Mencius regards Lao Tzŭ as a heresiarch, while Chuang Tzŭ often treats Confucius with contempt and ridicule. For "the Way that is walked upon is not the Way," and "the Tao which shines forth is not Tao" (p. 25). But Confucianism being "established," the Taoists are now "dissenters," and not being strong enough to disestablish Confucianism become more and more mystical, and content themselves with a policy of protest.
If there is little direct evidence for this theory as to the relations of Taoism and Confucianism, there is a curious parallel in Western thought. When Plato was known only in a neo-Platonic disguise, and Aristotle judged by the Organon, it was possible for partisans to represent the two philosophers as typical opposites, and to assume that "every one is born a Platonist or an Aristotelian," forgetting that Aristotle was Plato's pupil, and both were followers of Socrates. Later on, when Aristotelianism became "established" as the Christian philosophy, Platonism, which survived in the more mystical schoolmen, fell under suspicion, and not unfrequently justified the suspicion by developing in the direction of Pantheism. It was not till the thirteenth century that the world appealed from Platonists and Aristotelians to Plato and Aristotle, and discovered that the divergent streams flowed from neighbouring springs. Such an appeal, it is to be feared, is hardly possible in the case of Lao Tzŭ and Confucius, especially as the authenticity of the Tao-Tê-Ching is still in controversy among Sinologues.
My object, however, in this note, which has grown out of all proportion, was not to suggest a theory as to the possible relations of Lao Tzŭ and Confucius, but to point out what seemed to be a remarkable parallel between the teaching of Chuang Tzŭ and Heracleitus. In doing this I have accepted Mr. Giles's translation as an ultimate fact, for the simple reason that I do not know a single Chinese character. So far, therefore, as the translation prejudices or prejudges questions of Chinese scholarship, I must leave the defence to the translator. It is also possible, and more than possible, that my Western preconceptions may have biassed my judgment of Chuang Tzŭ's philosophical teaching. Recent attempts to draw a parallel between the life of Gautama and the life of
- E.g. Mr. Edwin Arnold's Light of Asia, and still more Professor Seydel's Das Evangelium von Jesu in seinen Verhältnissen zu Buddha-Sage und Buddha-Lehre. On the other side of the question, cf. Dr. Kellogg's The Light of Asia and the Light of the World. London, 1885. And an article in the Nineteenth Century for July, 1888, on Buddhism, by the Bishop of Colombo.