Monday, January 18, 2021

Comparative Zhuangzi

Therefore, it is said that the ultimate man has no self, the spiritual person has no accomplishment, and the sage has no name.

~Zhuangzi (tr-Mair)

Therefore I say, the Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame.

~Zhuangzi (tr-Watson)

As the saying goes,

The utmost man is selfless,

The daemonic man takes no credit for    his deeds,

The sage is nameless.

~Zhuangzi (tr-Graham)

Thus I say, the Consummate Person has no fixed identity, the Spirit Man has no particular merit, the Sage has no one name.

~Zhuangzi (tr-Ziporyn)

The realized remain selfless. The sacred remain meritless. The enlightened remain nameless.

~Zhuangzi (tr-Hinton)

Therefore complete people have no self, spiritual people have no merit, saintly people have no name.

~Zhuangzi (tr-Cleary)"

Among complete Zhuangzi translations into English, the most literal is by A. C. Graham (1981; 2001), while others follow the content orientation, using different Chinese and Western renditions as their backdrop. These include Mair (1994a; 1994b), Palmer (1996), Höchsmann and Yang (2007), and Ziporyn (2009). More theme-based and aimed at modern practitioners are the renditions by Cleary (1999), Mitchell (2009), and Kohn (2011). Illustrated versions, moreover, include Feng and English (1974), Cai and Bruya (1992), and Towler (2011) (see Small 2013). Each translation is different, and each has its own unique take on the text, opening various visions on this powerful, multifaceted work.

~Livia Kohn

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