to be consistent. more...

An archer competing for a clay vessel shoots effortlessly, his or her skill and concentration unimpeded. If the prize is changed to a brass ornament, the hands begin to shake. If it is changed to gold, he or she squints as if going blind. The abilities do not deteriorate, but belief in them does, as he or she allows the supposed value of an external reward to cloud the vision. more...

Tao is obscured when men understand only one pair of opposites, or concentrate only on a partial aspect of being. Then clear expression also becomes muddled by mere wordplay, affirming this one aspect and denying all the rest. The pivot of Tao passes through the center where all affirmations and denials converge. He who grasps the pivot is at the still-point from which all movements and oppositions can be seen in their right relationship... Abandoning all thought of imposing a limit or taking sides, he rests in direct intuition. more...

Water becomes clear and transparent when in a quiescent stage. How much the more wonderful will be the mind of a sage when poised in quiescence! It is the mirror of heaven and earth, reflecting the ten thousand things. more...

The creature born is the creature dying. more...

When deeds and words are in accord, the whole world is transformed. more...

The enlightened attention rejects nothing nor welcomes anything-like a mirror it responds equally to all. more...

To examine oneself makes good use of sight. more...

Can a man cling to the positive without any negative in contrast to which it is seen to be positive? If he claims to do so he is a rouge or a madman. more...

When an archer is shooting for nothing, he has all his skill. If he shoots for a brass buckle, he is already nervous. If he shoots for a prize of gold, he goes blind or sees two targets - He is out of his mind! His skill has not changed. But the prize divides him. He cares. He thinks more of winning than of shooting- And the need to win drains him of power. more...

Men do not mirror themselves in running water - they mirror themselves in still water. Only what is still can still the stillness of other things. more...

A sage steers by the bright light of confusion and doubt. more...

People value that part of knowledge which is known. They do not know how to avail themselves of the Unknown in order to reach knowledge. Is this not misguided? more...

If a man is crossing the river and an empty boat collides with his skiff, even though he is a bad tempered man he will not become very angry. But if he sees a man in the other boat he will scream and shout and curse at the man to steer clear. 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. Thus is the perfect man - his boat is empty. more...

The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror. more...

The Portal of God is nonexistence. All things sprang from nonexistence. Existence could not make existence existence. It must have proceeded from nonexistence, and nonexistence and nothing are one. Herein is the abiding place of the sage. more...

He who does his work like a machine grows a heart like a machine and he who carries the heart of a machine in his breast loses his simplicity. He who has lost his simplicity becomes unsure in the strivings of his soul. more...

Tao is the source of both fullness and emptiness. But it is itself neither fullness nor emptiness. more...

Each one's destiny cannot be altered. more...

People live their lives, constantly surrounded by anxiety. if they live long before dying, they end up in senility, worn out by concerns: a terrible fate! The body is treated in a very harsh fashion. Courageous men are seen by everyone under Heaven as worthy, but this doesn't preserve them from death. I am not sure I know whether this is sensible or not. more...

All men know the use of the useful, but nobody knows the use of the useless. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so that I can have a word with him? more...

Study is to study what cannot be studied. Undertaking means undertaking what cannot be undertaken. Philosophizing is to philosophize about what cannot be philosophized about. Knowing that knowing is unknowable is true perfection. more...

You cannot speak of ocean to a well-frog, the creature of a narrower sphere. You cannot speak of ice to a summer insect, the creature of a season. more...

The ultimate happiness is doing nothing. more...

Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. more...

The torch of doubt and chaos is what the sage steers by. more...

Horses have hoofs to carry them over frost and snow; hair, to protect them from wind and cold. They eat grass and drink water, and fling up their heels... Such is the real nature of horses. more...

Easy is right. Begin right, and you will be easy. Continue easy and you are right... The right way to go easy is to forget the right way, and forget that the going is easy. more...

