Chuang Tzu Quotes – Zhuangzi Butterfly Dream Quotes & Meaning

Zhuang Zhou, more commonly known as Zhuangzi, was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BC during the Warring States period. This was a period that corresponded to the peak of Chinese philosophy, which was known as the Hundred Schools of Thought. Zhuangzi’s life took place during the Warring States period.

Here is the collection of all Chuang Tzu Quotes from the way of Chuang Tzu. You can read these quotes in English, Hindi and more languages by using the translator tool above on the top left.

Zhuangzi – Chuang Tzu Butterfly Dream Quote, Meaning and Analysis

Zhuangzi Butterfly Dream

Once upon a time, I had a dream that I was a butterfly, flitting around and seeming to be a butterfly. I had no idea that I was myself; all I could think about was how happy I was to be a butterfly. I soon woke up and discovered that I was once more really myself. I’m not sure whether I’m a butterfly dreaming I’m a man right now, or if I was a man dreaming I was a butterfly back then.

Flow with whatever may happen

Meaning and analysis with full Story

There is a lovely tale that revolves around Chuang Tzu, a prominent figure in Chinese mysticism.

He seemed to be in a really sad mood as he sat on his bed one morning. His followers had never seen him in such a depressed state.

And he had never, ever sat in his bed after getting out of it after waking up. What exactly had taken place? Is he feeling poorly?

They surrounded him and questioned, “Master, what exactly is going on?”

Chuang Tzu said, “The problem is really complicated, and I am unable to find a solution to it; maybe you might be of some assistance.”

I will explain what the problem is in this sentence. During the course of the night, I dreamt that I had transformed into a butterfly and was flitting about from flower to flower.

The disciples said that there is no need for concern over this matter. When we sleep, all of us engage in weird behaviours; yet, it is not a terrible thing to imagine that you are a butterfly—bright, attractive, and flitting around from one delicious blossom to another juicy flower. Why are you getting yourself so worked up?

Chuang Tzu said, “You have not heard the whole story. The trouble is that I just woke up, and now I can’t help but wonder if Chuang Tzu had a dream that he was a butterfly, or whether the butterfly just went to sleep and is now dreaming that she is Chuang Tzu.

Both are open to consideration. If Chuang Tzu is able to imagine that he is a butterfly, then there is no reason why a butterfly cannot dream that she is Chuang Tzu.

The disciples were mute; there was no response to what was being asked. That everything is only a dream is a fundamental tenet of all world religions, and Chuang Tzu was just drawing attention to the fact that this is the case.

Both the butterfly and Chuang Tzu exist only in the realm of dreams. So, what exactly is the case? The genuine is a long way off.

And in this dream, you must ensure that you are not interrupted. It makes no difference if you are a camel, a donkey, or a monkey.

All of these examples are the same. What really counts is that you do so without holding any hatred against it in order to make it to the genuine realm of God one day.

The Way of Chuang Tzu Quotes

Zhuangzi quotes

The fish are the reason the fish trap is there. You may put the trap away after you’ve caught the fish. Because of the rabbit, there is a rabbit snare. You may put the trap away after you’ve caught the rabbit. Meaning is the reason why words exist. You may forget the words once you understand the meaning. Where can I meet a man who didn’t talk so I can talk to him?


Allow your thoughts to wander and go with whatever may occur: Accept whatever you are doing to keep your focus. This is the ultimate.

A path is made by walking on it.

You create a trail by stepping on it.

The lowest type of education is one that uses rewards and penalties.

The wise man understands that it is better to sit on the banks of a quiet mountain stream than to rule over the whole planet.

The absence of pursuing happiness is bliss.

Let serenity reign in your heart.
Watch the chaos of creatures while thinking about their eventual return.

You stutter in perplexity and grief if you don’t understand the cause.

When you are aware of your origins, you are compelled to be tolerant, uninterested, amused, gentle as a grandmother, and regal.

You can handle anything life throws at you when you are immersed in the wonder of the Tao, and you are prepared for death when it does.

We are unaware that we are dreaming when they are happening. We could even have dreams about deciphering dreams. We don’t realise it was a dream until we wake up. We won’t understand that this is the grand dream until after the great waking.

Be satisfied with your own knowledge if you want to be really ignorant.

I am unable to determine whether or not what the world defines as happiness really exists. I just know that when I think about how they go about getting it, I picture them being dragged along headlong, gloomy and obsessive, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or modify their course. They continue to assert that they are just about to find bliss.

Forget the seasons and the ranks. Make the unending your home by leaping into it!

Even if a man is a bad-tempered individual, he won’t care if an empty boat collides with his own skiff while he crosses a river.
He won’t get all worked up.
However, if he sees a guy in the boat, He will yell at the man to stay away.
He will yell again and start swearing if his first shout is not heard.
And it’s all down to the person in the boat.
However, He wouldn’t be yelling or upset if the boat were empty.
You can empty your own boat if you can
No one will resist you as you cross the world’s river, and no one will try to do you harm.

The sound of the river expresses my thoughts.

The only person who can be trusted with the empire is one who has no need for it.

Since his eyes are not fixed on any one item, the infant glances about all day without winking. He moves forward and pauses without understanding where he is going or what he is doing. He moves in step with the environment and blends into it. These are the guidelines for good mental health.

When we sleep peacefully, we are born, and when we wake peacefully, we face death.

Because of the confines of his well, the frog in the well is unable to discuss the ocean. A July bug cannot talk about ice since it only has experience with that season. A narrow-minded scholar is limited by his beliefs and cannot explain the Tao because of this. You have now emerged from your banks and can see the vast ocean. It is now feasible to debate lofty ideals with you since you are aware of your own inadequacy.

If you have insight, you can see and hear things from the inside out without the use of cerebral understanding.

