Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/13

This page has been validated.
vii
Introduction

mire than be slave to the ruler of a State. I will never take office. Thus I shall remain free to follow my own inclinations."[1]

To enable the reader to understand more fully the writings of Chuang Tzŭ, and to appreciate his aim and object, it will be necessary to go back a few more hundred years.

In the seventh century B.C., lived a man, now commonly spoken of as Lao Tzŭ. He was the great Prophet of his age. He taught men to return good for evil, and to look forward to a higher life. He professed to have found the clue to all things human and divine.

He seems to have insisted that his system could not be reduced to words. At any rate, he declared that those who spoke did not know, while those who knew did not speak.

But to accommodate himself to conditions of mortality, he called this clue TAO, or The Way, explaining that the word was to be understood metaphorically, and not in a literal sense as the way or road upon which men walk.

The following are sentences selected from the indisputably genuine remains of Lao Tzŭ, to be found scattered here and there in early Chinese literature:—

All the world knows that the goodness of doing good is not real goodness.

When merit has been achieved, do not take it to yourself. On the other hand, if you do not take it to yourself, it shall never be taken from you.

By many words wit is exhausted. It is better to preserve a mean.


  1. See. p. 434.