Zhuangzi translation and commentary

Thank you for coming to this site, a translation and commentary on the fourth century BC Chinese philosopher, Zhuangzi! This is a work-in-progress, so your feedback is welcome. Feel free to read away below, or here are an introduction to this project, how to use this site, and how to leave comments.

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Confucius had gone fifty-one years without hearing the way, so he headed south to Pei to see Lao DanLao Dan said, "Have you come? I hear you are the worthiest man of the north. Have you gotten the way yet?"

Confucius said, "Not yet."

Laozi said, "Where have you looked for it?"

He said, "I've looked for it in rules and regulations for fifty years and haven't found it." 

Laozi said, "Where else have you looked for it?"

He said, "I've looked for it in yin and yang for twelve years and haven't found it." 

Laozi said, "So it is. If the way could be offered, no one would not offer it to their superiors. If the way could be presented, no one would not present it to their parents. If they way could be told, no one would not tell it to their brothers. If the way could be given, no one would not give it to their children and grandchildren. 

The reason why not is simply this: If there is no one to host it on the inside, the way will not stay. If there is no one to correct it on the outside, the way will not go. In terms of expressing it, if there is one to receive it on the outside, wise people won't let it go. In terms of receiving it, if there is no one to host it on the inside, the wise will not stash it. 

Words are a public tool; don't overdo it. Kindness and morality are the tents of former kings; spend a night there but don't stay long or you'll incur blame. The perfect people of old detour their way into kindness and camped out in morality but tripped in the hippy-dippy waste, ate in the haphazard fields, and stayed in the rent-free garden. Round-about, they didn't do anything; haphazard, it's easy to thrive; rent-free, there are no expense. They used to call this the truth-picker's trip. 

Those who think wealth is right can't give up their salary. Those who think that fame is right can't give up their reputation. Those who value authority can't give anyone an advantage. When they've got these things, they worry; when they lose them, they mourn. They don't reflect once to see how they cannot rest; they are people punished by nature. 

Resentment, gratitude, taking, giving, criticism, instruction, life, death—these eight are the tools of correction. Only those who roll with the changes and don't get clogged can use them. The correctors must be correct. If their minds aren't that way, the doors of heaven will not open to them." [1]

[1] Assuming Zhuangzi wrote this, why does he put it in the mouths of Confucius and Lao Dan? In other contexts, Confucius cast as sympethetic, such as his conversation with ZIgong about the three friends in 6.06, and even wise, such as his conversation with Yan Hui in 4:01. Here he appears as a dupe. Are we supposed to read this as part of The Young Confucius serires? And if Laozi is mouthing Zhuangzi's own words, why not cast himself in that role? It wouldn't have worked historically, but that didn't stop him from talking to Duke Ai in 9:08.

[a] CTP 14.05, HYZY 14/44-56.