Try to Understand Zhuangzi by Reading through

Composer’s Note: Zhuangzi (approxi. 369-286 BC), from the State of Song in the Warring States Period, one of the most important masters in the Pre-Qin period. He despised wealth, power and fame, sought after unrestrained spiritual freedom. He has been regarded as a representative of Taoism.
Getting to know Zhuangzi is an important part of China studies. Since he has been widely translated, we provide three versions of translation—one by James Legge, a Scottish Sinologist (1815-1897), one by a contemporary Nina Correa and the third version by Lin Yutang (1895-1976), a most influential Chinese bi-lingual writer.
The composer of this reading material also provides “Pinyin” of Zhuangzi’s articles and some notes for understanding. The composer hopes by reading through translations and the notes, the reader could get deeper into the thoughts of Zhuangzi.

Title: 逍遥游xiāo yáo yóu—Enjoyment in Untroubled Ease (James Legge)-Carefree Roaming (Nina Correa)-A Happy Excursion (Lin Yutang)
WRH: A Fancy-Free Travel
北冥有鱼, 其名为鲲.—běi  míng  yǒu  yú, qí míng wéi kūn--  In the Northern Ocean there is a fish, the name of which is Kun (JL)-In an unexplored area in the far north, there was a fish whose name was Kun (NC)-In the northern ocean there is a fish, called the Kun (LY).
WRH:  “冥”—ocean or sea across.
鲲之大,不知其几千里也—kūn  zhī dà, bù zhī qí jǐ qiān  lǐ yě-I do not know how many li in size (JL)-The Kun was so big that no one could figure out how many feet across it was (NC)-I do not know how many li in size (LY).
化而为鸟,其名为鹏—huà ér wéi  niǎo, qí míng wéi péng—It changes into a bird with the name of Peng (JL)-It transformed into a bird whose name was Peng (NC)-This Kun changes into a bird, called the Peng (LY).
WRH: 化huà is a frequently used character. When it is used in the sense of “change”, it must have the falling tone, otherwise, it would mean something else, such as huāzi—a beggar or huāqián—to spend money.
鹏之背,不知其几千里也—péng zhī bèi, bù zhī qí jǐ qiān  lǐ yě—the back of which is (also)-I do not know how many li in extent (JL)-No one could figure out how many feet across its back was (NC)-Its back is I do not know how many thousand li in breadth(LY).
WRH: 背 has to be pronounced as bèi, not bēi, which would mean to carry something on the back, for instance bēifù-背负-to carry on the back.
怒而飞, 其翼若垂天之云—nù ér fēi, qí yì ruò chuí tiān zhī yún—When this bird rouses itself and flies, its wings are like clouds all round the sky (JL)-When it burst into flight, its wings seemed to hang in the sky like clouds (NC)-When it is moved, it flies, its wings obscuring the sky like clouds (LY).
WRH: 怒 here does not mean to be “angry”, it means to rise in its old sense, and implies flipping its wings. NC’s version is better. In JL, “all round the sky” is a bit too much; and in LY’s, “obscuring the sky” is a fabrication, the original does not have this meaning.
是鸟也,海运则将徙于南冥—shì niǎo yě, hǎi yùn zé jiàng xǐ yú nán míng—When the sea is moved (so as to bear it along), it prepares to remove to the Southern Ocean (JL)-This bird had the capacity to make its move to an unexplored area in the far south (NC)-When on a voyage, this bird prepares to start for the Southern Ocean (LY).
WRH: 是here means “this one”; 海运 can not be explained as “the sea is moved”, it means “the surging sea waves”. In JL’s, the word “remove” is not correct. 徙 xǐ means to move; 于 yú means “to”. So, this sentence should read: This bird will, with the surging sea waves, move to the Southern Ocean.
南冥者,天池也-- nán míng zhě, tiān chí yě—The Southern Ocean is the Pool of Heaven (JL)-…in the far south where the sky was like a large lake (NC)-…the Celestial Lake (LY).
《齐谐》者, 志怪者也.—qí xié zhě, zhì guài zhě yě—There is the book called Qi Xie, a record of marvels (JL)-From Qi Xie’s “Tales of the Supernatural” (a book of legends and myths) (NC)-And in the Records of Marvels … (LY).
WRH: It is useful or necessary to give how the book is called. LY’s didn’t care to do that.
《谐》之言曰:“鹏之徙于南冥也,水击三千里—xié zhī yán yuē: “péng zhī xǐ yú nán míng yě, shuǐ jī sān qiān lǐ—We have in it these words: “When the Peng is removing to the Southern Ocean it flaps (its wings) on the water for 3000 li (JL)-Xie wrote: “On the Peng’s migration to the unexplored south, it beat against the water for a thousand miles. (NC)-…we read that when the peng flies southwards, the water is smitten for a space of three thousand li around (LY).
WRH: 冥 means “ocean”, not an unexplored place; in LY’s, the word “smite” is too clumsy and heavy.
抟扶摇而上者九万里, 去以六月息者也—tuán fú yáo ér shàng zhě jiǔ wàn lǐ, qù yǐ liù yuè xī zhě yě—Then it ascends on a whirlwind 90,000 li, and it rests only at the end of six months’ (JL)-It spiraled upward like a cyclone for thirty thousand miles. It traveled for six months before it stopped to rest (NC)-…while the bird itself mounts upon a great wind to a height of ninety thousand li, for a flight of six months’ duration (LY).
WRH: 息xīhere does not mean “to rest”, it means a “big wind”, so none of the three translations got it right, the sentence should read: it left with the big wind in June.
野马也, 尘埃也, 生物之以息相吹也.—yě mǎ yě,chén āi yě, shēng wù zhī yǐ xī xiāng chuī yě—(But similar to this is the movement of the breezes which we call) the horses of the fields, of the dust (which quivers in the sunbeams), and of living things as they are blown against one another by the air (JL)-Dust and dirt flew everywhere. The creatures on the earth had their breath taken away by all that wind blowing everywhere (NC)-There mounting aloft, the bird saw the moving white mists of spring, the dust-clouds, and the living things blowing their breaths among them (LY).
WRH: 野马, yě mǎ here implies the fog in the shape of a wild horse. An accurate rendering would be: the fog in the fields that in the shape of a wild horse and the dust are all caused by the blowing of breaths among all living things.
天之苍苍,其正色邪?-- tiān zhī cāng cāng, qí zhèng sè yé—Is it azure the proper colour of the sky? (JL)-The sky is one shade of blue. (NC)-It wondered whether the blue of the sky was its real color, (LY)
WRH: 邪yé, should not be pronounced as “xié”, it is just like“耶yé” in ancient Chinese language,a word used in the end of a question.
其远而无所至极邪—qí yuǎn ér wú suǒ zhì jí yé—Or is it occasioned by its distance and illimitable extent? (JL)-No matter how far it extends, is it without an end? (NC)-or only the result of distance without end, (LY).
WRH: The meaning it contains is that no matter how far the sky can go, no one can ever exhaust it to its end.
其视下也, 亦若是则已矣—qí shì xià yě, yì ruò shì zé jǐ yǐ—If one were looking down (from above), the very same appearance would just meet his view. (JL)-Might the sky appear the same when looking down from above? (NC)-and saw that the things on earth appeared the same to it. (LY).
WRH: This 其qírefers to the big bird itself. 则zé is an adverb, like “as”.
且夫水之积也不厚,则其负大舟也无力—qiě fú shuǐ zhī jī yě bù hòu, zé qí fù dà zhōu yě wú lì—And moreover, (to speak of) the accumulation of water; it it be not great, it will not have strength to support a large boat. (JL)-If water doesn’t accumulate to create enough depth, then it wouldn’t be able to hold up a large boat. (NC)-If there is not sufficient depth, water will not float large ships. (LY)
WRH: 且夫qiě fú These two characters should be used together, it means 况且 kuàng qiě—if.
