Zhuangzi's "Dream of the Butterfly": A Daoist Interpretation

Submitted by James Miller on Mon, 05/25/2009 - 12:20
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TitleZhuangzi's "Dream of the Butterfly": A Daoist Interpretation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsMöller, H. - G.
JournalPhilosophy East and West
Date PublishedOct

Guo Xiang's (252-312) reading of the famous "Butterfly Dream" passage from the Zhuangzi differs significantly from modern readings, particularly those that follow the Giles translation. Guo Xiang's view is based on the assumption that the character of Zhuang Zhou has no recollection of his dream after awakening and therefore does not entertain doubts about what or who he really is. This leads to a specific understanding of the allegorical and philosophical meaning of the text that stands in contradistinction to most modern interpretations. A translation of the Butterfly passage and commentary are appended.