The Book of Zhuangzi Project


The Zhuangzi is an ancient Chinese text from the late Warring States period (3rd century BC) which contains stories and anecdotes that exemplify the carefree nature of the ideal Daoist sage. Named for its traditional author, "Master Zhuang", the Zhuangzi is one of the two foundational texts of Daoism—along with the Dao De Jing (Laozi)—and is generally considered the most important of all Daoist writings.


The Zhuangzi is composed of a large collection of anecdotes, allegories, parables, and fables, which are often humorous or irreverent in nature. Its main themes are of spontaneity in action and of freedom from the human world and its conventions. The fables and anecdotes in the text attempt to illustrate the falseness of human distinctions between good and bad, large and small, life and death, and human and nature. While other philosophers wrote of moral and personal duty, Zhuangzi promoted carefree wandering and becoming one with "the Way" (Dào 道) by following nature.