Taoist Wisdom: How do you know?

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  • June 27, 2006

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    Chuang Tzu and Hui Tzu were strolling along the dam of the Hao River when Chuang Tzu said, “See how the minnows come out and dart around where they please!  That’s what fish really enjoy!”

    Hui Tzu said, “You’re not a fish — how do you know what fish enjoy?”

    Chuang Tzu said, “You’re not I, so how do you know I don’t know what fish enjoy?”

    Hui Tzu said, “I’m not you, so I certainly don’t know what you know.  On the other hand, you’re certainly not a fish — so that still proves you don’t know what fish enjoy!”

    Chuang Tzu said, “Let’s go back to your original question, please.  You asked me how I know what fish enjoy — so you already knew that I knew it when you asked the question.  I know it by standing here beside the Hao.”

    The Book of Chuang Tzu draws together the stories, tales, jokes and anecdotes that have gathered around the figure of Chuang Tzu. One of the great founders of Taoism, Chaung Tzu lived in the fourth century BC and is among the most enjoyable and intriguing personalities in the whole of Chinese philosophy.
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