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OfflineKremlin
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Eastern Religions XI: Warring State Thinkers: Zhuangzi
    #2103895 - 11/14/03 12:17 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)



-------------------------------------------------
since i have been criticized on this already once, let me reiterate, this is only an academic perspective on the religions, meant for education. I dont imply to gain any spiritual insight by reading this.

Zhuangzi (Chang-tzu)

accredited to be the 2nd "Daoist" thinker, although remember, daoism is not an original school, it was imposed upon Laozi and Zhuangzi.

the Zhuangzi text is pretty mixed up, the important section are the "inner chapters", we are pretty sure it was done by the same person (7 inner chapters total)

He, unlike laozi, is aware that he is communicating to you with a medium that contradicts his message, so you have to read between the lines a bit more to see how hes kind of playing with you.

He is very critical of Confucius, and he even has him appear in the texts saying un-confucian things.

written around the same time as Mencius.

Criticisms
He thinks confucians and mohists were wrong because they set up value systems, and he believes these mess with our perception of reality.

Shi Fei, "right and wrong"
-values alter our perception of reality, and we get trapped in "little understanding"
-we get trapped in rigid ideas of right/wrong, and what we need/dont need
-artificial needs warp our natural tendencies
-he sees us pursuing things we dont really want/need until the ends of our lives, then we die.
-Confucians and mohists, in his eyes, are slaves to these goals.

Why cant we see this right off the bat?
-we are blinded by pride
-we think that we are better than everything else, and whatever we do is great
(his text makes fun of pride consistently)

Zhuangzi believes the essence of humans is to be prideful, to get trapped.

So what do we do?
-get rid of human essence, be a human form without human essence.

Where is the locus of this "essence"?
-the Heart/mind xin
-it is in charge of our language and discrimination
-Mencius viewed this part as most important, because it seperates us from animals
-zhuangzi agrees, but thinks it is bad to be seperated

Laozi says society is to blame, Zhuangzi says it is our natural human tendency.

Fasting the heart/mind
-Zhuangzi says we must "fast" the heart/mind in order to attain our wu-wei
-"dont listen with your ears, listen with your mind. Dont listen with your mind, listen with your qi (ch'i)"

the Ears cannot get further than the words
the Mind stops with signs (categories)
-Qi is "empty" (receptive, no form), and "the way" will appear in front of you by listening with your qi.

Zhuangzi says the world is too large and infinite for a limited language, and we will never see it for what it really is if we adhere to it


"clarity" is perceiving the world with your qi
you must empty your mind of categories
think of star wars, when luke is shooting into the death star, he doesnt use the guidance machine, he uses the force.....qi....

Loss of your socially constructed self is a theme here.
Stop trying.

there are many stories (which i wont get into here, if you are interested pm me) about this Butcher Ding, Qing, etc.

Clarity
-being able to apply right/wrong in a flexible way
-no pre-conceived ideas of right/wrong, though
-spontaneously acting (wu-wei)
-see the situation, and respond to it using qi

Wu-Wei
-SKILLFUL movement through this world is wu-wei

The Zhuangzian Sage
-one who has attained wu-wei
-"the perfect man"
-sage hides itself in heaven
-drunkedness is a literal idea of what it means to be a Zhuangzian sage ( forgetting social norms, spontaneous action )
-being in the world, but not being a part of it (paralell to John in NT)

A monkey puts its hand into a gourd to get food, but it cannot draw its hand out while grasping the food, what will happen? It will die, because it cannot re-evaluate the value of the food, its too rigid. This is how we cannot be.

Laozi is too rigid in Zhuangzi's eyes.

So, couldnt there be a "SKillful assasin?"
-all examples are always doing benign things, why not killing?
-westerners think that if social knowledge dissapeared, everyone would run around killing eachother
-Zhuangzi thinks there is a normality in spirit/qi & it will guide you to be good
-your activities may look strange to normal social guidelines, because the good in heavens eyes, not human eyes.
-Killing/Greed are products of the mind, not of heaven

Paradoxes
How do you try not to try?
-once again, a problem with wu-wei

Stop using your mind
-dont you have to use your mind to get there?

