230+ Zhuangzi (Zhuang Zhou) Quotes

Zhuangzi Quotes

Zhuangzi, also known as Zhuang Zhou, was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived during the Warring States period in ancient China. He is considered one of the most important figures in Daoism (Taoism) and is known for his writings and teachings that explore the nature of reality, the self, and the concept of Dao.

Zhuangzi’s most famous work is the “Zhuangzi,” also known as the “Book of Zhuangzi” or “Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream.” It is a collection of anecdotes, parables, and philosophical dialogues that express his ideas and insights. The text is highly poetic and often employs humor and paradoxical statements to convey deeper meanings.

One of Zhuangzi’s central concepts is the idea of “Ziran,” which can be translated as “naturalness” or “spontaneity.” Zhuangzi believed that true happiness and fulfillment could be achieved by living in harmony with the natural order of things, rather than trying to impose rigid rules or ideals on the world. He emphasized the importance of letting go of attachments, desires, and the pursuit of external goals in order to find inner peace and contentment.

Zhuangzi also emphasized the relativity of human perspectives and the limitations of language in capturing the true nature of reality. He used stories and anecdotes to challenge conventional thinking and encourage his readers to question their own assumptions and preconceived notions.

Overall, Zhuangzi’s philosophy is characterized by a sense of wonder, playfulness, and a deep reverence for nature. His writings continue to be studied and appreciated for their insights into the nature of existence, the pursuit of wisdom, and the art of living a meaningful life.

Zhuangzi Quotes

1. “Birth is not the beginning, Death is not the end.”
— Zhuangzi

2. “Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free.”
— Zhuangzi

3. “A frog in a well cannot conceive of the ocean.”
— Zhuangzi

4. “Do not struggle. Go with the flow of things, and you will find yourself at one with the mysterious unity of the Universe.”
— Zhuangzi

5. “Life is finite, While knowledge is infinite.”
— Zhuangzi

6. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

7. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

8. “The right way to go easy is to forget the right way…”
— Zhuangzi

9. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

10. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

11. “The perfect man uses his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing. It regrets nothing. It receives but does not keep.”
— Zhuangzi

12. “A path is made by walking on it.”
— Zhuangzi

13. “Am I a human dreaming I am a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming I am a human?”
— Zhuangzi

14. “Those who realise their folly are not true fools.”
— Zhuangzi

15. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

16. “Life comes from the earth and life returns to the earth.”
— Zhuangzi

17. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

18. “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?”
— Zhuangzi

19. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

20. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

21. “When people do not ignore what they should ignore, but ignore what they should not ignore, this is known as ignorance.”
— Zhuangzi

22. “Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!”
— Zhuangzi

23. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

24. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

25. “Rewards and punishments are the lowest form of education.”
— Zhuangzi

26. “Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course.”
— Zhuangzi

27. “The sound of water says what I think.”
— Zhuangzi

28. “Perfect happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.”
— Zhuangzi

29. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

30. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

31. “Silence, and non action are the root of all things.”
— Zhuangzi

32. “Breathing control gives man strength, vitality, inspiration, and magic powers.”
— Zhuangzi

33. “For we can only know that we know nothing, and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
— Zhuangzi

34. “My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it.”
— Zhuangzi

35. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

36. “You will always find an answer in the sound of water.”
— Zhuangzi

37. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

38. “We are born from a quiet sleep, and we die to a calm awakening.”
— Zhuangzi

39. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

40. “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind.”
— Zhuangzi

41. “Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.”
— Zhuangzi

42. “The ultimate happiness is doing nothing.”
— Zhuangzi

43. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

44. “He who regards all things as one is a companion of Nature.”
— Zhuangzi

45. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

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

47. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

48. “Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?”
— Zhuangzi

49. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

50. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

51. “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?”
— Zhuangzi

52. “Great understanding is broad and unhurried; little understanding is cramped and busy.”
— Zhuangzi

53. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

54. “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?”
— Zhuangzi

55. “Understanding that rests in what it does not understand is the finest.”
— Zhuangzi

56. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

57. “Your preciousness lies in your essence; it cannot be lost by anything that happens.”
— Zhuangzi

58. “The perfect man of old looked after himself first before looking to help others.”
— Zhuangzi

59. “When deeds and words are in accord, the whole world is transformed.”
— Zhuangzi

60. “The eyes envy the mind.”
— Zhuangzi

61. “Each one’s destiny cannot be altered.”
— Zhuangzi

62. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

63. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

64. “Let everything be allowed to do what it naturally does, so that its nature will be satisfied.”
— Zhuangzi

