Tag Archives: Chuang-Tzu

Food for the Turtles

The Mystic by Tania Marie

The Turtle

Zhuangzi was once fishing beside the Pu River when two emissaries brought him a message from the King of Chu: “The king would like to trouble you with the control of all his realm.” Zhuangzi, holding fast to his fishing pole, without so much as turning his head, said, “I have heard there is a sacred turtle in Chu, already dead for three thousand years, which the king keeps in a bamboo chest high in his shrine. Do you think this turtle would prefer to be dead and having his carcass exalted or alive and dragging his backside through the mud?” The emissaries said, “Alive and dragging his backside through the mud.” Zhuangzi said, “Get out of here! I too will drag my backside through the mud!” (Translation, Brook Ziporyn: Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings, With Selections from Traditional Commentaries) read more

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And Butterflies are Free to Fly…

I Dreamed I Was A Butterfly by Alice McMahon White

Chuang Tzu’s Taoism is perhaps the most profound in the Taoist Treasury; although he would be the first to state that his positionless-teaching was no form of “ism”, but rather simply that which radiated a “boundless vitality” that is the very heart of the imageless-Tao. From the onset of this series one needs to be aware that the Unborn is synonymous with the Tao and henceforth will be used to convey That which is Imageless and Unbound. As a man of the Unborn he lived unabatedly in the Dharmadhatu—the Pure Light Realm of Deathless Suchness, As It Is, with no obstructions of the born and created, or as the Chuang Tzuian spirit would say, “Or is not Is, when Is is-not”, just to provide a pliable-variable bearing no-fixed position. In all that he was about it was not “he” that acted, but rather the spontaneous breath of the Unborn Spirit. As the late sinologist Angus Graham wrote, “Zhuang Zhou distrusted official rules, standardized categories, established opposites, and the dictates of language, instead inspiring people to see things from different perspectives, illuminating the flow of cosmic spontaneity, and allowing heaven to work through him in all his thoughts and actions (Graham 1989, 191).” How, then, is a man of the Unborn to act in the world? Not through any pre-ordained impetus, but through the actionless (Wu-Wei) spontaneity that is never independent of the Unborn Itself. Perhaps a good way of illustrating this is through one of the most familiar anecdotes in the Zhuangzi (this italicization will be used when the “text” is indicated, as opposed to the person), Chuang Tzu and the Butterfly: read more

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Dark Ch’an

As a further sign that Tsung-mi was not totally entrenched in the evaluation of letters and words and their import for the Buddhadharma, Chapt. 8 of the Chan Prolegomenon assures the assiduous Mind-adept that the Total assessment of the Buddhadharma—the great “wordless teaching”—rests in what Broughton identifies as Tsung-mi’s “dark understanding”. The one who is adroit in Unborn Mind Zen recognizes this as Dark Ch’an, which entails forgetting about the exclusive reliance on words by “turning-about” from all images (forms, sensations, thought-material, analyzations, all Eight-Layers of the Body Consciousness) and remaining prior to the created-order of thingness and intuitively resting in Suchness THAT innately and spontaneously acts under all circumstances. In Essence it’s all about resting in the Tao (Unborn) and no-thing else—thus it’s darkness to ordinary modes of perception and a Luminous Actuosity for the awakened Spirit-Mind.  Scholars like Jeffrey Broughton know that in this sense Tsung-mi is speaking in “Chuang-Tzu” mode, or the Tao of the Unborn Mind. read more

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