Our Essence is to be guided by our minds, if that is case, why isnt that natural?
-Be natural, but natural is different than what natural truly is...

Next up, Xunzi, then onto Ch'an Buddhism

Live, Love, learn
--Kremlin



--------------------
"Human suffering has been caused because all too many of us cannot grasp that words are only tools for our use, and that the mere presence of a word in the dictionary does not mean it necessarily refers to something definitive in the real world"
--Richard Dawkins, "The Selfish Gene"

"It is the mind which creates the world about us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours."
-George Gissing

"Without a firm idea of himself and the purpose of his life, man cannot live, and would sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if he was surrounded by bread."
--Fyodor Dostoevsky


Edited by Kremlin (11/14/03 12:29 AM)


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OfflineMixomatosis
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Re: Eastern Religions XI: Warring State Thinkers: Zhuangzi [Re: Kremlin]
    #2103935 - 11/14/03 12:23 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

what about Zhuangzi the linguist who criticized langauge/communication and stressed individuality? ---how an exterior knowledge is ultimately an inadequete for a person's philosophy?


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OfflineKremlin
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Re: Eastern Religions XI: Warring State Thinkers: Zhuangzi [Re: Mixomatosis]
    #2103951 - 11/14/03 12:27 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

From my understanding, Laozi was the one who more strongly criticized language/communication.  Not to say that the both didnt, but i just know Laozi more.

If you want to add on, feel free :smile:

--Kremlin


--------------------
"Human suffering has been caused because all too many of us cannot grasp that words are only tools for our use, and that the mere presence of a word in the dictionary does not mean it necessarily refers to something definitive in the real world"
--Richard Dawkins, "The Selfish Gene"

"It is the mind which creates the world about us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours."
-George Gissing

"Without a firm idea of himself and the purpose of his life, man cannot live, and would sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if he was surrounded by bread."
--Fyodor Dostoevsky


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OfflineMixomatosis
great ape

Registered: 10/28/03
Posts: 1,306
Loc: cipherland
Last seen: 4 years, 5 months
Re: Eastern Religions XI: Warring State Thinkers: Zhuangzi [Re: Kremlin]
    #2103990 - 11/14/03 12:38 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

i dunno, im pretty sure that most of ZhuangZi's work pertained to the flaws in human communication.


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OfflineKremlin
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Re: Eastern Religions XI: Warring State Thinkers: Zhuangzi [Re: Mixomatosis]
    #2104045 - 11/14/03 12:54 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

From the Chang Tzu:
"The pure man of old was righteous but impartial, and humble but not subservient. He was naturally independent but not obstinate...He acted as he had to. His efforts seemed to be those of the common people, but his loftiness could not be restrained. He regarded knowledge as a product of time. To regard knowledge as a product of time means to respond to events as if they had to be"

He seems to say in the texts mostly that the tao will guide learning and knowledge. Most of his works that i have available to me do not focus on communication, but rather are communicative works between masters & pupils. You cannot tell one what the tao is, they must fast the mind to realize it.

He was also against Confucian ritual, as he is an internalist. So being an internalist ( most profoundly, a naturalist ), you cannot communicate how to do something, they must realize it for themselves.

Thats my understanding, at least
--Kremlin


--------------------
"Human suffering has been caused because all too many of us cannot grasp that words are only tools for our use, and that the mere presence of a word in the dictionary does not mean it necessarily refers to something definitive in the real world"
--Richard Dawkins, "The Selfish Gene"

"It is the mind which creates the world about us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours."
-George Gissing

"Without a firm idea of himself and the purpose of his life, man cannot live, and would sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if he was surrounded by bread."
--Fyodor Dostoevsky


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