How do I know that loving life is not a delusion? How do I know that in hating death I am not like a man who, having left home in his youth, has forgotten the way back?...someday there will be a great awakening when we know that this is all a great dream. Yet the stupid believe that they are awake, busily and brightly assuming they understand things, calling this man ruler, and that man a herdsman- how dense! more...

Are you and I perchance caught up in a dream from which we have not yet awakened? more...

Fish live in water. Men die in it.Nature is diverse, and not all tastes are the same. more...

...the ten thousand things belong to one storehouse and life and death share the same body. more...

As regards the quietude of the sage, he is not quiet because quietness is said to be good. He is quiet because the multitude of things cannot disturb his quietude. When water is still, one's beard and eyelashes are reflected in it. A skilled carpenter uses it in a level to obtain a measurement. If still water is so clear, how much more are the mental faculties! The mind of the sage is the mirror of heaven and earth in which all things are reflected. more...

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. more...

Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness. more...

We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away. more...

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man? more...

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. more...

Rewards and punishments are the lowest form of education. more...

I know the joy of fishes in the river through my own joy, as I go walking along the same river. more...

Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it. more...

Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous. more...

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. more...

All existing things are really one. We regard those that are beautiful and rare as valuable, and those that are ugly as foul and rotten The foul and rotten may come to be transformed into what is rare and valuable, and the rare and valuable into what is foul and rotten. more...

Life comes from the earth and life returns to the earth. more...

Cherish that which is within you, and shut off that which is without; for much knowledge is a curse. more...

Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him? more...

Those who realize their folly are not true fools. more...

Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. more...

Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature. more...

Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words. more...

Big? Sure. But, he can't catch mice! So for your big tree. No use? Then plant it in the wasteland - in emptiness. Walk idly around it and rest under it's shadow. No axe or saw prepares its end. No one will ever cut it down. Useless? You should worry!. more...

Luck implies an absolute absence of any principle. more...

A man who knows he is a fool is not a great fool. more...

In an archery contest, when the stakes are earthenware tiles a contestant shoots with skill. When the stakes are belt buckles he becomes hesitant, and if the stakes are pure gold he becomes nervous and confused. There is no difference as to his skil. more...

All men know the utility of useful things; but they do not know the utility of futility. more...

The men of old breathed clear down to their heels. more...

Breathing control gives man strength, vitality, inspiration, and magic powers. more...

When the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten; when the belt fits, the belly is forgotten; when the heart is right, "for" and "against" are forgotten. There is no change in what is inside, no following what is outside, when the adjustment to events is comfortable. One begins with what is comfortable and never experiences what is uncomfortable, when one knows the comfort of forgetting what is comfortable. more...

The knowledge of the ancients reached the highest point-the time before anything existed. This is the highest point. It is exhaustive. There is no adding to it. more...

I was given life because it was my time, and now I take leave of it according to the same law. Content with the natural sequence of these events, I am touched neither by joy nor by grief. I am simply hanging in the air ... incapable of freeing myself, tied by the threads of things. more...

The living all find death unpleasant; men mourn over it. And yet, what is death, but the unbending of the bow and its return to its case? more...

He who dreams ... does not know he is dreaming... . Only when he awakens does he know he has dreamt. But there is also the great awakening (ta-chiao), and then we see that [everything] here is nothing but a great dream. Of course, the fools believe that they are already awake-what foolishness! Confucius and you, both of you, are dreams; and I, who tell you this, am also a dream. more...

If we look on heaven and earth as a single crucible, and on the creator as the founder, would there be any place I could not go? When it is time, I will fall asleep, and when the right time comes, I will wake up again. more...

When I look at what the world does and where people nowadays believe they can find happiness, I am not sure that that is true happiness. The happiness of these ordinary people seems to consist in slavishly imitating the majority, as if this were their only choice. And yet they all believe they are happy. I cannot decide whether that is happiness or not. Is there such a thing as happiness? more...

True men" ... are strong willed, have dignity in their demeanor, serenity in their expression. They are cool like autumn, warm like spring. Their passions arise like the four seasons, in harmony with the ten thousand creatures, and no one knows their limits. more...