覆杯水于坳堂之上—fù bēi shuǐ yúào táng zhī shàng—Upset a cup of water in a cavity (JL)-Spill a cup  of water into a crack on the kitchen floor (NC)-Upset a cupful into a hole in the yard (LY).
WRH: 坳堂yúào tang-where it is lower in a room, not necessarily a kitchen, not in a yard.
则芥为之舟—zé jiè wéi zhī zhōu—and a straw will float on it as if it were a boat. (JL)-then a mustard seed could float on the water like a boat. (NC)-and a mustard-seed will be your boat. (LY)
WRH: 芥jiè—most probably Zhuangzi meant a leaf rather than a seed of mustard.
置杯焉则胶,水浅而舟大也—zhì bēi yān zé jiāo, shuǐ qiǎn ér zhōu dà yě—Place a cup in it, and it will stick fast; the water is shallow and the goat is large. (JL)-Try to float the cup in the same amount of water and it would stick to one spot, as the water is too shallow and the boat is too big. (NC)-Try to float the cup, and it will be grounded, due to the disproportion between water and vessel. (LY)
WRH: 焉yān—an adverb, here means “then”; 胶jiāo—it doesn’t mean “sticky”, but “firm”, saying the cup is not floating.
风之积也不厚,则其负大翼也无力—fēng zhī jī yě bù hòu, zé qí fù dà yì yě wú lì—(So it is with) the accumulation of wind; if it be not great, it will not have strength to support great wings. (JL)-If enough wind hasn’t accumulated to be forceful, then it wouldn’t be able to support large wings. (NC)-So with air. If there is not sufficient a depth, it cannot support large wings. (LY)
故九万里,则风斯在下矣—gù jiǔ wàn lǐ, zé fēng sī zài xià yǐ—Therefore (the peng ascended to ) the height of 90,000 li, and there was such a mass of wind beneath it; (JL)-At a height of thirty thousand miles the wind is unhindered by what’s below and only there can the wind reach full force. (NC)-And for this bird, a depth of ninety thousand li is necessary to bear it up. (LY)
WRH: 斯sī—is a conjunction, means “then”.
而后乃今培风—ér hòu nǎi jīn péi fēng—thenceforth the accumulation of wind was sufficient. (JL)-and only there can the wind reach full force. (NC)-Then, gliding upon the wind, (LY)
WRH: 而后乃今ér hòu nǎi jīn—from today onwards; 培péi—depending on.
背负青天而莫之夭阏者, 而后乃今将图南。-- bèi fù qīng tiān ér mò zhī yāo ě zhě, ér hòu nǎi  jīn jiāng tú nán.—As it seemed to bear the blue sky on its back, and there was nothing to obstruct or arrest its course, it could pursue its way to the South. (JL)-With the blue sky above the Peng’s back, and nothing in its way to hinder it, only then can it chart a path to the south. (NC)-with nothing save the clear sky above, and no obstacles in the way, it starts upon its journey to the south. (LY)
WRH: 莫mò—means “nothing significant”; 夭阏yāo ě—hindrance.
蜩与学鸠笑之曰—tiáo yú xué jiū xiào zhī yuē—A cidada and a little dove laughed at it, saying, (JL)-A cicada and a young dove laugh together while saying: (NC)-A cicada and a young dove laughed, saying, (LY)
“我决起而飞, 枪榆枋而止, 时则不至,而控于地而已矣—“wǒ xuè qǐ ér fēi, qiāng yú fāng ér zhǐ, shí zé bù zhì, ér kòng yú dì ér yǐ yǐ—“We make an effort and fly towards an elm or sapanwood tree; and sometimes before we reach it, we can do no more but drop to the ground. (JL)-“We decided to take off and fly to see what we can find in the branches of elm trees. Sometimes we don’t reach them, and tumble back to the ground to land. (NC)-“Now, when I fly with all my might, ‘tis as much as I can do to get from tree to tree. And sometimes I do not reach, but fall to the grond midway. (LY)
WRH: 决(xuè)does not read as “jué”, meaning to act quickly. 枪(qiāng) to run into… to come across with…
奚以之九万里而南为?”—xī yǐ zhī jiǔ wàn lǐ ér nán wéi?—Of what use is it for this (creature) to rise 90,000 li, and make for the South?” (JL)-What’s the point of going up to thirty thousand miles to try to get to the south?” (NC)-What then can be the use of going up ninety thousand li to start for the south?” (LY)
适莽苍者,三餐而反, 腹犹果然-- shì mǎng cāng zhě, sān cān ér fǎn, fù yóu guǒ rán--He who goes to the grassy suburbs, returning to the third meal (of the day), will have his belly as full as when he set out;(JL)-Go for a three mile hike in the woods, and your stomach will still be full.(NC)-He who goes to the countryside taking three meals with him comes back with his stomach as full as when he started. (LY)
WRH: 适shì—to go to…; 莽苍 mǎng cāng—a suburb covered by a haze; 三餐sān cān—means a day, there are three meals a day.
适百里者,宿舂(chōng)粮;-- shì bǎi lǐ zhě, sù chōng liáng—he who goes to a distance of 100 li will have to pound his grain where he stops for the night; (JL)-Go for a thirty mile hike, and you might need to stay overnight and prepare food. (NC)-But he who travels a hundred li must take ground rice enough for an overnight stay. (LY)
WRH: 舂(chōng)--to pound grain. To stay for a night with pounded grain.
适千里者,三月聚粮。-- shì qiān lǐ zhě, sān yuè jù liáng—he who goes a thousand li, will have to carry with him provisions for three months. (JL)-Go for a thousand mile hike, and for three months you’d have to find food. (NC)-And he who travels a thousand li must supply himself with provisions for three months.
WRH: 聚jù—to accumulate.
之二虫又何知(31)!-- zhīèr chóng yòu hé zhī!—What should these two small creatures know about the matter? (JL)-What do those two creatures think they know! (NC)-Those two little creatures, what should they know? (LY)
WRH: 之zhī—means “this”—how could the two little creatures know this!
小知不及大知,小年不及大年。-- xiǎo zhī bù jí dà zhī, xiǎo nián bù jí dàbù jí dà nián—The knowledge of that which is small does not reach to that which is great; (the experience of) a dew years does not reach to that of many. (JL)-Restricted knowledge isn’t as good as expansive knowledge. Having few experiences isn’t as good as having many experiences. (NC)-Small knowledge has not the compass of great knowledge any more than a short year has the length of a long year. (LY)
WRH: 知zhī—refers to knowledge or intelligence. 小年 xiǎo nián—here it means the “short length of life” and 大年 dà nián means the “longer length of life”.
奚以知其然也?-- xī yǐ zhī qí rán yě—How do we know that it is so? (JL)-How do we know this is so? (NC)-How can we tell that this is so? (LY)
朝菌不知晦朔,蟪蛄不知春秋,此小年也。-- zhāo jùn bù zhī huì shuò, huì gū bù zhī chūn qiū, cǐ xiǎo nián yě—The mushroom of a morning does not know (what takes place between) the beginning and end of a month; the short-lived cicada does not know (what takes place between) the spring and autumn. These are instances of a short term of life. (JL)-A morning mushroom doesn’t have any concept of the phases of one moon’s monthly cycle. A cricket doesn’t have any concept of the changes of the seasons. Their experiences are limited. (NC)-The fungus plant of a morning know not the alternation of day and night. The cicada knows not the alternation of spring and autumn. Theirs are short years. (LY)
WRH: 朝should be pronounced as “zhāo”, not “cháo”; 晦朔huì shuò—has two meanings: (1) the last day of a month; (2) day and night. That’s why you find two different interpretations above of the term. 此cǐ—refers to the morning mushroom and cicada, whose life are all short.