65. “All the fish needs is to get lost in the water. All man needs is to get lost in Tao.”
— Zhuangzi

66. “The little child learns to speak, though it has no learned teachers – because it lives with those who know how to speak.”
— Zhuangzi

67. “Never admire a man by his strength; judge him in how he uses it- A way is made by walking it.”
— Zhuangzi

68. “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?”
— Zhuangzi

69. “Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it.”
— Zhuangzi

70. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

71. “The torch of doubt and chaos, this is what the sage steers by.”
— Zhuangzi

72. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

73. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

74. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

75. “Verily God does not reward man for what he does, but for what he is.”
— Zhuangzi

76. “All men know the utility of useful things; but they do not know the utility of futility.”
— Zhuangzi

77. “He who knows he is a fool is not the biggest fool; He who knows he is confused is not in the worst confusion.”
— Zhuangzi

78. “I am going to try speaking some reckless words, and I want you to try to listen recklessly.”
— Zhuangzi

79. “To be truly ignorant, be content with your own knowledge.”
— Zhuangzi

80. “When affirmation and negation came into being, Tao faded. After Tao faded, then came one-sided attachments.”
— Zhuangzi

81. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

82. “Listening stops with the ears, the mind stops with recognition, but spirit is empty and waits on all things.”
— Zhuangzi

83. “Why don’t you try wandering with me to the Palace of Not-Even-Anything.”
— Zhuangzi

84. “A sage steers by the bright light of confusion and doubt.”
— Zhuangzi

85. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

86. “Sound intelligence promises victory in every battle.”
— Zhuangzi

87. “Luck implies an absolute absence of any principle.”
— Zhuangzi

88. “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!”
— Zhuangzi

89. “Great knowledge sees all in one. Small knowledge breaks down into the many.”
— Zhuangzi

90. “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?”
— Zhuangzi

91. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

92. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

93. “The Way is to man as rivers and lakes are to fish, the natural condition of life.”
— Zhuangzi

94. “Running around accusing others is not as good as laughing. And enjoying a good laugh is not as good as going along with things.”
— Zhuangzi

95. “The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror.”
— Zhuangzi

96. “Words are for meaning: when you’ve got the meaning, you can forget the words.”
— Zhuangzi

97. “If the Way is made clear, it is not the Way.”
— Zhuangzi

98. “The space under the sky is occupied by all things in their unity.”
— Zhuangzi

99. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

100. “I know the joy of fishes in the river through my own joy, as I go walking along the same river.”
— Zhuangzi

101. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

102. “He who pursues fame at the risk of losing his self is not a scholar.”
— Zhuangzi

103. “He who knows the activities of Nature lives according to Nature.”
— Zhuangzi

104. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

105. “The man who has some respect for his person keeps his carcass out of sight, hides himself as perfectly as he can.”
— Zhuangzi

106. “The men of old breathed clear down to their heels.”
— Zhuangzi

107. “A man who knows he is a fool is not a great fool.”
— Zhuangzi

108. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

109. “A petty thief is put in jail. A great brigand becomes a ruler of a Nation.”
— Zhuangzi

110. “You can’t discuss the ocean with a well frog – he’s limited by the space he lives in. You can’t discuss ice with a summer insect – he’s bound to a single season.”
— Zhuangzi

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

112. “Tao is the source of both fullness and emptiness. But it is itself neither fullness nor emptiness.”
— Zhuangzi

113. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

114. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

115. “Heaven is like an egg, and the earth is like the yolk of the egg.”
— Zhuangzi

116. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

117. “That knowledge which stops at what it does not know, is the highest knowledge.”
— Zhuangzi

118. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

119. “The enlightened attention rejects nothing nor welcomes anything-like a mirror it responds equally to all.”
— Zhuangzi

120. “Cherish that which is in you and shut out that which is without, for much knowledge is a curse.”
— Zhuangzi

121. “The World is Large – Its beauty indescrible.”
— Zhuangzi

122. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

123. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

124. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

125. “Heaven does without doing through its purity, Earth does without doing through its calmness.”
— Zhuangzi

126. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

127. “Transmit the established facts; do not transmit words of exaggeration. If you do that, you will probably come out all right.”
— Zhuangzi

128. “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?”
— Zhuangzi

129. “To examine oneself makes good use of sight.”
— Zhuangzi

130. “Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly…”
— Zhuangzi

131. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

132. “To have a human form is a joyful thing.”
— Zhuangzi

133. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

134. “The petty thief is imprisoned but the big thief becomes a feudal lord.”
— Zhuangzi

135. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

136. “Your life has a limit, but knowledge has none. If you use what is limited to pursue what has no limit, you will be in danger.”
— Zhuangzi

137. “Great knowledge is universal. Small knowledge is limited. Great words are inspiring; small words are chatter.”
— Zhuangzi

138. “Take care of your body, then the rest will automatically become stronger.”
— Zhuangzi

139. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

140. “A fish-trap is for catching fish; once you’ve caught the fish, you can forget about the trap. A rabbit-snare is for catching rabbits; once you’ve caught the rabbit, you can forget about the snare. Words are for catching ideas; once you’ve caught the idea, you can forget about the words. Where can I find a person who knows how to forget about words so that I can have a few words with them?”
— Zhuangzi

141. “When the heart is right, “for” and “against” are forgotten.”
— Zhuangzi

142. “Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous.”
— Zhuangzi

143. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

144. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

145. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

146. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

147. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

148. “The whole world is incapable of judging either right or wrong. but it is certain that actionless action can judge both right and wrong.”
— Zhuangzi

149. “Good order results spontaneously when things are let alone.”
— Zhuangzi

150. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

151. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

152. “The greatest tragedy that can befall a person is the atrophy of his mind.”
— Zhuangzi

153. “A battering ram can knock down a city wall, but it cannot stop a hole. Different things have different uses.”
— Zhuangzi

154. “Either in conflict with others or in harmony with them, we go through life like a runaway horse, unable to stop.”
— Zhuangzi

155. “Forget about life, forget about worrying about right and wrong. Plunge into the unknown and the endless and find your place there!”
— Zhuangzi

156. “The creature born is the creature dying.”
— Zhuangzi

157. “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!”
— Zhuangzi

158. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

159. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

160. “He who steals a belt buckle pays with his life; he who steals a state gets to be a feudal lord.”
— Zhuangzi

161. “Only fools imagine they are already awake. How clearly they understand everything! How easily they distinguish this deception from that reality!”
— Zhuangzi

162. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

163. “The way comes about as we walk it.”
— Zhuangzi

164. “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…”
— Zhuangzi

165. “If one is true to one’s inner self, and follows its wisdom, who is without a teacher?”
— Zhuangzi

166. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

167. “You are still guided by your expectations.”
— Zhuangzi

168. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

169. “To go outside what your charge was, and to try to solve everything yourself, is dangerous.”
— Zhuangzi

170. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

171. “When Zhuangzi was about to die, his disciples expressed a desire to give him a sumptuous burial. Zhuangzi said, “I will have heaven and earth for my coffin and coffin shell, the sun and moon for my pair of jade discs, the stars and constellations for my pearls and beads, and the ten thousand things for my parting gifts. The furnishings for my funeral are already prepared – what is there to add?”
— Zhuangzi

172. “When you are identified with the One, all things will be complete to you.”
— Zhuangzi

173. “It is only when the formed learns from the unformed that there is understanding.”
— Zhuangzi

174. “The True Man of ancient times knew nothing of loving life, knew nothing of hating death. He emerged without delight; he went back in without a fuss. He came briskly, he went briskly, and that was all. He didn’t forget where he began; he didn’t try to find out where he would end. He received something and took pleasure in it; he forgot about it and handed it back again.”
— Zhuangzi

175. “The true man of the past waited upon Heaven when dealing with people and did not wait upon people when dealing with Heaven.”
— Zhuangzi

176. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

177. “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?”
— Zhuangzi

178. “Only he who has no use for the empire is fit to be entrusted with it.”
— Zhuangzi

179. “Emptiness is the fasting of the mind.”
— Zhuangzi

180. “To use a horse to show that a horse is not a horse is not as good as using a non-horse to show that a horse is not a horse…”
— Zhuangzi

181. “Are you and I perchance caught up in a dream from which we have not yet awakened?”
— Zhuangzi

182. “If you were to hide the world in the world, so that nothing could get away, this would be the final reality of the constancy of things.”
— Zhuangzi

183. “Waiting for changing opinions is like waiting for nothing.”
— Zhuangzi

184. “When you’re betting for tiles in an archery contest, you shoot with skill. When you’re betting for fancy belt buckles, you worry about your aim. And when you’re betting for real gold, you’re a nervous wreck. Your skill is the same in all three cases – but because one prize means more to you than another, you let outside considerations weigh on your mind. He who looks too hard at the outside gets clumsy on the inside.”
— Zhuangzi

