A Chinese classic, the "Chuang Tzu" was written sometime in the 14th century BC, and consists of original teachings, stories, tales and jokes told by Master Chuang, as well as others which have coalesced round his name. It is considered second only to the "Tao Te Ching", but the two books coundn't be more different. Where the "Tao Te Ching" is distant and proverbial in style, the "Chuang Tze" buzzes with life and with insights, often with considerable humour behind them. "Chuang Tzu"'s development of what later became known as Taoism lies in his advocacy of change as fundamental to life, and of the desire to cling on to things as being the basic problem of suffering and fustration. His writing combines wisdom and wit, and does not present a case so much as engage in argument and debate with the reader.
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The Taoist author named Chuang-tzu is estimated to have lived in the fourth century BCE, between 399 and 255 BCE.
Martin Palmer is Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture. Currently he is working with the China Taoist Association on a project to protect the main Taoist sacred Mountains of China.
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