楚之南有冥灵者,-- chǔ zhī nán yǒu míng ling zhě,--In the south of Chu there is the (tree) called Ming-ling, (JL)-South of the state of Chu there’s a fabled elf…(NC)-But in the south of Chu there is a Mingling (tree)… (LY)
以五百岁为春,五百岁为秋;-- yǐ wǔ bǎi suì wéi chūn, yǐ wǔ bǎi suì wéi qiū—whose spring is 500 years, and its autumn the same; (JL)-…for whom spring lasts five hundred years and autumn lasts five hundred years. (NC)-…whose spring and autumn are each of five hundred years’ duration. (LY)
上古有大椿者,以八千岁为春,-- shàng gǔ yǒu dà chūn zhě, yǐ bā qiān suì wéi chūn—in high antiquity there wqs that called Da-chun, whose spring was 8000 years, (JL)-In ancient times there was a gigantic tree for whom spring lasted eight thousand years (NC)-And in former days there was a large tree which had a spring …of eight thousand years. (LY)
八千岁为秋 ,此大年也.-- bā qiān suì wéi qiū, cǐ dà nián yě.—and its autumn the same; (JL)-…and autumn lasted eight thousand years. (NC)-…and autumn each of eight thousand years. (LY)
WRH: in old versions there was not the sentence of此大年也 (These are long term of life). That’s why you don’t find it in the translations above.
而彭祖乃今以久特闻—ér péng zǔ nǎi jīn yǐ jiǔ tè wén—And Peng Zu is the one man renowned to the present day for  his length of life: (JL)-And Peng Zu (a legendary man who is said to have lived for eight hundred years) even today is considered special for his long life. (NC)-Yet, Peng Zu is known for reaching a great age and is still. (LY).
众人匹之,不亦悲乎?-- zhòng rén pǐ zhī, bù yì bēi hū?—If all men were (to wish) to match him, would they not be miserable? (JL)-Everyone wants to match him-doesn’t that cause them much grief! (NC)-…alas! An object of envy to all! (LY)
汤之问棘也是已(40):-- tāng zhī wèn jí chíshì yǐ—In the questions put by Tang to Ji we have similar statements: (JL)-Tang’s questions to Ji (one of his wise ministers) were about this point: (NC)-It was on this very subject that the Emperor Tang spoke to Ji, as follows: (LY).
“穷发之北,有冥海者,天池也。--“qióng fā zhī běi, yǒu míng hǎi zhě, tiān chí chí.—“In the bare and barren north there is the dark and vast ocean-the Pool of Heaven. (JL)-“In the far north where nothing grows there’s an unexplored sea that seems like a lake in the sky. (NC)-“At the north of Ch’iungfa, there is a Dark Sea, the Celestial Lake. (LY).
WRH: 穷发qióng fā—a place that grows nothing, 之北zhī běi—to the north of…
有鱼焉,其广数千里,-- yǒu yú yān, qí guǎng shù qiān lǐ—In it there is a fish, several thousand li in breadth, (JL)-In it is some sort of fish that’s a thousand miles wide, (NC)-In it there is a fish several thousand li in breadth, (LY)
未有知其修者,其名为鲲。-- wèi yǒu zhī qí xiū zhě, qí míng wéi kūn.--…while no one knows its length. Its name is Kun. (JL)-and no one knows its length. It’s been given the name Kun. (NC)-and I know not how many in length. It is called the Kun. (LY).
WRH: 修xiū—here it means “length”.
有鸟焉,其名为鹏,-- yǒu niǎo yān, qí míng wéi péng.—There is (also) a bird named the Peng; (JL)-There’s some sort of bird that’s been given the name Peng. (NC)-There is also a bird, called the Peng. (LY)
背若泰山(43),翼若垂天之云,-- bèi ruò tài shān, yì ruò chuí tiān zhī yún—its back is like the Tai mountain, while its wings are like clouds all round the sky. (JL)-Its back is like Mount Taishan, and it has wings that hang down like clouds in the sky. (NC)-…with a back like Mount Tai, and wings like clouds across the sky. (LY).
抟扶摇羊角而上者九万里(44),--tuán fú yáo yang jiǎo ér shàng jiǔ wàn lǐ—On a whirlwind it mounts upwards as on the whorls of a goat’s horn for 90,000 li, (JL)-It can spiral upward like a cyclone for thirty thousand miles, (NC)-It soars up upon a whirlwind to a height of ninety thousand li, (LY)
WRH: 抟tuán –to knead; 扶摇fú yáo –to spiral up; 羊角 yang jiǎo –a wind in the shape of a goat’s horn-a tornado.
绝云气(45),负青天,-- jué yún qì, fù qīng tiān,--…till, far removed from the cloudy vapours, it bears on its back the blue sky, (JL)-cut through the floating clouds having only the blue sky above its shoulders, (NC)-far above the region of the clouds, with only the clear sky above it. (LY)
然后图南,且适南冥也。-- rán hòu tú nán, qiě shì nán míng yě.—and then it shapes its course for the south, and proceeds to the ocean there. (JL)-and then set a course for the south as it heads for the southern wilderness. (NC)-And then it directs its flight towards the Southern Ocean. (LY)
斥鴳笑之曰:‘彼且奚适也?--chì yàn xiào zhī yuē, “bǐ qiě xī shì yě?—A quail by the side of a marsh laughed at it, and said, “Where is it going to? (JL)-A scolding quail laughingly asks: “Where’s it going? (NC)-And a lake sparrow laughed, and said: Pray, what may that creature be going to do? (LY)
我腾跃而上,不过数仞而下,-- wǒ téng yuè ér shàng, bù guò shù rèn ér xià—I spring up with a bound, and come down again when I have reached but a few fathoms, (JL)-I jump and leap as I rise, but then fall back down after only a couple of feet. (NC)-I rise but a few yards in the air and settle down again, (LY)
WRH: 仞rèn—ancient measure, one “ren” was equal to eight foot in the Zhou Dynasty.
翱翔蓬蒿之间,此亦飞之至也。--áo xiáng péng hāo zhī jiān, cǐ yì fēi zhī zhì yě.—and then fly about among the brushwood and bushes; and this is the perfection of flying. (JL)-I hover between the low bushes and plants, which is also a method of flying. (NC)-after flying around among the reeds. That is as much as any one would want to fly. (LY)
WRH: 至zhì—the extreme.
而彼且奚适也?’”此小大之辩也。--ér bǐ qiě xī shì yě?” cǐ dà xiǎo zhī biàn yě.—Where is that creature going to?” This shows the difference between the small and the great. (JL)-Then where does it think it’s going?” This is the debate between what’s small and what’s large. (NC)-wherever can this creature be going to?” Such, indeed, is the difference between small and great. (LY)
WRH: 辩biàn—difference.
故夫知效一官、行比一乡—gù fū zhī xiào yī guān, xíng bǐ yī xiāng—Thus it is that men, whose wisdom is sufficient for the duties of some one office, or whose conduct will secure harmony in some ne district, (JL)-Therefore, a person might have the knowledge to run an office, to run a business in a small town, (NC)-Take, for instance, a man who creditably fills some small office, or whose influence spreads over a village, (LY)
WRH: 知zhī—intelligence; 行xíng—conduct; 比bǐ—compared to; 乡xiāng—a town of 3,600 families.
德合一君、而征一国者—dé hé yī jūn、néng zhēng yī guó zhě—or whose virtue is befitting a ruler so that they could efficiently govern some one state, (JL)-to cater to a famous person, or campaign to run for political office. (NC)-or whose character pleases a certain prince. (LY)
WRH: 合hé—to conform to…; 而néng—does not pronounce as “ér”, it means “capability” here. 征zhēng—winning trust.
