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Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings: With Selections from Traditional Commentaries (Hackett Classics) Paperback – March 15, 2009
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The Zhuangzi, with its 'goblet words,' lends itself by design to endless interpretation, of which no single instance has any real claim to the 'correct' meaning of the text. To date, Zhuangzi translations have presented their readers with only a single view of the text--that of the translator himself. With Ziporyn's book, the English world finally has the means to read the Zhuangzi the way it should be read: through the eyes of many. Ziporyn has carefully selected the most illuminating passages to be found within several of the most brilliant Zhuangzi commentaries written over the past two millennia, and he has rendered these often abstruse interpretations, along with the key Zhuangzi chapters which form their subject, accurately and lucidly into flowing English prose. This extraordinary work sets the new standard for Zhuangzi translations, and will prove an indispensable resource for anyone who wishes to take a comprehensive view of this most timeless and boundless of Chinese philosophical classics. --Scott Cook, Grinnell College
In Ziporyn, the Zhuangzi has found a worthy translator who brings both philosophical and Sinological acumen to the book. . . . Readers encounter not only the primary text in a fluid, readable translation, but also may refer to selected commentaries on particular passages with ease. . . . His translation offers a splendid portal into the thought of one of the funniest philosophers of all time. --Jeffrey L. Richey, Berea College
With judicious abridgement (sixteen full chapters, including all seven Inner chapters, plus selections from six more) and valuable added commentary, this book is a great choice for the undergraduate classroom. The translation often provides a fresh perspective to old problems, and the selection of commentary delivers a focus and accessibility that engages―and encourages us to re-engage―the considerable commentarial tradition. The translation is a delight. Ziporyn's lucid prose is often a marked improvement over his predecessors. . . . Footnotes are more plentiful than in the previous translations and are especially helpful with a text like the Zhuangzi. The selections from traditional commentaries are the most innovative feature of this translation, in keeping with Edward Slingerland's Analects and Bryan Van Norden's Mengzi translations (also from Hackett). Ziporyn provides extracts from forty-seven commentators that offer valuable contextualization as well as a variety of perspectives from which to approach the text. Overall Ziporyn's translation is smooth, clear and accurate, his notes are helpful, and his commentary selections bring new and welcome dimensions to the text as textbook and as an aid for scholarly research. --Paul Fischer, American University in Cairo, in Philosophy East & West
About the Author
Brook Ziporyn is Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Northwestern University.
- Publisher : Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (March 15, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0872209113
- ISBN-13 : 978-0872209114
- Item Weight : 10 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.5 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #243,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It is because this translation is so good that I'm very disappointed that large swaths of the text are left untranslated. Many of the later chapters are merely small selections or completely omitted. I would definitely purchase a revised addition or a Kindle eBook update if it ever materialized.
Because of the omissions, I'd almost like to give it 4 Stars; but the translation really is that good. I recommend this text to anyone who has ever had a glimpse of the Tao.
I love his idea of the Course-Axis because I've long had trouble articulating that I frequently hold competing perspectives simultaneously and am very flexible with my perspectives. A lot of people nowadays look down on this and consider it flip-flopping/two-faced/hypocritical. I agree with Zhuangzi, though, that the Course-Axis is far better than being constrained to one way of thinking.
Zhuangzi was a top tier critical thinker and this book is pure critical thought. Something distinct about Daoism is that it does not claim to have any answers to the universe, but instead fully embraces the unknowabilty of it all. Accepting there will never be any answers (merely perspectives) gives true freedom.
Top reviews from other countries
extract 2.44 from Inner Chapter Two Equalizing Assessments of Things page 20
footnote to the above "Wait for some `other"' is dai bi [Chinese characters given]. For dai, see ... Glossary. Bi, here translated "other," is the word used for "that" as opposed to "this" earlier in this chapter.
2.44 SHI DEQING: The living pulse of Zhuangzi's writing integrates it from top to bottom, like an underground spring. This chapter speaks laterally and vertically, up and down and back and forth, for over three thousand characters, finally arriving at this one word "other" to conclude it. What power it has! Looking back to the beginning of the discussion, with its subtle hints about a "genuine ruler," we find that he said there merely that "without an other there is no me," making this word "other" the ruling principle of the discussion. At the end here the phrase "wait for yet some other" is suddenly and boldly thrown forth. When you see to the bottom of the workings involved here, the transformations of this kind of prose are understood in all their inconceivable spiritual marvel.
Page 160 Selections from TRADITIONAL COMMENTARIES ON THE INNER CHAPTERS
DAI [Chinese character given]. Depend On, Wait, Wait For, Attend To. The word means both diachronic "waiting for" and synchronic "dependence on," as well as "to attend to" someone, as one does to a guest. .... For Zhuangzi, the meaning of words "depends" on the perspective from which they are spoken.. Right and wrong "depend" on the meaning assigned to words, the primary designation of what is "this." The value of one's identity "depends" on the environments that affirm it. Liezi and Peng "depend on" the wind, just as Kun "depends on" the water. In all these cases, Zhuangzi regards dependence as an undesirable condition to be overcome. But the same word is used in the crucial line of Chapter 4: "The vital energy is an emptiness, a waiting for the presence of beings" ... Freedom from dependence is attained not by withdrawal from interaction with things, but by emptying oneself of a fixed identity so that one can depend on--follow.' along with, go by"--the intrinsic self-posited value of anything that comes along.
GLOSSARY of  essential terms page 213/4
SHI DEQING (1546-1623). One of the "Four Eminent Monks" of the Ming dynasty, Shi Deqing was a Buddhist monk renowned for his works on Chan (Zen), his spiritual autobiography, and his syncretic approach to Buddhism. More broadly, he viewed the three teachings (Buddhist, Daoism, and Confucianism) as forming a unity. His commentaries to both the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi and to the Daodejing, are regarded by many as masterpieces, showing close attention both to the literary structure and to the religious and philosophical implications of the texts.
Page 225 ABOUT THE  COMMENTATORS
Thus Brook Ziporyn layers his ZHUANGZI, a beautiful translation and a model of YI MING [also glossed].