Dream,Shadow and Reality


Chuang Tzu dreamed he was a butterfly,
fluttering and dancing leisurely and at ease …….
He did not know if it was him
who dreamt about the butterfly
or the butterfly dreaming about him….
it is called transformation of the material.

(from Chapter 2 “All Things Equal”, Book of Chuang Tzu)



The shadow of the shadow asked the shadow, “Just now you got up and moved, now you stop. Just now you sat down and now you get up. How come you cannot make up your mind?”

The shadow said, “Do you think this is so because I have expectations? Do you think this is like so because what I expect in turn also has expectations? Do you think I can expect things like the snake sloughing the scales or the cicada its wings? How can I tell how things are? How can I tell how things are not?”

(from Chapter 2“All Things Equal”, Book of Chuang Tzu)


Amazing Clarity Wang Shu

Amazing Clarity

Watch the shore in stillness,
see the natural delights under the water.
An instant of calm,
a cloud of color spirits,
form reflected in water.

The fish comes,
fighting to devour  the shadow.
The shadow rests unperturbed,
Quiet and still.
The fish devours
yet the shadow is not harmed.
The shadow arouses the fish’s hunger.
How could the fish know
the shadow is just a game?

Watch the shore in stillness,
the shadow is like the breeze,
the shadow is like a cloud.

Wang Shu
(national artist of Austria, also taught Chinese philosophy in Germany)
Wang Shu is a dear friend who inspired me to embark on the long journey to study Taoist philosophy of Lao Tzu and then Chuang Tzu. Hope his art and poetry translated in English from Chinese facilitate your appreciation for Chuang Tzu’s teachings.All his poems are in Chinese, some in German.