03 July, 2011

Zhuangzi Dreamed He Was A Butterfly

Zhuangzi butterfly
Last Sunday my blog post, Is Enjoying Life A Delusion, was a quote by the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi.

Zhuangzi lived way back in the 4th Century BC. Today I thought I'd do another quote. This one is probably the most well known attributed to him and is usually called Zhuangzi Dreamed He Was A Butterfly". The following is a translation from the Chinese by Burton Watson:

"Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Zhuangzi.

Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi.

But he didn't know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi.

Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.


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4 comments:

  1. heard this before but never knew where it came from though not the last sentence

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  2. Interesting. This reminds me of Kafka's novel.

    What I always wonder is how these stories are passed down through time.

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  3. Fascinating! thank you for this, now I will be pondering more as if I don't already :)

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  4. My grandson was stillborn 1st November last year. We went to the Baby Garden where he is to do a balloon release today and as we did.. 3 white doves appeared, it was so calming and they sat and watched us right by our side today in the small bird house that s next to where he is. I am not a religious person, but do like to believe there is more once we die.. I believe that these represented my Nan and Grandad with Oliver. I hope so x

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