Friday, January 15, 2010

A Part of This and a Part of That

There is nothing which is not this; there is nothing which is not that. . . Hence I say this emanates from that; that also derives from this. This is the theory of the interdependence of this and that.

Nevertheless life arises from death, and vice versa. Possibility arises from impossibility, and vice versa. Affirmation is based upon denial and vice versa. Which being the case, the true sage rejects all distinctions [and dualisms] and takes his refuge in Heaven. For one may base it on this, yet this is also that and that is also this. This also has its “right” and “wrong,” and that also has its “right” and wrong.” Does then the distinction between this and that really exist or not? When this (Subjective) and that (objective) are both without their correlates that is the very “Axis of Tao.” And when that Axis passes through the center at which all Infinities converge, affirmations and denials alike blend into the infinite one.

Chuang Tzu, also known as Zhuangzi, was a Chinese philosopher in the 4th century BCE. Chuang Tzu’s basic philosophy was that life was limited, but the amount of things to know is unlimited. His thoughts laid the foundation for relativism. He is considered the first anarchist. He said the world does not need governing. In fact, it should not be governed. Good order results spontaneously when things are left alone. Chuang Tzu was the first to work out the idea of spontaneous order. Chuang Tzu thought in terms of transformation. He never used the word consciousness, but he wrote about it in terms that the world is now beginning to understand. His butterfly dream and his philosophy were very influential in the development of Chinese Buddhism, especially Zen.


The Rambling Taoist said...

I am now reading Chuang Tzu in various formats. I just finished Zhuangzi Speaks and I'm also reading a commentary by Osho as well as a translation by Martin Palmer.

While I agree that Chuang Tzu's philosophy on life and the world was/is revolutionary, in a sense, we have no way of knowing if he lived that philosophy himself. He may have been able to see it, but not able to employ it or, maybe, he was able to do both. We just don't know.

Hal said...

Yes, I understand. We might just say he was aware of it and made choices from that awareness.
I appreciate your comment.