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Chuang Tzu quotes, Herbert Giles, Chinese Mystics

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Chuang Tzu - Taoism
Taoist mysticism quotations

  The essentials of Taoism's philosophical and mystical beliefs can be found in the Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power), a text dating from about the third century B.C.E. (i.e. Before the Common Era aligned with B.C.). These essentials were reinforced and further developed in the Chuang Tzu, another work dating from the third century B.C.E. and which is usually associated with the main authorship of Chuang Tzu.

   From the early days of Taoism as a religion there was a rivalry with Confucianism. Confucianism encouraged the individual to conform to the accepted moral standards, and duties,  of an idealised social system. Taoism, on the other hand, preferred that individuals should ignore the moralistic dictates of society and seek only to conform with eternal patterns of the universe, the Tao or Way.

   This Tao or Way cannot be "intellectually understood" much less described in words!!!

   A certain Power was held to associate itself with those who lived in accord with Tao. Individuals should rely on the impulses arising from their own essential nature and not on accepted idealised systems of morality as a guide to their behaviour.
   The source of the quotations from Taoism included on our "Central" Taoist mysticism page and our "Other" Spiritual Insights page, a translation by Herbert Giles, has been published as "The Musings of a Chinese Mystic".


  Some celebrated quotations :-

   Great truths do not take hold of the hearts of the masses. And now, as all the world is in error, how shall I, though I know the true path, how shall I guide? If I know that I cannot succeed and yet try to force success, this would be but another source of error. Better then to desist and strive no more. But if I do not strive, who will?

    A drunken man who falls out of a cart, though he may suffer, does not die. His bones are the same as other people's; but he meets his accident in a different way. His spirit is in a condition of security. He is not concious of riding in the cart; neither is he concious of falling out of it. Ideas of life, death, fear and the like cannot penetrate his breast; and so he does not suffer from contact with objective existence. If such security is to be got from wine, how much more is to be got from God?

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Chuang Tzu - Taoism