Great understanding is broad and unhurried; little understanding is cramped and busy more...

Horses have hoofs to carry them over frost and snow; hair, to protect them from wind and cold. They eat grass and drink water, and fling up their heels.... Such is the real nature of horses. more...

You are still guided by your expectations. more...

All existing things are really one. We regard those that are beautiful and rare as valuable, and those that are ugly as foul and rotten. The foul and rotten may come to be transformed into what is rare and valuable, and the rare and valuable into what is foul and rotten. more...

The Tao has no place for pettiness, and nor has Virtue. Pettiness is dangerous to Virtue; pettiness is dangerous to the Tao. It is said, rectify yourself and be done. more...

He who knows he is a fool is not the biggest fool; He who knows he is confused is not in the worst confusion. more...

The true man breathes with his heels. more...

To use what has a boundary to pursue what is limitless is dangerous; with this knowledge, if we still go after knowledge, we will run into trouble. Do not do what is good in order to gain praise. If you do what is bad be sure to avoid the punishment. Follow the Middle Course, for this is the way to keep yourself together, to sustain your life, to care for your parents and to live for many years. more...

To have a human form is a joyful thing. more...

That knowledge which stops at what it does not know, is the highest knowledge. more...

You will always find an answer in the sound of water. more...

Those who follow the Tao are of clear mind. They do not load their mind with anxieties and are flexible in their adjustment to external conditions. more...

The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you've gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him? more...

If there is existence, there must be non-existence. And if there was a time when nothing existed, there must have been a time before that - when even nothing did not exist. Suddenly, when nothing came into existence, could one really say whether it belonged to the category of existence or non-existence? more...

Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity. Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest. From the union of these two non-doings All actions proceed. All things are made. How vast, how invisible This coming-to-be! All things come from nowhere! How vast, how invisible No way to explain it! All beings in their perfection Are born of non-doing. Hence it is said: Heaven and earth do nothing Yet there is nothing they do not do. Where is the man who can attain To this non-doing? more...

So if loss of what gives happiness causes you distress when it fades, you can now understand that such happiness is worthless. It is said, those who lose themselves in their desire for things also lose their innate nature by being vulgar. more...

To be truly ignorant, be content with your own knowledge. more...

Once I dreamed I was a butterfly, and now I no longer know whether I am Chuang Tzu, who dreamed I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly dreaming that I am Chuang Tzu. more...

Great knowledge is universal. Small knowledge is limited. Great words are inspiring; small words are chatter. more...

Beneath multiple specific and individual distinctions, beneath innumerable and incessant transformations, at the bottom of the circular evolution without beginning or end, there hides a law, a unique nature participated in by all beings, in which this common participation produces a ground of common harmony. more...

The perfect man uses his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing. It regrets nothing. It receives but does not keep. more...

Goods and possessions are no gain in his eyes. He stays far from wealth and honor. Long life is no ground for joy, nor early death for sorrow. Success is not for him to be pround of, failure is no shame. Had he all the world's power he would not hold it as his own. If he conquered everything he would not take it to himself. His glory is in knowing that all things come together in One and life and death are equal. more...

All that is limited by form, semblance, sound, color is called object. Among them all, man alone is more than an object. Though, like objects, he has form and semblance, He is not limited to form. He is more. He can attain to formlessness. When he is beyond form and semblance, beyond "this" and "that," where is the comparison with another object? Where is the conflict? What can stand in his way? He will rest in his eternal place which is no-place. He will be hidden in his own unfathomable secret. His nature sinks to its root in the One. His vitality, his power hide in secret Tao. more...

The man who has some respect for his person keeps his carcass out of sight, hides himself as perfectly as he can. more...

The space under the sky is occupied by all things in their unity. more...

The Tao is in all things, in their divisions and their fullness. What I dislike about divisions is that they multiply, and what i dislike about multiplication is that it makes people want to hold fast to it. So people go out and forget to return, seeing little more than ghosts. more...

The hearing that is only in the ears is one thing. The hearing of the understanding is another. But the hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty to the ear, or to the mind. more...

