Professor Fung Yu-lan is a distinguished contemporary Chinese philosopher. Chuang-tzu
is the textbook he used to teach a course on Chuang Tzu in the Beijing Chinese Language School during the 1920s. The book originally contained the translation of the first seven chapters of the Chuang-tzu and an article entitled "Some Characteristics of the Philosophy of Kuo Hsiang "appeared as an appendix. Chapter Ten, "The Third Phase of Taoism: Chuang Tzu," of Fung Yu-lan's A Short History of Chinese Philosophy
is included as another appendix in the present edition.
The Chuang-tzu, one of China's most important Taoist works, forms a connecting link between the preceding Book of Lao Tzu and the following Book of Huai Nan Tzu. It brims with ideas by means of images, shedding light on philosophy through the aid of fables. As the seven chapters are consistent in both style and thought, they were obviously written by Chuang Tzu himself, while some of the other chapters of the original Chuang-tzu were written by scholars of later periods or of other schools. Therefore, Chuang Tzu's philosophical thought is well presented in those seven chapters, while the ideas of the other chapters were incorporated in the translator's notes. Therefore, the present volume represents ideas discussed in the thirty-three chapters in the original Chuang- tzu.
Professor Fung has, in his translator's notes, made a comparative study between Western philosophical thought and that of Chuang Tzu with a view to helping readers grasp the core of Chuang Tzu's writings.