An ancient Chinese text from the late Warring States Period (475 B.C.-221 B.C.), Chuang Tzu is a collection of stories and anecdotes which exemplify the carefree nature of the ideal Taoist recluses, sages and immortals. Named after its author, "Master Chuang", this body of work is simply referred to as Chuang Tzu. It remains one of the two foundational texts of Taoism, along with the Tao Te Ching.
Chuang Tzu's array of anecdotes, parables, allegories, and fables, are often humorous or irreverent in nature. Its main themes are spontaneity in non-causative action and freedom from the mundane world. The fables and anecdotes in this text attempt to illustrate the delusion of human conceptualisations and the folly of human moralisation and discernment. Concepts such as good and evil; large and small; life and death; man and nature are philosophically examined. Whilst Confucian, Legalist, and Moh-ist philosophers were concerned with concrete social, political, and ethical reform, designed to alleviate the problems and suffering of the world; Chuang Tzu promoted carefree wandering and becoming one with "Tao" by freeing oneself from entanglement through the Taoist principle of non-causative action.
Throughout human history, innumerable books have developed on the subject of existence. However, very few of these books discuss non-existence. Amid the myriads of these authors, from antiquity through to the end of days, only one, in his carefree style, demonstrates what exists, what does not exist, and what transcends the limits of existence and non-existence: Chuang Tzu. His approach was radical and subversive, not only during the time it was written, but remains fresh and surprising to readers today and readers in future, until the end of days. This particular quality of Chuang Tzu, is central to its genius, and makes it so highly regarded as both a philosophical and literary work. For a span of more than 2000 years it has significantly influenced writers from the Han dynasty to the present day. Whilst the text stands as a work of philosophy and literature, and was written with a light touch and an ear for humour, there is also a deep and important function at its core: Chuang Tzu gives important and specific guidance for those truly in search of the path to enlightenment, and the transcendence of all limitations. As a text of such richness, depth, multiplicity, and spiritual gravity, Chuang Tzu may very well be unchallenged as a written work surpassing all others.
This book has been created with particular attention to helping the reader fully engage with the work of Chuang Tzu. Each chapter boasts at least one, but up to three, line-art illustrations in order to vividly convey the humorous and integral import of stories, anecdotes, fables and arguments within the text. Readers will also find that annotation and commentary account for more than half of the content. These extensive, line-by-line notes are conveniently provided within each chapter, offering interpretations of many ambiguous and hidden concepts, as well as historical and cultural references. The combination of well-designed illustrations and carefully considered annotation, has infused this book with a depth of content and graceful aesthetic.
|Product dimensions:||6.69(w) x 9.61(h) x 0.93(d)|
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