Along with the Dao De Jing, this text comprises the main body of early Daoist literature. It is attributed to Zhuang zi although the material was likely written by many authors over more than 100 years. The first seven chapters, the inner chapters, are thought be authored by Zhuang zi and his direct disciples.

Zhuang zi himself was born north of Shangqiu Shi in Eastern Henan. during the Warring States Period in the Western Han dynasty.

Zhuangzi is also called Nanhua Zhenjing 南華眞經 - True Classic of Southern Florescence.


內篇 - Inner Chapters
外篇 - Outer Chapters
雜篇 - Miscellaneous Chapters


Watson, B., trans. The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, New York, Columbia University Press, 1968.

other translations

Graham’s translation is useful and respected for academic quality, and Watson’s translation is more poetic.

This text has been translated by Federic Balfour, James Legge, Herbert Giles, James Ware, Martin Palmer, Victor H. Mair, Wang Rongpei, and Nina Correa.

Partial translations of the text are available by Fung Yu-lan, Gia-Fu Feng, A.C. Graham, Thomas Cleary, David Hinton, Brook Ziporyn, Thomas Merton, and Brian Bruya.

Legge, James, trans., The Sacred books of China: The texts of Taoism, New York: Dover Publications, 1962.

Graham, Charles, trans., Chuang-tzu: the seven inner chapters and other writings from the book Chuang-tzu, London Boston: Allen & Unwin. 1981. New Directions; Second Edition, 2010.

Graham, Angus Charles, Chuang-tzu: textual notes to a partial translation, London: University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, 1982.

Merton, Thomas, The way of Chuang-tzu, New York: New Directions, 1969.

Note: This book is based on English translations of Chuang-tzu.

Yu-lan Fung, Chuang-tzu: a new selected translation with an exposition of the philosophy of Kuo Hsiang, 2nd ed., New York: Paragon Book Reprint, 1964.

Wu, Kuang-ming, Chuang Tzu: World Philosopher at Play. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1982.

Mair, Victor H. trans. Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1998.

Palmer, Martin, trans. The Book of Chuang Tzu. New York: Arkana, 1996.

Cleary, Thomas, The Essential Tao: An Initiation into the Heart of Taoism Through the Authenitic Tao Te Ching and the Inner Teachings of Chuang-Tzu, HarperOne, 1993.

online resources

For the Original Chinese text

From Chinese Text Project; the translation given with the original text uses Legge's translation:

ctext.org ›

The Inner Chapters

ctext.org ›

The Outer Chapters

ctext.org ›

The Miscellaneous Chapters

For the Suggested Translation

(There is no online text for the Watson translation)

Other Translations

daoisopen.com ›

Nina Correa’s English Translation ”Being Boundless”.

acmuller.net ›

A. Charles Muller's translation of Chapter I to Chinese and English.

Other Resources

   An article on the text an its philosophy from Chinaknowledge : chinaknowledge.de ›