Portrait of Chinese Daoist Zhuangzi.


(c. 369 BC - 286 BC)

Along with Laozi and Liezi, Zhuangzi is considered one of the three founders of Daoism. He once wrote, “Birth cannot be avoided, nor death be prevented. How ridiculous! To see the people of this generation who believe that simply caring for the body will preserve life…Why does the world continue to do this? It may be worthless, but nevertheless…we are unable to avoid it.” About his own death, Zhuangzi requested that his body be left to nature, prompting his disciples to caution that birds might pick at him; he replied, “Above the ground it’s the crows and the kites who will eat me; below the ground it’s the worms and the ants. What prejudice is this, that you wish to take from the one to give to the other?” He is also said to have influenced Chinese Buddhism and landscape painting.

All Writing

Good fortune is light as a feather, but nobody knows how to hold it up. Misfortune is heavy as the earth, but nobody knows how to stay out of its way.

—Zhuangzi, c. 300 BC

Rewards and punishment are the lowest form of education.

—Zhuangzi, c. 286 BC

Voices In Time

c. 335 BC | Henan

Skilled Labor

A Chinese butcher masters his craft.More

Voices In Time

c. 335 BC | Meng

Circle of Life

“Trying to feed a bird on what you eat rather than what a bird needs.”More

I look for the end of the future, but it never ceases to arrive. 

—Zhuangzi, c. 325 BC

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