其自视也,亦若此矣。-- qí zì shì yě, yì ruò cǐ yǐ.—are sure to look on themselves in this manner (like the quail). (JL)-At least, that’s the opinion they have of themselves. (NC)-His opinion of himself will be much the same as that lake sparrow’s. (LY)
而宋荣子犹然笑之—ér song róng zǐ yóu rán xiào zhī—and yet Rongzi of Song would have smiled and laughed at them. (JL)-Yet Song Rongzi (a philosopher who taught simple living) is still laughing at them. (NC)-The philosopher Yung Of Song would laugh at such a one.
WRH: 之zhī—it refers to four kind of persons mentioned in the foregoing.
且举世誉之而不加劝—qiě jǔ shì yù zhī ér bù jiā quàn—(This Rongzi), though the whole world should have praised him, would not for that have stimulated himself to greater endeavor, (JL)-If the whole world praised him, he wouldn’t think he’d lost any ground. (NC)-If the whole world flattered him, he would not be affected thereby, (LY)
WRH: 劝quàn—it doesn’t mean “to persuade”, but “working harder”.
举世非之而不加沮-- jǔ shì fēi zhī ér bù jiā jǔ—and though the whole world should have condemned him, would not have exercised any more repression of his course; (JL)-If the whole world opposed him, he wouldn’t think he’d lost any ground. (NC)-nor if the whole world blamed him would he be dissuaded from what he was doing. (LY)
WRH: 沮jǔ—being dejected, depressed.
定乎内外之分—ding hū nèi wài zhī fēn—so fixed was he in the difference between the internal (judgment of himself) and the external (judgment of others), (JL)-He was comfortable with accepting the difference between what was within him and how he was perceived from the outside. (NC)-For Rong can distinguish between essence and superficialities, (LY)
WRH: 内nèi—things inside him; 外wài—things outside him, honor or dishonor are things extrinsic.
辩乎荣辱之境,斯已矣。-- biàn hū róng rǔ zhī jìng, sī yǐ yǐ—so distinctly had he marked ut the bounding limit of glory and disgrace. (JL)-He’d gotten rid of the idea of arguing about the differences between honor and dishonor. (NC)-and understand what is true honor and shame. (LY)
WRH: 斯已矣sī yǐ yǐ—only so much, that is enough.
彼其于世,未数数然也。-- bǐ qí yú shì, wèi shuò shuò rán yě—Here, however, he stopped. His place in the world indeed had become indifferent to him. (JL)-He didn’t evaluate his future life on those things. (NC)-Such men are rare in their generation. (LY)
WRH: 数数shuò shuò—should not be pronounced as “Shù shù”, means to pursue, to go after something.
虽然,犹有未树也。-- suī rán, yóu yǒu wèi shù yě—but still he had not planted himself firmly (in the right position). (JL)-Even now, he still isn’t seen as someone who really established anything. (NC)-But even he has not established himself. (LY)
夫列子御风而行,泠然善也,-- fū liè zǐ yù fēng ér xíng, ling rán shàn yě—There was Liezi, who rode on the wind and pursued his way, with an admirable indifference (to all external things), (JL)-Lie Zi could travel on the wind as though he was comfortably driving a chariot for …(NC)-Now Liezi could ride upon he wind. Sailing happily in the cool breeze, (LY)
WRH: 列子 liè zǐ—a thinker from the State of Zheng in the Warring States Period; 泠然ling rán—doesn’t mean being indifferent, but meaning in a light and graceful carriage.
旬有五日而后反.—xún yǒu wǔ rìér hòu fǎn—returning, however, after fifteen days, (to his place). (JL)-…fifteen days before returning. (NC)-he would go on for fifteen days before his return. (LY)
WRH: 旬xún—ten days; 有yǒu—plus or and.
彼于致福者,未数数然也.—bǐ yú zhì fú zhě, wèi shuò shuò rán yě—In regard to the things that (are supposed to) contribute to happiness, he was free from all endeavours to obtain them; (JL)-Those who could reach that kind of bliss are rare. (NC)-Among mortals who attain happiness, such a man is rare. (LY)
WRH: 彼bǐ—refers to Liezi; 致zhì—pursue; 未数数然也wèi shuò shuò rán yě—didn’t make an effort to obtain.
此虽免乎行,犹有所待者也(63)。-- cǐ suī miǎn hū xíng, yóu yǒu suǒ dài zhě yě—but though he had not to walk, there was still something for which he had to wait. (JL)-Even though in that way he could dispense with walking, to some extent he had to wait for something. (NC)-Yet although Liezi could dispense with walking, he would still have to depend upon something. (LY)
WRH: 待dài—to rely on, not to wait.
若夫乘天地之正,而御六气之辩,-- ruò fū chéng tiān dì zhī zhèng, ér yù liù qì zhī biàn,--But suppose one who mounts on (the ether of) heaven and earth in its normal operation, and drives along the six elemental energies of the changing (seasons), (JL)-What if a person could ride on the course of the sky and the earth, and manage the six disagreeable energies, (NC)-As for one who is charioted upon the eternal fitness of Heaven and Earth, driving before him the changing elements as his team to…(LY)
WRH: 正zhèng—the essentiality of nature; 六气liù qì—the six energies are: shady, sunny, windy, rainy, dark and bright nature; 辩biàn—as 变,meaning change.
以游无穷者,彼且恶乎待哉?-- yǐ yóu wú qióng zhě, bǐ qiě wū hū dài zāi?--thus enjoying himself in the illimitable-what has he to wait for? (JL)-traveling without becoming exhausted-that would show how awful it is to have to depend on anything! (NC)-…as his team to roam through the realms of the Infinite, upon what, then, would such a one have need to depend? (LY)
WRH: 无穷者wú qióng zhě—the endless universe; 恶乎wū hū—what to (depend on), meaning “no need to depend on anything.”
故曰:至人无己,神人无功,圣人无名。 -- gù yuē: zhì rén wú jǐ, shén rén wú gōng, shèng rén wú míng—Therefore it is said, ‘The Perfect man has no (thought of) self; the Spirit-like man, none of merit; the Sagely-minded man, none of fame.’ (JL)-So it’s been said: a perfected person is without a sense of self. A spiritual person is without a sense of achievement. A wise person is without a sense of entitlement. (NC)-Thus it is said, “The perfect man ignores self; the divine man ignores achievement; the true Sage ignores reputation.” (LY)
WRH: 至人zhì rén—a perfect man; 神人shén rén—a divine person; 圣人shèng rén—a sacred man.
尧让天下于许由,曰:“日月出矣,而爝火不息;-- yáo rang tiān xià yú xǔ yóu, yuē: “rì yuè chū yǐ, ér jué huǒ bù xī—Yao, proposing to resign the throne to Xu You, said, “When the sun and moon have come forth, if the torches have not been put out,(JL)-Yao tried to give over the world to Xu You, saying: “When the sun and moon come out, yet the light bulbs keep on burning, (NC)-The Emperor Yao wished to abdicate in favor of Xu You, saying, “If, when the sun and moon are shining, the torch is still lighted, (LY)
WRH: 爝火jué huǒ—a torch.
其于光也,不亦难乎?-- qí yú guāng yě, bù yì nán hū?—would it not be difficult for them to give light? (JL)-doesn’t their brightness seem unnecessary! (NC)-would it be not difficult for the latter to shine? (LY)
时雨降矣,而犹浸灌;-- shí yǔ jiàng yǐ, ér yóu jìn guan;--When the seasonal rains are coming down, if we still keep watering the ground, (JL)-When the rain starts pouring, and yet one keeps watering the plants, (NC)-If, when the rain has fallen, one should still continue to water the fields, (LY)
其于泽也,不亦劳乎?-- qí yú zé yě, bù yì láo hū?—will not our toil be labor lost for all the good it will do? (JL)-doesn’t all that work just creat a swamp! (NC)-would this not be a waste of labor? (LY)
WRH: 泽zé—moisture of the land.
