Guo Xiang

Guo Xiang

Guo Xiang (zh-cpw|c=郭象|p=Guō Xiàng|w= Kuo Hsiang; d. 312 C.E.), is credited with the first and most important revision of the text known as the Zhuangzi which, along with the Laozi, forms the textual and philosophical basis of the Daoist school of thought. He was also a scholar of xuanxue.

The Guo Xiang redaction of the text revised a fifty-two chapter original by removing material he thought was superstitious and generally not of philosophical interest to his literati sensibilities, resulting in a thirty-three chapter total. He appended a philosophical commentary to the text that became famous, and within four centuries his shorter and snappier expurgated recension became the only one known.

This "Zhuangzi" recension is traditionally divided into three sections: ‘Inner Chapters’ (1-7), ‘Outer Chapters’ (8-22), ‘Miscellaneous Chapters’ (23-33). This division is quite old and is likely to have been part of the original recension.

Guo's redaction focuses on his understanding of Zhuangzi's philosophy of spontaneity (zh-cpw|c=自然|p="zìrán"|w="tzǔ jan"; literally "self so"). This practiced spontaneity is demonstrated by the story of Cook Ding, rendered as Cook Ting in the Burton Watson translation (which is itself ultimately derived from the Guo Xiang recension):

Cook Ting was cutting up an ox for Lord Wen-hui. At every touch of his hand, every heave of his shoulder, every move of his feet, every thrust of his knee, zip! zoop! He slithered the knife along with a zing, and all was in perfect rhythm, as though he were performing the dance of the Mulberry Grove or keeping time to tile Ching-shou Music.

"Ah, this is marvelous!" said Lord Wen-hui. "Imagine skill reaching such heights!"

Cook Ting laid down his knife and replied, "What I care about is the Way, which goes beyond skill. When I first began cutting up oxen, all I could see was the ox itself. After three years I no longer saw the whole ox. And now I go at it by spirit and don't look with my eyes. Perception and understanding have come to a stop and spirit moves where it wants. I go along with the natural makeup, strike in the big hollows, guide the knife through the big openings, and follow things as they are. So I never touch the smallest ligament or tendon, much less a main joint."

"A good cook changes his knife once a year, because he cuts. A mediocre cook changes his knife once a month, because he hacks. I've had this knife of mine for nineteen years and I've cut up thousands of oxen with it, and yet the blade is as good as though it had just come from the grindstone. There are spaces between the joints, and the blade of the knife has really no thickness. If you insert what has no thickness into such spaces, then there's plenty of room, more than enough for the blade to play about it. That's why after nineteen years the blade of my knife is still as good as when it first came from the grindstone.Chapter 3 - The Secret of Caring for Life

Here, the careful yet effortlessly spontaneous way in which Cook Ding is described cutting up the ox is both an example of the cognitive state of mind Zhuangzi associated with the Dao and the assertion that this state is accessible in everyday life.


VID, a Russian TV Company has used a modified image of Guo Xiang's head as their logo.

ee also

*Xiang Xiu
*Chinese philosophy

References and External links

* [ Complete Works Of Chuang Tzu] , translated by Burton Watson
* [ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Zhuangzi]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Guo Xiang — (Kuo Hsiang, 郭象) ou Guo Zixuan (郭子玄) est un philosophe taoïste (vers 252 312) de la période des Jin occidentaux, éditeur et glosateur du Zhuangzi. On lui doit la version courante de l ouvrage, à la base des traductions intégrales en langue… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • GUO XIANG — [KOUO HIANG] (mort en 312) Philosophe chinois de l’école Xuanxue, Guo Xiang est connu pour le commentaire du Zhuangzi qui porte son nom. La question de savoir si ce commentaire a réellement été écrit par lui ou s’il est l’œuvre de Xiang Xiu (221… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Guo Xiang —   [ çi ], Kuo Hsiang, chinesischer Philosoph, ✝ 312; verfasste schöpferische Kommentare zu konfuzianischen und taoistischen Klassikern, besonders zum Buch »Zhuangzi«. Mit der Herausarbeitung der Eigengesetzlichkeit aller Einzeldinge, die das im… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Guo Xiang — or Kuo Hsiang died 312, China Chinese Neo Daoist philosopher. He was a high government official who adapted and completed another philosopher s unfinished commentary on the writings of Zhuangzi. Interpreting dao ( the way ) as nothingness, he… …   Universalium

  • Guo Xiang — o Kuo Hsiang (m. 312, China). Filósofo chino neotaoísta. Fue un alto funcionario gubernamental que adaptó y completó el comentario inconcluso de otro filósofo sobre los escritos de Zhuangzi. Interpretó el tao ( el camino) como la nada,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Guo Xiang (fictional) — Guo Xiang (Traditional Chinese: 郭襄; Simplified Chinese: 郭襄; pinyin: guō xiāng) is a fictional character in The Return of the Condor Heroes , a wuxia novel written by Jin Yong, and later mentioned in The Heavenly Sword and the Dragon Saber .… …   Wikipedia

  • Guo Jing — (zh cp|c=郭靖|p=Guō Jìng, died January 31, 1273) is the fictional main character in The Legend of the Condor Heroes , a novel written by Chinese author Jinyong. He also plays a supporting role in the second part of the Condor Trilogy , The Return… …   Wikipedia

  • Guo Fu — (郭芙) is the eldest and spoiled daughter of Guo Jing (郭靖) and Huang Rong (黃蓉) in Jinyong s novel, The Return of the Condor Heroes. She is also the elder sister of Guo Xiang (郭襄) and Guo Polu (郭破虏). Biography * Family name: Guo (郭) * Given name: Fu …   Wikipedia

  • Guo Polu — was the son Guo Jing and Huang Rong, and brother of Guo Fu and Guo Xiang. He was a minor character from The Return of the Condor Heroes and the first owner of the Dragon Slayer Sabre. He died with his parents after Xiangyang was conquered by… …   Wikipedia

  • Xiang Xiu — (zh c|c=向秀) is one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. His most famous contribution is a commentary on the Zhuangzi, which was later used and amended by Guo Xiang. After his friend Xi Kang was killed by the ruling Jin dynasty, Xiang carefully …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.