185. “Don’t go in and hide; don’t come out and shine; stand stock-still in the middle.”
— Zhuangzi

186. “The Perfect Man uses his mind like a mirror – going after nothing, welcoming nothing, responding but not storing.”
— Zhuangzi

187. “To use a finger as a metaphor for the nonfingerness of a finger is not as good as using nonfingerness as a metaphor for the nonfingerness of a finger.”
— Zhuangzi

188. “You forget your feet when the shoes are comfortable. You forget your waist when the belt is comfortable. Understanding forgets right and wrong when the mind is comfortable. There is no change in what is inside, no following what is outside, when the adjustment to events is comfortable. You begin with what is comfortable and never experience what is uncomfortable when you know the comfort of forgetting what is comfortable.”
— Zhuangzi

189. “If right were ultimately right, its differentiation from not-right would require no debate.”
— Zhuangzi

190. “I obtained life because the time was right. I will lose life because it is time. Those who go quietly with the flow of nature are not worried by either joy or sorrow. People like these were considered in the past as having achieved freedom from bondage. Those who cannot free themselves are constrained by things.”
— Zhuangzi

191. “The true man breathes with his heels.”
— Zhuangzi

192. “The sage is still not because he takes stillness to be good and therefore is still. The ten thousand things are insufficient to distract his mind – that is the reason he is still.”
— Zhuangzi

193. “Things joined by profit, when pressed by misfortune and danger, will cast each other aside.”
— Zhuangzi

194. “I’ve heard my teacher say, where there are machines, there are bound to be machine worries; where there are machine worries, there are bound to be machine hearts. With a machine heart in your breast, you’ve spoiled what was pure and simple; and without the pure and simple, the life of the spirit knows no rest.”
— Zhuangzi

195. “In all affairs, whether large or small, there are few men who reach a happy conclusion except through the Way. If you do not succeed, you are bound to suffer from the judgment of men. If you do succeed, you are bound to suffer from the yin and yang. To suffer no harm whether or not you succeed – only the man who has virtue can do that.”
— Zhuangzi

196. “You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless.”
— Zhuangzi

197. “When a man does not dwell in self, then things will of themselves reveal their forms to him. His movement is like that of water, his stillness like that of a mirror, his responses like those of an echo.”
— Zhuangzi

198. “We can’t expect a blind man to appreciate beautiful patterns or a deaf man to listen to bells and drums. And blindness and deafness are not confined to the body alone – the understanding has them, too.”
— Zhuangzi

199. “Don’t you know about the praying mantis that waved its arms angrily in front of an approaching carriage, unaware that they were incapable of stopping it? Such was the high opinion it had of its talents.”
— Zhuangzi

200. “Men of this world all rejoice in others being like themselves, and object to others not being like themselves.”
— Zhuangzi

201. “So it is said, for him who understands Heavenly joy, life is the working of Heaven; death is the transformation of things. In stillness, he and the yin share a single Virtue; in motion, he and the yang share a single flow.”
— Zhuangzi

202. “It is widely recognized that the courageous spirit of a single man can inspire to victory an army of thousands. If one concerned with ordinary gain can create such an effect, how much more will be produced by one who for greater things cares!”
— Zhuangzi

203. “Suppose I try saying something. What way do I have of knowing that if I say I know something I don’t really not know it? Or what way do I have of knowing that if I say I don’t know something I don’t really in fact know it?”
— Zhuangzi

204. “All men know the use of the useful, but nobody knows the use of the useless!”
— Zhuangzi

205. “How do I know that the dead don’t regret the way they used to cling to life?”
— Zhuangzi

206. “The man who has forgotten self may be said to have entered Heaven.”
— Zhuangzi

207. “A good completion takes a long time; a bad completion cannot be changed later.”
— Zhuangzi

208. “But a gentleman may embrace a doctrine without necessarily wearing the garb that goes with it, and he may wear the garb without necessarily comprehending the doctrine.”
— Zhuangzi

209. “When once we have received the bodily form complete, its parts do not fail to perform their functions till the end comes. In conflict with things or in harmony with them, they pursue their course to the end, with the speed of a galloping horse which cannot be stopped; – is it not sad? To be constantly toiling all one’s lifetime, without seeing the fruit of one’s labour, and to be weary and worn out with his labour, without knowing where he is going to: – is it not a deplorable case?”
— Zhuangzi