Hence it demands the emptiness of all the faculties. And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being listens. There is then a direct grasp of what is right there before you that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind. more...

Life is finite, While knowledge is infinite. more...

The World is Large - Its beauty indescrible. more...

Never admire a man by his strength; judge him in how he uses it- A way is made by walking it more...

Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument. If so were really so, it would differ so clearly from not so that there would be no need for argument. more...

If one is true to one's inner self, and follows its wisdom, who is without a teacher? more...

For all people strive to grasp what they do not know, while none strive to grasp what they already know; and all strive to discredit what they do not excel in, while none strive to discredit what they do excel in. This is why there is chaos. more...

For we can only know that we know nothing, and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. more...

Human life is limited, but knowledge is limitless. To drive the limited in pursuit of the limitless is fatal; and to presume that one really knows is fatal indeed! more...

There are no greater adversaries than yin and yang, because nothing in Heaven or on Earth escapes them. But it is not yin and yang that do this, it is your heart that makes it so. more...

Your mind must become one, do not try to understand with your ears but with your heart. Indeed, not with your heart but with your soul. more...

There may be difficulty at the moment, but I will not lose the Virtue that I possess. It is when the ice and snow are on them that we see the strength of the cypress and the pine. I am grateful for this trouble around me, because it gives me an opportunity to realize how fortunate I am. more...

Love of colors bewilders the eye and it fails to see right. Love of harmonies bewitches the ear, and it loses its true hearing. Love of perfumes fills the head with dizziness. Love of flavors ruins the taste. Desires unsettle the heart until the original nature runs amok. These five are enemies of true life. Yet these are what men of discernment claim to live for. They are not what I live for. If this is life, then pigeons in a cage have found happiness! more...

Look at this window: it is nothing but a hole in the wall, but because of it the whole room is full of light. So when the faculties are empty, the heart is full of light. more...

When the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten. When the belt fits, the belly is forgotten. When the heart is right, "for" and "against" are forgotten. No drives, no compulsions, no needs, no attractions: Then your affairs are under control. You are a free man. more...

Who knows when the end is reached? Death may be the beginning of life. How do I know that love of life is not a delusion after all? How do I know that he who dreads to die is as a child who has lost the way and cannot find his way home? How do I know that the dead repent of having previously clung to life? more...

Birth is not the beginning, Death is not the end. more...

Once Chuang Chou 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 Chuang Chou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakeable Chuang Chou. But he didn't know if he was Chuang Chou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou. more...

A battering ram can knock down a city wall, but it cannot stop a hole. Different things have different uses. more...

Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words. more...

All the fish needs is to get lost in the water. All man needs is to get lost in Tao. more...

It is only when the formed learns from the unformed that there is understanding. more...

Men of this world all rejoice in others being like themselves, and object to others not being like themselves. more...

Verily God does not reward man for what he does, but for what he is. more...

The perfect man of old looked after himself first before looking to help others. more...

Being is thoughtless-beyond and beneath all categories of thought. Expression is the realization of creative thought. Being is still; expression, moving. But then if I do not strive, who will? more...

To exercise no-thought and rest in nothing is the first step toward resting in Tao. To start from nowhere and follow no road is the first step toward attaining Tao. more...

We possess our body by chance and we are already pleased with it. If our physical bodies went through ten thousand transformations without end, how incomparable would this joy be! Therefore the sage roams freely in the realm in which nothing can escape, but all endures. more...

If you wish to care for your body, first of all take care of material things, though even when you have all the things you want, the body can still be uncared for more...

The sage has the sun and moon by his side and the universe under his arm. He blends everything into a harmonious whole. . . . He blends the disparities of ten thousand years into one complete purity. All things are blended like this and mutually involve each other. more...

Heaven cannot but be high. Earth cannot but be broad. The sun and moon cannot but revolve. All creation cannot but flourish. To do so is their TAO. But it is not from extensive study that this may be known, nor by dialectical skill that his may be made clear. The true sage will have none of these. more...