夫子立而天下治,而我犹尸之;-- fū zǐ lì ér tiān xià zhì, ér wǒ yóu shī zhī;--Do you, Master, stand forth (as sovereign), and the kingdom will (at once) be well governed. If I still (continue to) preside over it, (JL)-A ruler can just stand aside when the whole world is peacefully governed. Since any opinions I come up with seem to be coming from a statue, (NC)-Now if you would assume the reins of government, the empire would be well governed, and yet I am filling this office. (LY)
WRH:立lì—to assume the position; 尸shī—one to who sacrifices are offered to, here it means to have occupied the position and accomplished nothing.
吾自视缺然,请致天下。”—wú zì shì quē rán, qǐng zhì tiān xià.—I must look on myself as vainly occupying the place-I beg to resign the throne to you.” (JL)-I don’t even know what I’m doing here. Please take over the world.” (NC)-I am conscious of my own deficiencies, and I beg to offer you the Empire.” (LU)
WRH: 自视zì shì—I know myself; 缺然quē rán—my ability is not enough; 致zhì—to give.
许由曰:“子治天下,-- xǔ yóu yuē: “zǐ zhì tiān xià,--Xu You said, “You, Sir, govern the kingdom, (JL)-Xu You replied: “You, Sir, govern the world, (NC)-Xu You replied, “You are ruling the Empire, (LY)
天下既已治也;而我犹代子,-- tiān xià jì yǐ zhì yě; ér wǒ yóu dài zǐ,--and the kingdom is well governed. If I in these circumstances take your place, (JL)-so the world is already governed. If my opinions mirrored yours, (NC)-and the Empire is already well ruled. Why should I take your place? (LY)
WRH: 犹yóu—under such circumstances; 代dài—to replace.
吾将为名乎?名者,实之宾也;-- wú jiāng wéi míng hū? Míng zhě, shí zhī bīn yě;--shall I not be doing so for the sake of the name? But the name is but the guest of the reality; (JL)-A mouthpiece simply goes along with what’s already ordained. (NC)-Should I do this for the sake of a name? A name is but the shadow of reality, (LY)
WRH: 实shí—facts; 宾bīn—secondary, derivative.
吾将为宾乎?鹪鹩巢于深林,-- wú jiāng wéi bīn hū? Jiāo liáo cháo yú shēn lín,--Shall I be playing the part of the guest? The tailor-bird makes its nest in the deep forest, (JL)-Would ay opinions I came up with on my own become subject to your approval? A wren makes its nest deep in the trees, (NC)-and should I trouble myself about the shadow? The tit, building its nest in the mighty forest, (LY)
不过一枝;偃鼠饮河(14),不过满腹.—bù guò yī zhī, yǎn shū yín hé, bù guò mǎn fū.—but only uses a single branch; the mole drinks from the river, but only takes what fills its belly. (JL)-only occupying one branch. A small furry animal drinks from the river, but only enough to slake his thirst. (NC)-occupies but a single twig. The beaver slakes its thirst from the river, but drinks enough only to fill its belly. (LY)
归休乎君,予无所用天下为!-- guī xiū hū jūn, yú wú suǒ yòng tiān xià wéi!—Return and rest in being ruler- I will have nothing to do with the throne. (JL)-Return to the comfort of being king. You might want to give me the world, but it wouldn’t be of any use to me! (NC)-I would rather go back: I have no use for the empire!(LY)
WRH: 休xiū—stop thinking so, give up this idea; 予无所用yú wú suǒ yòng—it is useless for me; 为wéi—an interrogative adverb.
庖人虽不治庖,尸祝不越樽俎而代之矣!” – páo rēn suī bù zhì páo, shī zhòu bù yuè zūn zǔ ér dài zhī yǐ!—Though the cook were not attending to his kitchen, the representative of the dead and the officer of prayer would not leave their cups and stands to take his place.” (JL)-If a proper chef isn’t in charge of the kitchen, there’d only be a corpse left around to accept gratitude for the wine and prepared food.” (NC)- If the cook is unable to prepare the funeral sacrifices, the representative of the worshiped spirit and the officer of prayer may not step over the wines and meats and do it for him.” (LY)
WRH: 尸祝shī zhòu—the one who preside over the sacrificial ceremony.
肩吾问于连叔曰:- jiān wú wèn yú lián shū yuē:--Jian Wu asked Lian Shu, saying, (JL)-Jian Wu asked of Lian Shu: (NV)-Jian Wu said to Lian Shu (LY)
“吾闻言于接舆(20),大而无当(21),往而不反(22)。-- “wú wén  yán yú jiē yú, dà ér wú dāng , wǎng ér bù fǎn.-- “I heard Jie Yu talking words which were great, but had nothing corresponding to them (in reality); once gone, they could not be brought back. (JL)-“I heard something from Jie Yu that sounds really great but impractical. He rambled on but none of it made any sense. (NC)-“I heard Jie Yu: talk on high and fine subjects endlessly. (LY)
WRH: 当dāng—a top; 反fǎn—same as “返“, going back.
吾惊怖其言。-- wú jīng bù qī yán.—I was frightened by them; (JL)-I was surprised and horrified by what he said. (NC)-I was greatly startled at what he said, (LY)
犹河汉而无极也(23);-- yóu hé hàn ér wú jí yě;--they were like the Milky Way which cannot be traced to its beginning or end. (JL)-It seemed like empty talk that went nowhere. (NC)-for his words seemed interminable as the Milky Way, but they are quite detached from our common human experience. (LY)
大有迳庭,不近人情焉。--dà yǒu jìng tíng, bù jìn rén qíng yān—They had no connexion with one another, and were not akin to the experiences of men. (JL)-It was like it was just meant to make him appear to know something, but had nothing to do with what people actually go through in their lives.” (NC)-[can not find anything equivalent to the original in LY’s version.]
WRH: 迳jìng—a small path outside a door; 庭tíng-- land outside a hall; when these two words are used together, it means “a big difference.”
连叔曰:“其言谓何哉?”-- lián shū yuē: “qī yán wèi hé zāi?”—“What were his words?” asked Lian Shu, (JL)-Lian Shu asked: “What did he say?” (NC)-“What was it?” Lian Shu asked. (LY)
曰:“藐姑射之山,有神人居焉。-- yuē: “miǎo gū yè zhī shān, yǒu shén rén jū yān.—and the other replied, (He said) that “Far away on the hill of Gu Ye there dwelt a Spirit-like man… (JL)-Wu replied: “He said there’s a holy man living in the Miao Gu She mountains. (NC)-“He declared” replied Jian Wu, “that on the Miao-ku-yi mountain there lives a divine one, (LY)
WRH: 藐miǎo—means “far away”, it is not part of the place name; 射yè—should not be pronounced as “shè” nor “yì”.
肌肤若冰雪,淖约若处子,-- jī fū ruò bīng xuě, chuò yuē ruò chú zǐ—whose flesh and skin were (smooth) as ice and (white) as snow; that his manner was elegant and delicate as that of a virgin(JL);-
His skin is like ice and snow-as soft and tender as a young maiden (NC).-whose skin is white like ice or snow, whose grace and elegance are like those of a virgin (LY).
WRH: 淖约chuò yuē-soft, tender yet nice looking; 处子 chú zǐ-a virgin.
不食五谷,吸风饮露,-- bù shí wǔ gǔ, xī fēng yǐn lù—that he did not eat any of the five grains, but inhaled the wind and drank the dew (JL);-He doesn’t eat what others eat, but inhales the wind and drinks the dew (NC);-who eats no grain, but lives on air and dew (LY).
