the soul departing, gone no one knows where: suddenly, no one knows whither, as all things go in turn, never to come back again;—herein lay the Tao of the ancients.
Chuang Tzŭ became an enthusiastic follower of Tao. In strange terms, in bold words, in far-reaching language, he gave free play to his thoughts, without following any particular school or committing himself to any particular line.
He looked on the world as so sunk in corruption that it was impossible to speak gravely. Therefore he employed "goblet words" which apply in various directions; he based his statements upon weighty authority in order to inspire confidence; and he put words in other people's mouths in order to secure breadth.
- See ch. xxvii ad init.
In accord with the spirit of the universe, he was at peace with all creation. He judged not the rights and wrongs of mankind, and thus lived quietly in his generation. Although his book is an extraordinary production, it is plausible and harmless enough. Although the style is most irregular, it is at the same time ingenious and attractive.
As a thinker, he is endlessly suggestive. Above, he roams with God. Below, he consorts with those who are beyond the pale of life and death, who deny a beginning and an end. In relation to the root,
- The origin of all things.
he speaks on a grand and extensive scale. In relation to Tao, he establishes a harmony between man