The love of a Sage for his fellows likewise finds expression amongst mankind. Were he not told sop, he would not know that he loved his fellows. But whether he knows it or whether he does not know it, whether he hears it or whether he does not hear it, his love for his is without end, and mankind cease not to repose therein. more...

Therefore, the truly great man, although he does not injure others, does not credit himself with charity and mercy (these are natural to him). He does not seek gain, but does not despise his followers who do. He struggles not for wealth, but does not take credit for leaving it alone... The ranks and emoluments of the world are to him no cause for joy, it's punishments and shame no cause for disgrace. more...

Sorrow and happiness are the heresies of virtue; joy and anger lead astray from TAO; love and hate cause loss of virtue. The heart unconscious of sorrow and happiness - that is perfect virtue. One, without change - that is perfect repose. Without any obstruction - that is the perfection of the unconditioned. Holding no relations with the external world, - that is perfection of the negative state. Without blemish of any kind, - that is the perfection of purity. more...

Joy, anger, sorrow, happiness, find no place in that man's breast; for to him all creation is ONE. And all things being thus united in ONE, his body and limbs are but as dust of the earth, and life and death, beginning, and end, are but as night and day, and cannot destroy his peace. How much less such trifles as gain or loss, misfortune or good fortune? more...

Man may rest in the eternal fitness; he may abide in the everlasting; and roam from the beginning to the end of all creation. He may bring his nature to a condition of ONE, he may nourish his strength; he may harmonise his virtue, and so put himself into partnership with God. more...

If you want to nourish a bird, you should let it live any way it chooses. Creatures differ because they have different likes and dislikes. Therefore the sages never require the same ability from all creatures. . . concepts of right should be founded on what is suitable. The true saint leaves wisdom to the ants, takes a cue from the fishes, and leaves willfulness to the sheep. more...

If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation. more...

The torch of doubt and chaos, this is what the sage steers by. more...

A petty thief is put in jail. A great brigand becomes a ruler of a Nation. more...

Now, when ordinary people attempt to find happiness, I am not sure whether the happiness is really happiness or not. I study what ordinary people do to find happiness, what they struggle for, rushing about apparently unable to stop. more...

Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point. more...

When an archer shoots for enjoyment, he has all his skill; when he shoots for a brass buckle, he gets nervous; when he shoots for a prize of gold, he begins to see two targets. more...

Listening stops with the ears, the mind stops with recognition, but spirit is empty and waits on all things. more...

Transmit the established facts; do not transmit words of exaggeration. If you do that, you will probably come out all right. more...

Good fortune is as light as a feather, but nobody knows how to pick it up. Misfortune is as heavy as earth, but nobody knows how to stay out of it's way. more...

Calculate what man knows and it cannot compare to what he doesn't know. Calculate the time he is alive and it cannot compare to the time before he was born. Yet man takes something so small and tries to exhaust the dimensions of something so large! more...

Silence, and non action are the root of all things. more...

When you are identified with the One, all things will be complete to you. more...

The right way to go easy is to forget the right way... more...

If the Way is made clear, it is not the Way. more...

Understanding that rests in what it does not understand is the finest. more...

Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course. more...

There is a saying that Heaven is internal, humanity external and Virtue comes from the Heavenly. Know Heaven and humanity's actions, root yourself in Heaven and follow Virture.Then you can bend, stretch, rush forward or hold back, because you will always return to the core and it will be said you have achieved the supreme. more...

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. more...

Why do' you try wandering with me to the Palace of Not-Even-Anything more...

When he tries to extend his power over objects, those objects gain control of him. He who is controlled by objects loses possession of his inner self... Prisoners in the world of object, they have no choice but to submit to the demands of matter! They are pressed down and crushed by external forces: fashion, the market, events, public opinion. Never in a whole lifetime do they recover their right mind!... What a pity! more...

The effect of life in society is to complicate and confuse our existence, making us forget who we really are by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not. more...

The fish trap exists because of the fish: once you have gotten the meanings, you can forget the words. more...

