Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/21

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xv
Introduction

dominated by a religious craving for something better than mortality, find in his pages much agreeable solace against the troubles of this world, with an implied promise of another and a better world to come.


It has been publicly announced that translations of Lao Tzŭ and Chuang Tzŭ are to appear among the Sacred Books of the East.[1]

Now to include the Tao-Tê-Ching in such a series would be already a doubtful step. Apart from spuriousness, it can only by a severe stretch of courtesy be termed a "sacred book." It undoubtedly contains many of Lao Tzŭ's sayings, but it also undoubtedly contains much that Lao Tzŭ never said and never could have said. It illustrates rather that period when the pure Tao of Lao Tzŭ began to be corrupted by alchemistic research and gropings after the elixir of life. It was probably written up in self-defence against the encroachments of Buddhism, in those early days of religious struggle when China was first flooded with the "sacred books" of the West. It is not seriously recognised as the Canon of ancient Taoism. Among the Taoists of to-day, not one in ten thousand has more than heard its name. For modern Taoism is but a hybrid superstition,—a mixture of ancient nature-worship and Buddhistic ceremonial, with Tao as the style of the firm. Its teachings are farther removed from the Tao of Lao Tzŭ than Ritualism from the Christianity of Christ.

As to Chuang Tzŭ, his work can in no sense be called "sacred." Unless indeed we modify somewhat the


  1. The China Review, vol. xvi, p. 195.