Zhuangzi glossary


Emperor Yao

The sage emperor 堯 Yáo is a Confucian hero. His great virtue was that, having unified the world and established the first empire, instead of allowing his unworthy son to take the throne he passed it on to the virtuous Shun. In Zhuangzi, he is sometimes cited as a paragon (5:02), sometimes as a villain (6:08). In other contexts (1:05, 1:05), it is harder to tell whether he is supposed to be a hero or a fool. It is possible that, like Confucius (e.g. 5:01) and even Zhuangzi, himself (2:14, 9:01), he is portrayed as learning, undergoing an epiphany.