He wrote The Old Fisherman, Robber Chê, and Opening Trunks, with a view to asperse the Confucian school and to glorify the mysteries of Lao Tzŭ. Wei Lei Hsü, Kêng Sang Tzŭ, and the like, are probably unsubstantial figments of his imagination. Nevertheless, his literary and dialectic skill was such that the best scholars of the age proved unable to refute his destructive criticism of the Confucian and Mihist schools.
His teachings were like an overwhelming flood, which spreads at its own sweet will. Consequently, from rulers and ministers downwards, none could apply them to any definite use.
Prince Wei of the Ch'u State, hearing of Chuang Tzŭ's good report, sent messengers to him, bearing costly gifts, and inviting him to become Prime Minister. At this Chuang Tzŭ smiled and said to the messengers, "You offer me great wealth and a proud position indeed; but have you never seen a sacrificial ox?—When after being fattened up for several years, it is decked with embroidered trappings and led to the altar, would it not willingly then change places with some uncared-for pigling?...... Begone! Defile me not! I would rather disport myself to my own enjoyment in the
- See chs. xxxi, xxix, and x, respectively.
- The second of these personages is doubtless identical, though the name is differently written, with the Kêng Sang Ch'u of ch. xxiii. The identity of the first name has not been satisfactorily settled.
- See p. 17.
- This last clause is based upon a famous passage in the Lun Yü:—The perfect man is not a mere thing; i.e., his functions are not limited. The idea conveyed is that Chuang Tzŭ's system was too far-reaching to be practical.