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Oddball

Did Zhuangzi believe our world is just a dream?

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In Chapter 2 of the Zhuangzi, there are two sections where he writes about dreams. One is the famous section about the man and butterfly at the very end of the chapter. In the other section, close to the end, Zhuangzi states, "Eventually there comes the day of reckoning and awakening, and then we shall know that it was all a great dream. Only fools think they are now awake...." Did he believe that the world we are now in is actually just a dream? I keep coming across intellectuals who believe that the world we see is just an illusion of some type. Plato is one ancient example. It sounds like Zhuangzi might be another.

Edited by Oddball
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I wish you would have joined a couple days earlier.  We are currently doing a study of Chuang Tzu and we just finished that section:  Mair 2:14.

 

There are many who believe as you suggested.  I am not one of them and almost always argue against this thought.

 

But for sure he does speak about dreams.  For me he is speaking about our illusions and delusions.  Others feel he is talking about reality as we understand it is only a dream.

 

And he does say that perhaps we will wake up from our dream (illusions and delusions) and realize that they were all dreams.

 

We can even relate this to life today.  So many think they are living a life but in reality it is someone else living their life for them; just doing what they are told, following the herd, allowing society to take away more and more of our freedoms.

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[...]

 

But for sure he does speak about dreams.  For me he is speaking about our illusions and delusions.  Others feel he is talking about reality as we understand it is only a dream.

 

And he does say that perhaps we will wake up from our dream (illusions and delusions) and realize that they were all dreams.

[...]

 

Maybe -if he was a pragmatic man and not just a philosopher full of words- he was just showing a mental trick that could be applied to live without attachment.

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In Chapter 2 of the Zhuangzi, there are two sections where he writes about dreams. One is the famous section about the man and butterfly at the very end of the chapter. In the other section, close to the end, Zhuangzi states, "Eventually there comes the day of reckoning and awakening, and then we shall know that it was all a great dream. Only fools think they are now awake...." Did he believe that the world we are now in is actually just a dream? I keep coming across intellectuals who believe that the world we see is just an illusion of some type. Plato is one ancient example. It sounds like Zhuangzi might be another.

This is something that has resonated in me for as long as I have been aware.  One of my earliest memories is not of waking life, but of a dream, which transitioned to an out of body experience as a child of 3-4.  The dreamscape and that level of consciousness has always been a dominant force in my life experience, a constant living presence with an ability to impact my entire awareness just as intensely as the physical. 

 

My earliest memories of life are equally weighted be it waking or dreaming.  Neither seems particularly more real, when immersed within them and in memory, each level of consciousness has demonstrated an equal impact on my ability to learn about myself through experience and to carry truth, benefit and merit, as well as sorrow and loss.

 

So in that manner, each has an equal value to me as valid experience and always has, although the characteristics of awareness within each may vary.

 

I become lucid in my dreams nightly and have learned so many truths about myself in those realms, just as I do in my waking life.  In fact, I recall many of my experiences in the dreamscape, more vividly than I recall many moments of waking life.  Which has more value?  Which is more real?  They both have impacted my awareness, taught me more depth of understanding of my own awareness and to me, they mirror each other so completely, it's like my perception of the surface of water and how it appears when looking at it from above and below.  They are two varied expressions of one process. 

 

There is one key aspect of waking life which mirrors dream lucidity and resonates particularly potently of late though, I can't shake the abiding sense of it, even in my body there is the living sense of it... and that is how my earliest waking conscious memories of life mirror the way I wake up within the dream state. 

 

When I become lucid in the dream state, the dream has already begun.  It was the same for my waking consciousness and my physical form.  My first memories of conscious awareness of my life came after the process of life began.

 

The dream world is flowing, is already unfolding, the dream is in process and then "i" suddenly become aware within the process and then begin to interact consciously instead of reactionarily.  This is how my conscious life started, at some point, around the age of 3-4 I began to become aware within the waking world.  Which one is more relevant?  More intrinsically real?  Especially when viewed and recalled in memory. 

 

It is a common sensation now in my waking life to also have a sense of 'waking up' while in the middle of an action.  Walking down the street, suddenly, I turn and look at a tree and there is the vivid sense of waking up into the present moment.  This sensation sometimes feels like I've been sleeping for days or weeks.  It's also very common when I first go outside after being sick and indoors for some time.  There's the sense of seeing things on my familiar street in a much more lucid manner.

 

In my experience, I am constantly slipping between lucidity and non-lucidity in my waking life and my dream life, oscillating between auto-pilot and interactive awareness much the way waves and tides ebb and flow along the shore.

 

There is an abiding sense in my very body, that one day, I will inevitably wake up fully in both, equally.

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In my experience, I am constantly slipping between lucidity and non-lucidity in my waking life and my dream life, oscillating between auto-pilot and interactive awareness much the way waves and tides ebb and flow along the shore.

 

There is an abiding sense in my very body, that one day, I will inevitably wake up fully in both, equally.

 

I think LZ aptly said:

 

Therefore, always desireless, you see the mystery

Every desiring, you see the manifestation

 

Our base destiny/source provides us to not only see one side but both/and :)

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When one says "just" a dream, I think its their view that a certain validity is, or would not be ,present.

I think he did not apply this judgement.

 The passage, to me , shows us he equates the validity of either perspective relative to the other.

We presumably know there is both the experience of the woken man ,and of the sleeping man.,, if we dispense with judgement about validity , there's no uncertainty in the view one would have, and it would be a moot point,, if the life we are experiencing is that of the woken or sleeping. 

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I wonder what the Chinese tradition is.. literal or philosophical?  

 

I go with philosophical, or even whimsical. 

 

 

I've seen butterflies,

I know butterflies,

I am no butterfly.

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