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Zhuangzi or Chuang-tzu (370?-301 BC), thinker in classical Chinese philosophy of central importance to Daoism (Taoism). He worked as a minor official in the state of Meng in present-day Henan province, later resigning to lead a private life. The book bearing his name is a corrupt compilation, only recently disentangled, in which Zhuangzi's work is freely mixed with that of his followers, other schools, and later commentators. Zhuangzi based his teachings on the premise that all things change and that our perception of truth is dependent on context. Therefore, one must not hold to fixed views such as conventional values. Also, to become a perfectly adjusted individual one needs to see with ming (clarity) and behave with  wu-wei (effortless action). He condemns rigid logic, which involves artificial distinctions that only obscure the dao (way) of the universe. His ideal is exemplified in his parable about Cook Ding, who with ming and wu-wei can effortlessly dismember an ox. Zhuangzi's disdain for conventional values includes an utter fearlessness before death, which he considers a natural part of life.

"Zhuangzi," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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