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Teachings on Tao by Chuang-tzu


Teachings on Tao is a collection of quotes from the book Chuang-tzu, a valuable resource on Taoism by Taoist Master with the same name. Should you know more about Master Chuang-tzu, the famous disciple of Lao-tzu, please click here.

Teachings on Tao coverTeachings on Tao... comments upon the quotes and explain them to the Western reader in plain words. Thus the entire work may be taken as an initiation handbook that leads one to the very core of Tao and Taoism.

There's also a large introductory paper explaining what is Tao and the concepts related to it. The introductory essay is by Jhian Yang and addresses beginners, that is, people without any prior knowledge of Tao and Taoism.

Below are several abstracts from the ebook. The original text is printed in bold characters. You may order this ebook through PayPal by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.


Everybody talks and raises couples of opposites;
I would like to hear a speech that doesn't raise such opposites.
If there is a beginning of he world,
Proves the existence of time before this beginning
And of another time before this.

Entity presumes both nonentity
And time before nothingness.
There is nothing more stupendous under the sky
Than the top of an autumnal ear,
And the highest mountain
Is nothing compared to the starry sky.
Nothing lasts longer than a child
dead prematurely.*


People engage themselves in discussions based on preset assumptions. They perceive things in a formal manner without getting any trouble with what is here and now. Nevertheless, there is nothing more stupendous than the top of an autumnal ear, and the child dead prematurely is the oldest.*

* A version of this observation is found in Thomas' Gospel. It is said there about the wisdom of the old who consults the newborn in regard of Life. Thus, he gets the spontaneous knowledge that represents the seal of veritable spirituality. (Or, sometimes a little child knows more about life than a much older sage).

An analysis of this verse from Thomas' Gospel, which considers the LIFE (that is the eternal/spiritual living), reveals another meaning: Life/spiritual experience in Christianity is not a matter of age and accumulation of worldly experience. Therefore, in this view, an old man is not more advanced than a child, on the contrary.


Tao that shows itself is not Tao.*
The eloquent words miss their target.
The constant goodwill misses its aim.
The selflessness praising with its purity is not authentic.
The most willful courage is not the effective courage.
These five items seem complete, but tend to become irrefutable.**
This is why the knowledge that stops when it knows no more is the true knowledge.


* Tao can not be seen as it is not an object of sensorial perception. At human level, if we want to prove a personal ability (Tao = quality, ability, skill) we fail.

The incompleteness of something is due to the fact that it becomes itself irrefutable. In an ever changing universe things and their meaning does not last unchanged. True knowledge is not going blindly on what you do, affirm or claim.


How could I know if the love of life is not an illusion, and the fear of death is not as in the case of a young man that thinks himself lost, when he walks in fact on the right track? Li Ki was the daughter of the Ai's border Guardian. When the sovereign of the land wived with her, she cried to wet her dress. Yet, when she entered the king's palace, sat on the luxurious royal bed and ate the best food, she regretted her cry. How could I know if a dead man is not also in a position to regret the time when he hung on to life?


This abstract proves how wrong is to let yourself led by preconceptions, prejudices and anything that is not relating to the actual, immediate event. At first sight, marriage seemed a catastrophe to Li Ki. And for such thinking, she suffered due to a preset idea. Yet, the marriage proved to be an accomplishment rather than a catastrophe. Same for the death: it seems to be a catastrophe, but where have we learnt from that to live is a wonderful thing? We, obviously, deal here with a criticism of formal thinking.


Teachings on Tao by Chuang-tzu


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