Everything has what is innate,everything has what is necessary. more...

Compare birth with death, compare death with life; compare what is possible with what is not possible and compare what is not possible with what is possible; because there is, there is not, and because there is not, there is. more...

The whole world is incapable of judging either right or wrong. but it is certain that actionless action can judge both right and wrong. more...

The raven hatches its young; the fish spew forth their eggs; the slim-waisted wasp transforms, and when a younger brother comes along the elder brother weeps. For too long I have not been able to work in harmony with these changes. So, given that I did not play my part in harmony with others, how could I expect to change people? more...

If the Tao could be served up, everyone would serve it up to their lords. If the Tao could be offered, there is no one who would not offer it to their parents. If the Tao could be spoken of, there is no one in the world who would not speak of it to their brothers and sisters. if the Tao could be passed on, there is no one who would not pass it on to their heirs. However, it obviously cannot be so and the reason is as follows. If there is no true centre within to receive it, it cannot remain;if there is no true direction outside to guide it,it cannot be received.... more...

The tao is made because we walk it,things become what they are called. more...

To go outside what your charge was, and to try to solve everything yourself, is dangerous. more...

When I talk about having good hearing, I don't mean just listening, but listening to yourself. When I talk about good eyesight, I don't mean just looking, but looking at yourself. more...

The fact is that those who do not see themselves but who see others, who fail to grasp of themselves but who grasp others, take possession of what others have but fail to possess themselves. they are attracted to what others enjoy but fail to find enjoyment in themselves. more...

Am I a human dreaming I am a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming I am a human? more...

Paraphrased: When Chuang Tzu was about to die, his disciples began planning a splendid funeral. However some disciples expressed concern that given a particular arrangement, birds and kites would eat his remains. Chuang Tzu replied, "Well, above ground I shall be eaten by crows and kites, below it by ants and worms. What do you have against birds? more...

We are born from a quiet sleep, and we die to a calm awakening more...

When the heart is right, "for" and "against" are forgotten. more...

Standards are different for all things, so the standard set by man is by no means the only 'certain' standard. If you mistake what is relative for something certain, you have strayed far from the ultimate truth. more...

The hundred parts of the body are all complete in their places. Which should one prefer? Do you like them all equally? Are they all servants? Are they unable to control one another and need a ruler? Or do they become rulers and servants in turn? Is there any true ruler other than themselves? more...

How do I know that loving life is not a delusion? How do I know that in hating death I am not like a man who, having left home in his youth, has forgotten the way back? more...

In a river mist, if another boat knocks against yours, you might yell at the other fellow to stay clear. But if you notice then, that it's an empty boat, adrift with nobody aboard, you stop yelling. When you discover that all the others are drifting boats, there's no one to yell at. And when you find out you are an empty boat, there's no one to yell. more...

There is a beginning. There is no beginning of that beginning ... There is something. There is nothing. more...

The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you've gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him? more...

To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. more...

Once upon a time, Chuang Chou dreamed that he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting about happily enjoying himself. He didn't know that he was Chou. Suddenly he awoke and was palpably Chou. He didn't know whether he were Chou who had dreamed of being a butterfly, or a butterfly who was dreaming that he was Chou. more...

You cannot speak of ocean to a well-frog, - the creature of a narrower sphere. You cannot speak of ice to a summer insect, - the creature of a season. more...

A dog is not considered good because of his barking, and a man is not considered clever because of his ability to talk. more...

Rewards and punishment is the lowest form of education. more...

The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present. more...

My most interesting memory is of my first real dream. I was a caterpillar, wriggling around in the earth, just the way a caterpillar would. Following my caterpillar whims, completely unaware of anyone. more...

When you're dreaming, you don't know it's a dream. You might even interpret a dream in your dream - and then wake up and realize it was all a dream. Perhaps a great awakening will reveal this to be a dream as well. more...

Only fools imagine they are already awake. How clearly they understand everything! How easily they distinguish this deception from that reality! more...


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