乘云气,御飞龙,而游乎四海之外;-- chéng yún qì, yù fēi long, ér yóu hū sì hǎi zhī wài;--that he mounted on the clouds, drove along the flying dragons, rambling and enjoying himself beyond the four seas (JL);-He rides on the clouds, holding the reins of a flying dragon, and travels beyond the four seas (NV).-and who, riding on clouds with flying dragons for his team, roams beyond the limit’s of the mortal regions (LY).
其神凝,使物不疵疠而年谷熟—qí shén níng, shǐ wù bù cī lì ér nián gǔ shóu.—that by the concentration of his spirit-like powers he could save men from disease and pestilence, and secure every year a plentiful harvest. (JL)-His spirit is so concentrated that he can keep illness away from other creatures and make sure there’s a rich harvest every year. (NC)-When his spirit gravitates, he can ward off corruption from all things, and bring good crops. (LY)
WRH: 疵疠cī lì—illness or disasters.
吾以是狂而不信也。-- wú yǐ shì kuáng ér bù xìn yě.—These words appeared to me wild and incoherent and I did not believe them. (JL)-I think he’s nuts and don’t believe a word he says. (NC)-That is why I call it nonsense, and do not believe it.” (LY)
WRH: 以yǐ—to think, to regard as…; 狂kuáng—same as诳 (falsehood); 信xìn—to trust.
连叔曰:“然。瞽者无以与乎文章之观,-- lián shū yuē: “rán. gǔ zhě wú yǐ yú hū wén zhāng zhī guān,--“So it is,” said Lian Shu. ‘The blind have no perception of the beauty of elegant figures, (JL)-Lian Shu said, “No wonder. A blind person can’t participate in looking at paintings and tapestries. (NC)-“Well,” answered Lian Shu, “you don’t ask a blind man’s opinion of beautiful designs, (LY)
WRH: 瞽gǔ—the blind; 无以wú yǐ—with nothing; 与yú—to offer; 文章wén zhāng—the veins of the texture, the design; 观guān—the look.
聋者无以与乎钟鼓之声.-- lóng zhě wú yǐ yú hū zhōng gǔ zhī shēng.—nor the deaf of the sound of bells and drums. (JL)-A deaf person can’t participate in listening to chimes and drums. (NC)-nor do you invite a deaf man to a concert. (LY)
岂唯形骸有聋盲哉?夫知亦有之!-- qǐ wéi xíng hái yǒu long máng zāi?fú zhī yì yǒu zhī!--But is it only the bodily senses of which deafness and blindness can be predicated? There is also a similar defect in the intelligence; (JL)-Can’t the mind, as well as the body, experience deafness and blindness? So, knowledge can be affected that way as well. (NC)-And blindness and deafness are not physical only. There is blindness and deafness of the mind. (LY)
是其言也犹时女也.—shì qí yán yě yóu shí rǔ yě.—and of this your words supply an illustration in yourself. (JL)-Those words of his seem to have a gentle feminine approach. (NC)-His words are like the unspoiled virgin. (LY)
WRH: 时shí—this; 女rǔ—same as汝 old language, not “a virgin” or “feminine.” So, this sentence could be understood as: these words seem to have said about you.
之人也,之德也,将旁礴万物以为一,-- zhī rén yě, zhī dé yě, jiāng pang bō wàn wù yǐ wéi yī,--That man, with those attributes, though all things were one mass of confusion, (JL)-A person like that, with those virtues, would side with all living creatures-seeing them as all the same. (NC)-The good influence of such a man with such a character fills all creation. (LY)
WRH: 之zhī—this; 旁礴pang bō—the mixture of things; 一yī—a wholesomeness.
世蕲乎乱,孰弊弊焉以天下为事!-- shì qí hū luàn, shú bì bì yān yǐ tiān xià wéi shì!—and he heard in that condition the whole world crying out to him to be rectified, would not have to address himself laboriously to the task, as if it were his business to rectify the world. (JL)-This generation thrives on disorder-abuse and manipulation is what matter in the world! (NC)-Yet because a paltry generation cries for reform, you would have him busy himself about the details of an empire! (LY)
WRH: 蕲qí—to pray, to ask for; 乱luàn—it does not mean “disorder”, but “to put things in order”; 弊弊焉bì bì yān—being extremely busy.
之人也,物莫之伤:大浸稽天而不溺(35),-- zhī rén yě, wù mò zhī shāng : dà jìn jītiān ér bù nì,--Nothing could hurt that man; the greatest floods, reaching to the sky, could not drown him, (JL)-No living thing would harm a person like that. A great flood sent down from the sky wouldn’t drown him. (NC)-Objective existences cannot harm. In a flood which reached the sky, he would not be drowned. (LY)
WRH: 大浸dà jìn—a big flood; 稽jī—to reach.
大旱金石流,土山焦而不热。-- dà hàn jīn shí liú, tǔ shān jiāo ér bù rè.—nor would he feel the fervor of the greatest heats melting metals and stones till they flowed, and scorching all the ground and hills. (JL)-A great flow of molten lava coming down from a mountain wouldn’t burn him. (NC)-In a drought, though metals ran liquid and mountains were scorched up, he would not be hot. (LY)
是其尘垢秕穅将犹陶铸尧舜者也,-- shì qí chén gòu bǐ kāng jiāng yóu táo zhù yáo shun zhě yě,--From the dust and chaff of himself, he could still mould and fashion Yaos and Shuns (JL)-Even though his dust, dirt and debris could be used to make a model for Yao and Shun, (NC)-Out of his very dust and siftings you might fashion two such men as Yao and Shun. (LY)
孰肯以物为事?”—shú kěn yǐ wù wéi shì?”—how should he be willing to occupy himself with things?’ (JL)-who would want to take on that job? (NC)-And you would have him occupy himself with objectives!” (LY)
宋人资章甫而适诸越,-- song rén zī zhāng fǔ ér shì zhū yuè,--A man of Song, who dealt in the ceremonial caps (of Yin), went with them to Yue, (JL)-“A merchant from the state of Song brought some badges and medals which he thought could be useful for various purposes to the people in the state of Yue. (NC)-A man of the Song State carried some ceremonial caps to the Yue tribes for sale. (LY)
WRH: 资zī—to sell; 章甫zhāng fǔ—a cap used by the people of Yin for ceremonies; 适shì—to go to.
越人断发文身,无所用之。-- yuè rén duàn fà wén shēn, wú suǒ yòng zhī.—the people of which cut off their hair and tattooed their bodies, so that they had no use for them. (JL)-The people from Yue shaved their heads and tattooed their bodies, so they had no place to put the badges. (NC)-But the men of Yue used to cut off their hair and paint their bodies, so that they had no use for such things. (LY)
尧治天下之民,平海内之政,-- yáo zhì tiān xià zhī mín, ping hǎi nèi zhī zhèng,--Yao ruled the people of the kingdom, and maintained a perfect government within the four seas. (JL)-Yao ruled all the people in the world and governed the four seas. (NC)-The Emperor Yao ruled all under heaven and governed the affairs of the entire country. (LY)
往见四子藐姑射之山,汾水之阳,-- wǎng jiàn sì zǐ miǎo gū shè zhī shān, fén shuǐ zhī yang,--Having gone to see the four (Perfect) Ones on the distant hill of Gu Ye, when (he returned to his capital) on the south of the fen Water, (JL)-He went to see the four respected Masters in the Miao Gu She mountains, in a remote and obscure area north of the Fen River. (NC)-After he paid a visit to the four sages of the Miao Ku Yi Mountain, he felt on his return to his capital at Fenyang (LY)
WRH: 射shè—should not be pronounced as “yè”, which was used in herbal medicine or official titles, nor should it be pronounced as “yì”, which is only used in music or a kind of bell; 汾水之阳fén shuǐ zhī yang—facing the sun of a river, it should be the northern bank, not the southern bank; for a mountain or hill, the sunny side should be the southern side.
