40 Zhuangzi Quotes on Happiness, Life, and Purpose

Each of us has a purpose and place in this world, so let these Zhuangzi quotes help you figure out yours!

Zhuangzi, also known as Master Zhuang or Chuang-tzu, was a Chinese Daoist philosopher. He dedicated his life to learning more about and spreading Daoism to the world.

His work, also titled Zhuangzi, became one of the most definitive texts explaining their philosophy and way of life.

In the most basic sense, Zhuangzi believed that one’s happiness could be achieved through understanding the world and himself.

This is a lesson that everyone can learn from today. So, if you also want to achieve happiness and find your life’s purpose, then read through this list of the best Zhuangzi quotes.

Continue to the collection below.

And don’t miss out these Confucius quotes.

Best Zhuangzi Quotes

1. “Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”

2. “Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”

3. “Rewards and punishment is the lowest form of education.”

4. “A path is made by walking on it.”

5. “The wise man knows that it is better to sit on the banks of a remote mountain stream than to be emperor of the whole world.”

Famous Zhuangzi Quotes

6. “To a mind that is still, the entire universe surrenders.”

7. “To be truly ignorant, be content with your own knowledge.”

8. “Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!”

9. “When the heart is right, ‘for’ and ‘against’ are forgotten.”

10. “The petty thief is imprisoned but the big thief becomes a feudal lord.”

Also read: Famous Quotes, Positive Quotes

Zhuangzi Quotes That Zoom in on His Beliefs

11. “Do not struggle. Go with the flow of things, and you will find yourself at one with the mysterious unity of the Universe.”

12. “If you have insight, you use your inner eye, your inner ear, to pierce to the heart of things, and have no need of intellectual knowledge.”

13. “The torch of doubt and chaos—this is what the sage steers by.”

14. “The perfect man uses his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing. It regrets nothing. It receives but does not keep.”

15. “When people do not ignore what they should ignore, but ignore what they should not ignore, this is known as ignorance.”

Also read: Mencius Quotes

Zhuangzi Quotes to Gain Insights on Life and Knowledge

16. “Cease striving. Then there will be transformation.”

17. “To forget the whole world is easy; to make the whole world forget you is hard.”

18. “Life is finite, while knowledge is infinite.”

19. “Life comes from the earth and life returns to the earth.”

20. “Great knowledge sees all in one. Small knowledge breaks down into the many.”

Also read: Han Fei Quotes, Mozi Quotes

Short Zhuangzi Quotes That Are Full of Meaning

21. “The sound of water says what I think.”

22. “Emptiness is the fasting of the mind.”

23. “We are born from a quiet sleep, and we die to a calm awakening.”

24. “Only he who has no use for the empire is fit to be entrusted with it.”

25. “To have a human form is a joyful thing.”

Deep Zhuangzi Quotes for Those Curious About the Workings of His Mind

26. “Luck implies an absolute absence of any principle.”

27. “All men know the use of the useful, but nobody knows the use of the useless!”

28. “The effect of life in society is to complicate and confuse our existence, making us forget who we really are by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not.”

29. “You can’t discuss the ocean with a well frog—he’s limited by the space he lives in. You can’t discuss ice with a summer insect—he’s bound to a single season.”

30. “During our dreams, we do not know we are dreaming. We may even dream of interpreting a dream. Only on waking do we know it was a dream. Only after the great awakening will we realize that this is the great dream.”

Zhuangzi Quotes That Will Have Your Mind Reeling

31. “Heaven, Earth, and I live together. All things and I comprise an inseparable oneness.”

32. “Not to understand is profound; to understand is shallow. Not to understand is to be on the inside; to understand is to be on the outside.”

33. “Your preciousness lies in your essence; it cannot be lost by anything that happens.”

34. “We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.”

35. “Do not seek fame. Do not make plans. Do not be absorbed by activities. Do not think that you know. Be aware of all that is and dwell in the infinite. Wander where there is no path. Be all that Heaven gave you, but act as though you have received nothing. Be empty, that is all.”

36. “Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting point.”

Profound Zhuangzi Quotes to Know More About His Teachings

37. “The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?”

38. “I cannot tell if what the world considers ‘happiness’ is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness.”

39. “Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awoke, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”

40. “All existing things are really one. We regard those that are beautiful and rare as valuable, and those that are ugly as foul and rotten. The foul and rotten may come to be transformed into what is rare and valuable, and the rare and valuable into what is foul and rotten.”

Did These Zhuangzi Quotes Inspire You to Find Your Happiness for Yourself?

More often than not, the way toward happiness is hard to find. To add to that, when you do find it, it’ll almost always be a challenging climb. But, that doesn’t mean that achieving joy is impossible and that we should give up.

Instead, let’s review Zhuangzi’s beliefs and teachings. For him, it was all about a carefree wandering in life. It was about finding joy in both big and small things and not letting negative thoughts hinder you.

His teachings were also easily digestible and understandable by the common folk. This is because he used imaginative but straightforward stories to explain his philosophy. 

There’s no denying how tough the road ahead might be. But, as Zhuangzi taught us, remember that we can find life’s meaning and happiness inside ourselves. Move through life with a determined but carefree manner, and you will find contentment and joy.

Were you familiar with Zhuangzi even before you came across this collection? Which of his quotes really made an impact on you? Share your thoughts below.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.