210. “People who excuse their faults and claim they didn’t deserved to be punished – there are lots of them. But those who don’t excuse their faults and admit they didn’t deserve to be spared – they are few.”
— Zhuangzi

211. “In the midst of darkness, he alone sees the dawn; in the midst of the soundless, he alone hears harmony.”
— Zhuangzi

212. “You should find the same joy in one condition as in the other and thereby be free of care, that is all. But now, when the things that happened along take their leave, you cease to be joyful. From this point of view, though you have joy, it will always be fated for destruction.”
— Zhuangzi

213. “Moreover, I have heard that those who are fond of praising men to their faces are also fond of damning them behind their backs.”
— Zhuangzi

214. “All attempts to create something admirable are the weapons of evil. You may think you are practising benevolence and righteousness, but in effect you will be creating a kind of artificiality. Where a model exists, copies will be made of it; where success has been gained, boasting follows; where debate exists, there will be outbreaks of hostility.”
— Zhuangzi

215. “In the world everyone knows enough to pursue what he does not know, but no one knows enough to pursue what he already knows. Everyone knows enough to condemn what he takes to be no good, but no one knows enough to condemn what he has already taken to be good.”
— Zhuangzi

216. “Not to understand is profound; to understand is shallow. Not to understand is to be on the inside; to understand is to be on the outside.”
— Zhuangzi

217. “If you’d called me an ox, I’d have said I was an ox; if you’d called me a horse, I’d have said I was a horse. If the reality is there and you refuse to accept the name men give it, you’ll only lay yourself open to double harassment.”
— Zhuangzi

218. “Can you be a little baby? The baby howls all day, yet its throat never gets hoarse – harmony at its height! The baby makes fists all day, yet its fingers never get cramped – virtue is all it holds to. The baby stares all day without blinking its eyes – it has no preferences in the world of externals.”
— Zhuangzi

219. “Those who count things are not worthy of assisting the people.”
— Zhuangzi

220. “Eyes that are blind have no way to tell the loveliness of faces and features; eyes with no pupils have no way to tell the beauty of colored and embroidered silks.”
— Zhuangzi

221. “Now you, Sir, have a large tree, and you don’t know how to use it, so why not plant it in the middle of nowhere, where you can go to wander or fall asleep under its shade? No axe under Heaven will attack it, nor shorten its days, for something which is useless will never be disturbed.”
— Zhuangzi

222. “Do not use life to give life to death. Do not use death to bring death to life.”
— Zhuangzi

223. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

224. “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.”
— Zhuangzi

225. “When I speak of good hearing, I do not mean listening to others; I mean simply listening to yourself. When I speak of good eyesight, I do not mean looking at others; I mean simply looking at yourself. He who does not look at himself but looks at others, who does not get hold of himself but gets hold of others, is getting what other men have got and failing to get what he himself has got. He finds joy in what brings joy to other men, but finds no joy in what would bring joy to himself.”
— Zhuangzi

226. “When men do not forget what can be forgotten but forget what cannot be forgotten – that may be called true forgetting.”
— Zhuangzi

227. “Thus, the Sage uses various rights and wrongs to harmonize with others and yet remains at rest in the middle of Heaven the Potter’s Wheel.”
— Zhuangzi

228. “To forget the whole world is easy; to make the whole world forget you is hard.”
— Zhuangzi

229. “Men all pay homage to what understanding understands, but no one understands enough to rely upon what understanding does not understand and thereby come to understand.”
— Zhuangzi

230. “With all the confusion in the world these days, no matter how often I point the way, what good does it do? And if I know it does no good and still make myself do it, this too is a kind of confusion. So it is best to leave things alone and not force them. If I don’t force things, at least I won’t cause anyone any worry.”
— Zhuangzi

231. “The Spirit Tower has its guardian, but unless it understands who its guardian is, it cannot be guarded.”
— Zhuangzi

232. “A man like this will not go where he has no will to go, will not do what he has no mind to do. Though the world might praise him and say he had really found something, he would look unconcerned and never turn his head; though the world might condemn him and say he had lost something, he would look serene and pay no heed. The praise and blame of the world are no loss or gain to him.”
— Zhuangzi

233. “He who has mastered the true nature of life does not labor over what life cannot do. He who has mastered the true nature of fate does not labor over what knowledge cannot change.”
— Zhuangzi

234. “I have heard that he who knows what is enough will not let himself be entangled by thoughts of gain; that he who really understands how to find satisfaction will not be afraid of other kinds of loss; and that he who practices the cultivation of what is within him will not be ashamed because he holds no position in society.”
— Zhuangzi

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