- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1 edition (30 Nov. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014045537X
- ISBN-13: 978-0140455373
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Book of Chuang Tzu Paperback – 30 Nov 2006
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About the Author
The Taoist author named Chuang-tzu is estimated to have lived in the fourth century BCE, between 399 and 255 BCE.
Martin Palmer is Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture. Currently he is working with the China Taoist Association on a project to protect the main Taoist sacred Mountains of China.
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Top Customer Reviews
This version is much easier to understand and (as far as I know) is complete. There is another book (The Way of Chuang Tzu), which has a few of these stories within it in a more easily understood format (though not directly translated). However if you want a cheap comprehensive book of Chuang Tzu's writing this is the one to get. I re-read it regularly and always find it amusing and interesting. If I lost it I would buy it again.
There is a good introducion of Chuang Tzu and the texts. It comprises a series of stories which are both insightful and amusing. Some passages must be re-read to get an understanding of the meaning (and often after reflecting on them), but this is intrinsic within the work and not an effect of the translator.
I never found the Tao Te Ching very interesting - this is like an interesting version of it in story form with which I found a much stronger association (and actually helped me to understand the Tao Te Ching better).
There are many translations of the Chuang Tzu and this one is very readable, in modern accessible english. (I think the translations of James Legge and Thomas Cleary are also worth it.)
When I first encountered the contents of the Chuang Tzu, I thought it was quite confusing, unclear, incomprehensible; it did not appeal to me. Many years later, its appeal started to dawn on me.
Personally I don't think this is a book for beginners in the spiritual path; though people interested in philosophy might very well like it. When, along the way, one is getting enough of acquiring spiritual knowledge and of developing oneself, this book may become an inconspicuous friend.
The book is not pretentious, it is in an unexpected way not complicated. But because of our mindset, our acquired (western) mental culture, we are likely to have difficulties, I believe, to understand and to accept the wisdom in this book.
I think the Chuang Tzu offers a beautiful and pure form of Taoism; it is likely to give you joy and nurture your (deeper, natural) sanity. In contrast with the Tao Te Ching it is barely focused on politics; in contrast with the Taoist tradition of inner alchemy it is barely focused on methods (of spiritual practice).
I consider the underlying visions in the Chuang Tzu to be quite universal and I think it can be a valuable help in bringing to the fore one's own universal, unpronounced, transparent humanity, simple, impartial and shining.
I conclude with a quote:
"The knowledge of people is minor, and though minor it has to trust in that
which they do not know, to know what is meant by Heaven."
The stories are interesting, (and central) but if you are looking for an introduction to Taoism or the thinking of Taoism I'd recommend you read the Tao of Pooh first (Ben Hoffman).
As I have only read this version, I cannot comment with any authority on the merits of the translation. Though Martin Palmer is a bona fide thinker in that he is not a mere academic translating a text - he is someone who has feeling for the Tao. (He has written lots of other stuff which suggests this.) Which is a good thing.
There is much wisdom in this book, but it is not preachy. Recommending a classic of literature like this is like reviewing and recommending the Bible or any other ancient text. But it is not preachy, and expects nothing of you than to read it. This is what all good books are about. Recommended!
Within the text there are some fantastic nuggets of wisdom that really speak volumes but be warned the writing style is all over the place, which is not a bad thing.
I thought that the introduction could be considerably shorter as it quoted many phrases from the actual writings but didnt really add anything to them.
A good book, and worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love reading this book! Have read it numerous times!
Master Chuang will make you laugh and then there is a moment of pause were his philosophy of life will sink in and then... Read more
Arrived in time and a great book to read and quality is goodPublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Chuang Tzu (more correctly rendered as Zhuang Zi) is perhaps the second most important figure in Daoism after (the possibly Mythic) Lao Zi. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Adrian J. Smith
An essential read for anyone interested in Taoism/Daoism or anyone looking for some answers in a hectic world. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gatscombe
Great for hippies, philosophers and people who like to meditate on words.Published 18 months ago by T. Crawford
A great read - Taoism in its literary monuments is so sublime that I doubt whether Buddhism has anything to put next to them. Certqainly this one!Published 19 months ago by Simon Seligmann
This is. Good read with many different stories on philosophy and morals which relate today.written thousands of. Years ago,some great characters in magical world of ancient China.Published on 19 July 2014 by D Hill
I chose this rating because this is a Chinese classic and it deserves no less.
I like the translation - vital for a classic of this kind. Read more