Zhuangzi glossary



The 魂 hún sometimes describes what is separated from the body at death, though Zhuangzi uses the term rarely and casually; he does not seem to have an elaborate theory on the subject.

In 22.05, it ccurs in the phrase 魂魄 húnpò, which is sometimes translated as the "immortal"  and "mortal souls." (What leaves the body at death and what is left there? Compare 13.09, in which Wheelwright Slab describes the book Duke Huan is reading as the 糟魄 zāopò, "dregs and husks," of the sages.) In 11.04 and 15.02, it is mentioned in conjunction with 神 shén, spirits. In 13.01, it is juxtaposed to 鬼 guǐ, ghosts. 

Let me propose the following rough typology and translation. 神 shén are "spirits." They normally exist outside of us and are good. However exceptional people are sometimes recognized as possessing this quality. 鬼 guǐ are "ghosts." They are outside of us and are not always good. 魂 hún, "soul," is normally inside us, though it can wander, perhaps metaphorically, in sleep; it's departure is death.