A Walk in the Night with Zhuangzi, Singing Songs of the South

With speaker Kuan-yun HUANG (Tsing Hua University, Taiwan).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Room 604, Asian Centre, 1871 West Mall

The “Fan wu liu xing” (All things flow into form) is a Warring States manuscript now stored at the Shanghai Museum.  Taking cue from this text, particularly the discussion surrounding a key formulation about “the mind prevailing over the mind,” this paper argues for a new reading of a difficult passage in Zhuangzi “Da zongshi” (The great and venerable teacher), showing that it not only parallels the description of a spirit journey in “Yuanyou” (Far roaming) of the Songs of the South, but is also a detailed account of the different stages of the process of self-cultivation.  Such an interpretation situates the newly recovered “Fan wu liu xing” in the context of Pre-Qin intellectual history, cuts across conventional boundaries of Confucianism versus Daoism, poetry versus philosophy, and ultimately reminds us that the act of reading is never insulated from the linguistic details of the text.

Kuan-yun Huang