窅然丧其天下焉.—yǎo rán sang qí tiān xià yān—his throne appeared no more to his deep-sunk oblivious eyes. (JL)-While he was there, he mourned for the rest of the world.” (NC)-that the empire existed for him no more. (LY)
WRH: 窅然yǎo rán—a distracted look. 丧sang—have forgotten. This sentence means that after he saw the four sages, he was so distracted that he forgot about the empire he had to administer.
惠子谓庄子曰:“魏王贻我大瓠之种,我树之成,而实五石。-- huì zǐ wèi zhuāng zǐ yuē, “wèi wáng yí wǒ dà hù zhī zhǒng, wǒ shù zhī chéng, ér shí wǔ dàn.—Huizi told Zhuangzi, saying, “The king of Wei sent me some seeds of a large calabash, which I sowed. The fruit, when fully grown, could contain five piculs (of anything). (JL)-Huizi said to Zhuangzi: “The King of Wei gave me the seeds from a huge gourd. I managed to get the seeds to sprout, and the fruit on the plants grew to about seventeen cubic feet. (NC)-Huizi said to Zhuangzi, “The Prince of Wei gave me a seed of a large-sized kind of gourd. I planted it, and it bore a fruit as big as a five bushel measure. (LY)
WRH: 惠子huì zǐ—named Hui Shi from the State of Song, was once Prime Minister of King Hui of Liang, a friend of Zhuangzi. In this writing, his name is used for fable stories. 魏王wèi wáng-- King Hui of Liang; 贻yí—to give;
树shù—to plant; 实shí—the fruit. 石dàn—a weight measuring unit, pronounces as dàn, not “shī”.
以盛水浆,其坚不能自举也.—yǐ chéng shuǐ jiāng, qí jiān bù néng zì jǔ yě.—I used it to contain water, but it was so heavy that I could not lift it by myself. (JL)-When they’re filled with any liquid they’re strong enough, but too heavy for me to pick up. (NC)-Now had I used this for holding liquids, it would have been too heavy to lift; (LY)
剖之以为瓢,则瓠落无所容。-- pōu zhī yǐ wéi piáo, zé hù luò wú suǒ róng.—I cut it in two to make the parts into drinking vessels; but the dried shells were too wide and unstable and would not hold (the liquor); (JL)-I sliced through them trying to make ladles, but they ended up so shallow they wouldn’t hold anything. (NC)-and had I cut it in half for ladles, the ladles would have been too flat for such purpose. (LY)
WRH: 瓠落hù luò—something really big.
非不呺然大也,吾为其无用而掊之。-- fēi bù xiāo rán dà yě, wú wéi qí wú yòng ér pǒu zhī.—nothing but large useless things! Because of their uselessness I knocked them to pieces.” (JL)-It’s not that they weren’t impressive for their size, but I couldn’t find any use for them, so I threw them away.” (NC)-Certainly it was a huge thing, but I had no use for it and so broke it up.” (LY)
WRH: 呺然xiāo rán—something big with its inside empty; 掊pǒu—to smash.
庄子曰:“夫子固拙于用大矣。-- zhuāng zǐ yuē: “fū zǐ gù zhuō yú yòng dà yǐ.—Zhuangzi replied, “You were indeed stupid, my master, in the use of what was large. (JL)-Zhuangzi replied, “Sir, you’re very awkward when it comes to finding a use for large things. (NC)-“It was rather you did not know how to use large things,” replied Zhuangzi. (LY)
WRH: 固拙gù zhuō—really empty-headed.
宋人有善为不龟手之药者,世世以洴澼絖为事。-- song rén yǒu shàn wéi bù jūn shǒu zhī yào zhě, shì shì yǐ ping pì kuàng wéi shì.—There was a man of Song who was skillful at making a salve which kept the hands from getting chapped; and (his family) for generations had made the bleaching of cocoon-silk their business. (JL)-There was a guy in Song who invented a salve that could cure chapped hands. For generations it was used by those who were employed at washing and bleaching silk. (NC)-There was a man of Song who had a recipe for salve for chapped hands, his family having been silk-washers for generations. (LY)
WRH: 龟jūn—reads as “jūn”, not “guí”, means skin chaps; 洴澼ping pì—to bleach; 絖kuàng—cocoon silk.
客闻之,请买其方百金。-- kè wén zhī, qǐng mǎi qí fāng bǎi jīn. –A stranger heard of it, and proposed to buy the art of the preparation for a hundred ounces of silver. (JL)-A visitor heard about it, and asked to buy the recipe for a hundred pieces of gold. (NC)-A stranger who had heard of it came and offered him a hundred ounces of silver for this recipe; (LY)
聚族而谋曰:‘我世世为洴澼絖,-- jù zú ér móu yuē: “wǒ shì shì wéi ping pì kuàng,--The kindred all came together, and considered the proposal. “We have, “ said they, “been bleaching cocoon-silk for generations, (JL)-The people of community got together to discuss the proposition and said: ‘We’ve been washing and bleaching silk for generations, (NC)-whereupon he called his clansmen and said, ‘We have never made much money by silk-washing. (LY)
不过数金,今一朝而鬻技百金,-- bù guò shù jīn, jīn yī zhāo ér yù jì bǎi jīn—and have only gained a little money. Now in one morning we can sell to this man our art for a hundred ounces (JL)-not getting more than a few pieces of gold for all our effort. Now in one day we can sell this recipe for a hundred pieces of gold. (NC)-Now, we can sell the recipe for a hundred ounces in a single day. (LY)
请与之。’客得之,以说吴王。-- qǐng yú zhī. kè dé zhī, yǐ shuì wú wáng.—let him have it.” The stranger accordingly got it and went away with it to give counsel to the King of Wu, (JL)-Let’s please give it to him,’ The visitor got it, and went to tell the King of Wu. (NC)-Let the stranger have it.’ “The stranger got the recipe, and wnet and had an interview with the Prince of Wu. (LY)
越有难,吴王使之将,-- yuè yǒu nàn, wú wáng shǐ zhī jiàng, --who was then engaged in hostilities with Yue. The king gave him the command of his fleet, (JL)-Since the state of Yue was having difficulties at the moment, the King of Wu made him a commander in the army. (NC)-The Yue state was in trouble, and the Prince of Wu sent a general to fight a naval battle with Yue at the beginning of winter. (LY)
WRH: 难nàn—making trouble for Wu; 将jiàng—don’t read as “jiáng”, it means here to head up an army. The stranger is now a commander.
冬,与越人水战,大败越人。-- dōng, yú yuè rén shǔi zhàn, dà bài yuè rén.—and in the winter he had an engagement with that of Yue, on which he inflicted a great defeat, (JL)-That winter they wnet into battle at sea with the people of the state of Yue, and utterly defeated Yue’s armies, (NC)-…The latter was totally defeated, (LY)
裂地而封之。能不龟手一也,或以封,-- liè dì ér fēng zhī. Néng bù jūn shǒu yī yě, huò yǐ fēng, --and was invested with a portion of territory taken from Yue. The keeping  the hands from getting chapped was the same in both cases; but in the one case it led to the investiture (of the possessor of the salve), (JL)-so he was given a large piece of land in the conquered territory along with a title. The ability to prevent chapped hands is one thing. Perhaps it can be used to gain a title; (NC)-and the stranger was rewarded with a piece of the King’s territory. Thus, while the efficacy of the salve to cure chapped hands was in both cases the same, its applications were different. Here, it secured a title; (LY)
或不免于洴澼絖,则所用之异也。-- huò bù miǎn yú ping pì kuàng , zé suǒ yòng  zhī yì yě.—and in the other it had only enabled itw owners to continue their bleaching. The difference of result was owing to the different use made of the art. (JL)-perhaps it can be used by those who wash and clean silk. There are different ways it can be useful. (NC)-there, the people remained silk-washers.
