The Philosophy of Life

A New Reading of the Zhuangzi


Chen Guying, one of the leading scholars on Daoism in contemporary China, provides in his book The Philosophy of Life, A New Reading of the Zhuangzi a detailed analysis and a unique interpretation of Zhuangzi’s Inner, Outer and Miscellaneous chapters.
Unlike many other Chinese scholars Chen does not focus on a philological, but on a philosophical reading of the Zhuangzi highlighting the main topics of self-cultivation, aesthetics, and epistemology. Chen’s perspectives on the Zhuangzi range from the historical background of the Warring States Period to his own personal (political) experience. Since Chen is also a specialist on Nietzsche, he elaborates Zhuangzi’s philosophy of life and the idea of regulating one’s heart by drawing a parallel to Nietzsche’s perspectivism.

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Chen Guying, Master (1963), National Taiwan University. Chen is a professor at Beijing University (Beida) since 2011 for Chinese Philosophy. He has published translations, articles and monogrpahs on Daoism, especially the Laozi and Zhuangzi, as well as on Nietzsche and the Book of changes (Yijing), Main works are The tragic philosopher Nietzsche《悲剧哲学家尼采》, New arguments on Laozi and Zhuangzi《老庄新论》, Yizhuan and the thoughts of Daoism《易传与道家思想》, Daoism construction of Zhouyi Studies《道家易学建构》.

Dominique Hertzer, Ph.D. (1993, LMU Munich) and PhD (2005, University of Witten Herdecke). She lectures at LMU Munich and the Univeristy of Göttingen on Daoism and Chinese Medicine. She is also working as an TCM therapist. She has published articles, translations, and monographs on the Mawangdui Yijing, Daoism and Chinese Medicine, including the work “The Medical Notion of the Psyche as an Expression of Philosophical Thought: China and the Occident.”
Series Editors’ Foreword ix

Annotations to the Inner Chapters of Zhuangzi
Preface 3
I 逍遥游 Xiaoyaoyou—Free and Easy Wandering: Opening the Heart and the Reconsideration of Values 5
II 齐物论 Qiwulun—The Equality of Things: Making the Spirit Equal and Getting Rid of Self-Centered Patterns 16
III 养生主 Yangshengzhu—What Matters in Nurturing Life: Expounding the Life of the Spirit 36
IV 人间事 Renjianshi—Worldly Business among Men: The Tragic Mentality of the Intellectuals and Their Isolated Knowledge 40
V 德充符 Dechongfu—The Signs of the Fullness of Power: The Aesthetic Mind of the Ideal Person and the Cosmic Spirit 50
VI 大宗师 Da Zongshi—“The Teacher Who is the Ultimate Ancestor”: The State of “Heaven and Man Form a Unity” and the Concept of “Life and Death are the Same” 56
VII 应帝王 Yingdiwang—Responds to Emperors and Kings: Anarchism 70

Explanation of the Outer Chapters
Introduction 81
I 骈拇 Pianmu—Webbed Toes: Giving Free Reign to Emotions and Following One’s Natural Disposition 84
II 马蹄 Madi—Horses’ Hooves: Looking For a World of Complete Virtue 88
III 胠箧 Quqie—Cutting Open Satchels: If You Steal a Country, You Are a Lord 91
IV 在宥 Zaiyou—Letting Be and Exercising Forbearance: Setting One’s Mind at Ease and Following One’s Nature 95
V 天地 Tiandi—Heaven and Earth: Purposelessness Found the Dark Pearl 101
VI 天道 Tiandao—The Way of Heaven: The Meaning Outside the Words 110
VII 天运 Tianyun—The Rotations of Heaven: Ceremonies and Moral Standards Adapt to the Times 115
VIII 刻意 Keyi—Ingrained Ideas: The Spirit Spreads into the Four Directions 121
IX 缮性 Shanxing—Cultivating One’s Inner Nature: The Simultaneous Nourishment of Knowledge and Serenity 124
X 秋水 Qiushui—Autumn Floods: A Dialogue Between Rivers and the Sea 127
XI 至乐 Zhile—Perfect Enjoyment: Marquis of Lu is Nourishing a Bird 141
XII 达生 Dasheng—Full Understanding of Life: The Mental State of Arts 148
XIII 山木 Shanmu—The Tree on the Mountain: Observing Time and Pursuing Harmony 159
XIV 田子方 Tian Zifang—Perfect Beauty and Perfect Happiness 166
XV 知北游 Zhi Bei You—The Dao Does Not Leave the Things 173

Profound Explanation of the Miscellaneous Chapters
Preface 185
I 庚桑楚 Geng Sangchu—The Innate Nature is the Substance of Life 187
II 徐无鬼 Xu Wugui—A Person Banished to Exile Remembers His Parents 189
III 则阳 Zeyang—The Ten Thousand Things Differ In Principle, but the Dao Shows No Partiality Among Them 193
IV 外物 Wai Wu—Outer Things: Get the Idea and Forget the Words 199
V 寓言 Yuyan—Metaphorical Language: The Implications of the Three Words 203
VI 让王 Rang Wang—Abdicating the Throne: The Truth of the Dao Lies in the Regulation of the Person 206
VII 盗跖 Dao Zhi—Robber Zhi: “For the Sake of Gain They All Brought Confusion to the Truth within Them and Did Violence to Their True Form and Innate Nature” 209
VIII 说剑 Shuo Jian—Discoursing on Swords: The Feudal Lords Return to Their Former Obedience and How to Pacify the Neighbors on All Sides 211
IX 渔夫 Yu Fu—The Old Fisherman: “By Truth I Mean Purity and Sincerity in Their Highest Degrees” 212
X 列御寇 Lie Yukou—“Looking On What is Deemed Necessary as Unnecessary” 215
XI 天下 Tianxia—The World: “Inwardly a Sage and Outwardly a King” 217
Index 219
All interested in Chinese Philosophy and Daoism, especially the Zhuangzi .It is of immediate interest for Sinological institutions and academic libraries.