Cover image for The way of Chuang-Tzŭ
The way of Chuang-Tzŭ
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New Directions, 1969.

Physical Description:
159 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
General Note:
Free renderings of selections from the works of Chuang-tzŭ, taken from various translations.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL1900.C483 M4C Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Chuang Tzu, who wrote in the fourth and third centuries B.C., is thechief authentic historical spokesman for Taoism and its founder Lao Tzu(a legendary character known largely through Chuang Tzu's writings).Indeed it was because of Chuang Tzu and the other Taoist sages thatIndian Buddhism was transformed, in China, into the unique vehicle wenow call by its Japanese name -- Zen. The Chinese sage abounds in wit,paradox, satire, and shattering insight into the true ground of being.Father Merton, no stranger to Asian thought, brings a vivid, modernidiom to the timeless wisdom of Tao. Illustrated with early Chinesedrawings.

Author Notes

Born in France, Thomas Merton was the son of an American artist and poet and her New Zealander husband, a painter. Merton lost both parents before he had finished high school, and his younger brother was killed in World War II. Something of the ephemeral character of human endeavor marked all his works, deepening the pathos of his writings and drawing him close to Eastern, especially Buddhist, forms of monasticism.

After an initial education in the United States, France, and England, he completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University. His parents, nominally friends, had given him little religious guidance, and in 1938, he converted to Roman Catholicism. The following year he received an M.A. from Columbia University and in 1941, he entered Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, where he remained until a short time before his death.

His working life was spent as a Trappist monk. At Gethsemani, he wrote his famous autobiography, "The Seven Storey Mountain" (1948); there he labored and prayed through the days and years of a constant regimen that began with daily prayer at 2:00 a.m. As his contemplative life developed, he still maintained contact with the outside world, his many books and articles increasing steadily as the years went by. Reading them, it is hard to think of him as only a "guilty bystander," to use the title of one of his many collections of essays. He was vehement in his opposition to the Vietnam War, to the nuclear arms race, to racial oppression.

Having received permission to leave his monastery, he went on a journey to confer with mystics of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He was accidentally electrocuted in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

A Note to the Readerp. 9
The Way of Chuang Tzu
1. A Study of Chuang Tzup. 13
2. Readings from Chuang Tzup. 33
The Useless Treep. 35
A Hat Salesman and a Capable Rulerp. 37
The Breath of Naturep. 38
Great Knowledgep. 40
The Pivotp. 42
Three in the Morningp. 44
Cutting Up an Oxp. 45
The Man With One Foot and the Marsh Pheasantp. 48
The Fasting of the Heartp. 50
Three Friendsp. 54
Lao Tzu's Wakep. 56
Confucius and the Madmanp. 58
The True Manp. 60
Metamorphosisp. 62
Man Is Born in Taop. 65
Two Kings and No-Formp. 66
Cracking the Safep. 67
Leaving Things Alonep. 70
The Kingly Manp. 72
How Deep Is Tao!p. 73
The Lost Pearlp. 74
In My End Is My Beginningp. 75
When Life Was Full There Was No Historyp. 76
When a Hideous Man ...p. 77
The Five Enemiesp. 78
Action and Non-Actionp. 80
Duke Hwan and the Wheelwrightp. 82
Autumn Floodsp. 84
Great and Smallp. 87
The Man of Taop. 91
The Turtlep. 93
Owl and Phoenixp. 95
The Joy of Fishesp. 97
Perfect Joyp. 99
Symphony for a Sea Birdp. 103
Wholenessp. 105
The Need to Winp. 107
The Sacrificial Swinep. 108
The Fighting Cockp. 109
The Woodcarverp. 110
When the Shoe Fitsp. 112
The Empty Boatp. 114
The Flight of Lin Huip. 116
When Knowledge Went Northp. 118
The Importance of Being Toothlessp. 121
Where Is Tao?p. 123
Starlight and Non-Beingp. 125
Keng Sang Chup. 126
Keng's Disciplep. 128
The Tower of the Spiritp. 134
The Inner Lawp. 136
Apologiesp. 138
Advising the Princep. 139
Active Lifep. 141
Monkey Mountainp. 143
Good Fortunep. 144
Flight From Benevolencep. 147
Taop. 150
The Uselessp. 153
Means and Endsp. 154
Flight From the Shadowp. 155
Chuang Tzu's Funeralp. 156
Glossaryp. 157
Bibliographyp. 158
Notesp. 159