CHUANG TZŬ belongs to the third and fourth centuries before Christ. He lived in the feudal age, when China was split up into a number of States owning a nominal allegiance to the royal, and weakly, House of Chou.
He is noticed by the historian Ssŭ-ma Ch'ien, who flourished at the close of the second century B.C., as follows:—
Chuang Tzŭ was a native of Mêng. His personal name was Chou. He held a petty official post at Ch'i-yüan in Mêng. He lived contemporaneously with Prince Hui of the Liang State and Prince Hsüan of the Ch'i State. His erudition was most varied; but his chief doctrines are based upon the sayings of Lao Tzŭ. Consequently, his writings, which extend to over 100,000 words, are mostly allegorical.
- Pronounce Chwongdza.
- In the modern province of An-hui.
- Hence he is often spoken of in the book language as "Ch'i-yüan."
- Pronounce Lowdza. The low as in allow. See p. vii.
- Of an imaginative character, in keeping with the visionary teachings of his master.