今子有五石之瓠,何不虑以为大樽,-- jīn zǐ yǒu wǔ dàn zhī hù, hé bù lǜ yǐ wéi dà zūn, --Now, you, Sir, had calabashes large enough to hold five piculs; why did you not think of making large bottle-gourds of them, (JL)-Now, you have gourds that measure about seventeen cubic feet. Why not consider them as huge vats in which you could float down rivers and lakes, (NC)-Now as to your five-bushel gourd, why did you not make a float of it, (LY)
而浮于江湖,而忧其瓠落无所容?--ér fú yú jiāng hú, ér yōu qí hù luò wú suǒ róng?—by means of which you could have floated over rivers and lakes, instead of giving yourself the sorrow of finding that they were useless for holding anything. (JL)-…instead of worrying that they’re too flat to contain anything? (NC)-And you complain of its being too flat for holding things! (LY)
则夫子犹有蓬之心也夫!”—zé fū zǐ yōu yǒu péng zhī xīn yě fū!—Your mind, my master, would seem to have been closed against all intelligence!” (JL)-Well, sir, it seems that you’ve grown up with fluff in your brain!” (NC)-I fear your mind is stuffy inside.” (LY)
WRH: 有蓬之心yǒu péng zhī xīn—a heart/mind that is stuffed with grass.
惠子谓庄子曰:“吾有大树,人谓之樗。-- huì zǐ wèi zhuāng zǐ yuē, “wú yǒu dà shù, rén wèi zhī chū.—Huizi said to Zhuangzi, “I have a large tree, which men call the Ailanthus. (JL)-Huizi said to Zhuangzi, “I have a large tree people call the Ailanthus. (NC)-Huizi said to Zhuangzi, “I have a large tree, called the Ailanthus. (LY)
其大本拥肿而不中绳墨,-- qí dà běn yōng zhǒng ér bù zhòng shéng mò—Its trunk swells out to a large size, but is not fit for a carpenter to apply his line to it; (JL)-Its huge trunk is covered with so many knotty lumps that a carpenter’s measuring tools couldn’t find the middle of it. (NC)-Its trunk is so irregular and knotty that it cannot be measured out for planks; (LY)
WRH: 本běn—the trunk; 中zhòng—reads as “zhòng”, not “zhōng”, meaning to conform to something. 绳墨shéng mò—a carpenter’s tool to take a straight line.
其小枝卷曲而不中规矩,-- qí xiǎo zhī juǎn qū ér bù zhòng guī ju—its small branches are knotted and crooked, so that the disk and square cannot be used on them. (JL)-Its small branches are so bent that a carpenter’s ruler couldn’t measure them. (NC)-while its branches are so twisted that they cannot be cut out into discs or squares. (LY)
WRH: 规矩guī ju—a compass and a square that can not be used.
立之涂,匠人不顾。-- lì zhī tú, jiàng rén bù gù.—Though planted on the wayside, a builder would not turn his head to look at it. (JL)-It stands there spreading out in so many directions that a woodsman wouldn’t even take notice of it. (NC)-It stands by the roadside, but no carpenter will look at it. (LY)
今子之言大而无用,众所同去也。”-- jīn zǐ zhī yán dà ér wú yòng, zhòng suǒ tong qù yě.—Now your words, Sir, are great, but of no use-all unite in putting them away from them.” (JL)-Just now, sir, you used words that are so big and useless most people would ignore them.” (NC)-Your words are like that tree—big and useless, of no concern to the world.” (LY)
庄子曰:“子独不见狸狌乎?-- zhuāng zǐ yuē: “zǐ dú bù jiàn lí shēng hū?—Zhuangzi replied, “Have you never seen a wildcat or weasel? (JL)-Zhuangzi replied, “Sir, haven’t you ever watched a lone bobcat or weasel? (NC)-“Have you never seen a wild cat,” rejoined Zhuangzi, (LY)
卑身而伏,以候敖者;--bēi shēn ér fú, yǐ hóu áo zhě;--There it lies, crouching and low, till the wanderer approaches; (JL)-It stays low to the ground, crouching down, waiting for something to unwittingly stroll by. (NC)-“crouching down in wait for its prey? (LY)
WRH: 敖áo—same as 遨, meaning to travel or roam.
东西跳梁,不辟高下;-- dōng xī tiào liáng, bù bì gāo xià;--east and west it leaps about, avoiding neither what is high nor what is low, (JL)-Jumping up high in all directions, not being able to avoid what is above or below, (NC)-Right and left and high and low, it springs about, (LY)
中于机辟,死于罔罟。-- zhōng yú jī bì, sǐ yú  wǎng gǔ.—till it is caught in a trap, or dies in a net. (JL)-Preoccupied with a sense of invulnerability, it then gets snared and dies in a hunter’s net. (NC)-until it gets caught in a trap or dies in a snare. (LY)
WRH: 机辟jī bì—a trap; 罔罟wǎng gǔ—a general term for net.
今夫斄牛,其大若垂天之云。-- jīn fū lì níu, qí dà ruò chuí tiān zhī yún.—Again there is the Yak, so large that it is like a cloud hanging in the sky. (JL)-Then there’s the adult yak, which seems to be as big as a cloud in the sky. (NC)-On the other hand, there is the yak with its great huge body. (LY)
WRH: 斄lì—a yak.
此能为大矣,而不能执鼠。-- cǐ néng wéi dà yǐ, ér bù néng zhí shǔ.—It is large indeed, but it can not catch mice. (JL)-It’s really huge! Yet it can’t even catch a mouse. (NC)-It is big enough in all conscience, but it cannot catch mice. (LY)
今子有大树,患其无用,何不树之于无何有之乡,-- jīn zǐ yǒu dà shù, huàn qí wú yòng, hé bù shù zhī yú wú hé yǒu zhī xiāng,--You, Sir, have a large tree and are troubled because it is of no use-why do you not plant it in a tract where there is nothing else, (JL)-You, Sir, have a large tree, and are worried that it’s useless. Why not transplant the tree from your own neighborhood into the vast wilderness. (NC)-Now if you have a big tree and are at a loss what to do with it, why not plant it in the Village of Nowhere, (LY)
WRH: 无何有之乡wú hé yǒu zhī xiāng—a piece of barren land.
广莫之野,彷徨乎无为其侧,逍遥乎寝卧其下。-- guǎng mò zhī yě, pang huáng hū wú wéi qí cè, xiāo yáo  hū qǐn wò qí xià.—or in a wide and barren wild? There you might saunter idly by its side, or in the enjoyment of untroubled ease sleep beneath it. (JL)-There you could pace back and forth next to it and go to sleep. (NC)-in the great wilds, where you might loiter idly by its side, and lie down in blissful repose beneath its shade? (LY)
不夭斤斧(37),物无害者,无所可用,安所困苦哉!” – bù yāo jīn fǔ, wù wú hài zhě, wú suǒ kě yòng, ān suǒ kùn kǔ zāi!—Neither bill nor axe would shorten its existence; there would be nothing to injure it. What is there in its uselessness to cause you distress?” (JL)-Neither an ax nor hatchet would threaten its existence. It would be out of harm’s way. What’s truly useless should be able to get some peace and quiet!” (NC)-There it would be safe from the axe and from all other injury. For being of no use to others, what could worry its mind?” (LY)
WRH: 夭yāo—to die earlier; 斤jīn—a tool to fell trees in the old times.