“For” and “against” are forgotten when the heart is right.

The great thief becomes a feudal lord while the little thief is put in jail.

All of the men in the world who place importance on the Way look to books. However, books are nothing more than a collection of words. Meaning is what gives words their worth; words are valuable for what they signify. Meaning is after something, but what it is after is not something that can be put into words and passed down from generation to generation. Words and books are held in high esteem across the globe; but, despite this, I do not believe that they should be valued as highly as they are. What people throughout the globe consider to be valuable has no relation to actual worth.

The mind of the Perfect Man is like a mirror; it pursues nothing, it accepts nothing, it reacts but does not store anything.

Because of the confines of his environment, a well frog is unable to have a meaningful conversation about the ocean. You can’t talk about ice with a summer bug since they’re only active during one season at a time.

Wisdom at its highest level is generous, whereas wisdom at its lowest level is controversial.

You need simply to be still and things will rearrange themselves in a way that benefits you. If you break your shape and your body, if you spit out your hearing and your vision, if you forget that you are a thing among other things, then you will be able to unite in profound oneness with the deep and the infinite.

Where is that man who seems to have forgotten language so that I might have a conversation with him?

Men give reverence to the things that are within the scope of their knowledge, but they are blind to the extent to which they are reliant on the things that lay beyond it.

It has been stated that for the one who fully comprehends the delight of heaven, life is the operation of heaven, and death is the transition of things. When there is no motion, he and the yin share a single flow, but when there is motion, he and the yang share a single virtue.

My teacher has been quoted as saying that wherever there are machines, there will inevitably be machine concerns, and wherever there are machine worries, there will inevitably be machine hearts. Because you have a machine heart in your breast, you have ruined what was once pure and simple, and the life of the spirit will never find rest if it is deprived of the pure and the simple.

The transformation into a butterfly occurred just as the caterpillar was beginning to fear the end of the world.

Everyone is aware of how something may be put to good use, but no one is aware of how to use the useless.

Any and all efforts to build something admirable may be seen as instruments of evil. It’s possible that you believe you’re doing charitably and righteously, but in reality, you’ll just be producing a type of artificiality with your actions. Where there is a model, there will be copies created of it; where there has been success, there will be bragging; where there is discussion, there will be outbursts of hatred.

Your life has a limit, but knowledge has none. You are putting yourself in danger if you make use of what is restricted in order to chase what has no limit.

Protect what is inside of you at all costs and ignore what is going on around you, since having too much information might be detrimental.

Words are not meaningless puffs of air. The written word always has something to convey. But if what they have to say is not set in stone, can we really consider what they have to say to be meaningful? Or do they not comment at all? People have the misconception that words are distinct from the peeps made by newborn birds; however, is there really any distinction between the two? What is it in the Way that makes some things true while others are false? Where do words come from for us to have a concept of good and wrong? How is it that the Way may just vanish into thin air? How is it that some terms may even exist yet are not tolerated? We have the rights and wrongs of the Confucians and the Moists when the Way depends on trivial achievements, and when words react to empty display. What one person considers to be correct, the other person may consider to be incorrect, and vice versa. Clarity is the most effective tool to utilise if our goal is to right their wrongs while simultaneously wronging their rights.

Yet the dense assume that they are awake, busy and brightly supposing that they grasp things, calling this one a king and that one a herdsman – how incredibly thick! You and Confucius are both lost in your dreams! When I say that you are dreaming, it means that I am dreaming as well. The phrase “Supreme Swindle” will be used to phrases such as these.

Chuang Tzu Stories

Here are a few Stories related to Zhuangzi.

Zhuangzi Wife Dead Story

Zhuangzi’s wife died. When Huizu went to deliver his condolences, he discovered Zhuangzi sitting with his legs spread out, pounding on a tub, and singing.

Huizu was surprised. “You lived with her, she raised your children, and she aged,” Huizu told. “You grew old together.”

Zhuangzi said: “It ought to be sufficient to just not cry over her passing away.

Huizu Said: But singing while banging on a bathtub is taking it a little too far, don’t you think?”

Zhuangzi responded, “You’re mistaken. Do you believe that I wasn’t saddened by her death at the same time as everyone else when she passed away?

On the other hand, I thought of her beginnings and the period before she was ever born. Not just the period of time before she was born, but also the period of time when she did not yet possess a physical form. Not just the period of time before she had a body, but also the period of time when she was devoid of a spirit.

She had a transformation in the middle of all the chaos and enigma, and as a result, she possessed a spirit. After one more alteration, she finally had a body. After one more alteration, she entered the world. Another shift has taken place, and she has passed away as a result.

It’s exactly like how spring, summer, fall, and winter come one after the other with the changing of the seasons.

“She is going to take some time to relax and lay down in a spacious room now. If I were to go after her when she was crying and wailing, it would demonstrate that I had no concept of how things are supposed to turn out. So I came to a halt.

Chuang Tzu Fish Story

Chuang Tzu and his companion went out for a walk one day when they came across a river.

“Take a look at the fish swimming around,” said Chuang Tzu. “You can tell that they are having a great time.”

The friend responded, “Since you are not a fish, you cannot truly know that they are enjoying themselves.” “You are not a fish,”

“You are not me,” stated Chuang Tzu. “So how exactly do you know that I am not aware that the fish are having a good time?”

Huìzǐ said: “Because I am not you, I am unable to understand. Since you are not a fish, it follows that you cannot understand the pleasure that fish experience. That settles it!”

In response, Zhungz told him: “The thing is, when you asked, “From what can you know the joy of fish?,” I didn’t know how to answer that question. You were aware that I was aware of this fact before you questioned me about the source of my information. I could tell from the moment I crossed the bridge over the Háo River!”

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