DAOIST ART OF LIFE
Emotions of a Sage in the Zhuangzi
A Daoist sage is considered an ideal and sacred being. A passage in the Zhuangzi implies that a sage feels no emotions. Because of the importance of emotions in human life, this passage has long been debated. This study proposes two interpretations of a sage’s emotions: i. The common people generally insist on their dispositions and judgments, which triggers emotions. Because a sage does not have this attitude, he does not feel the kind of emotions experienced by common people. ii. Nevertheless, a sage experiences emotions more abundantly because he effortlessly resonates with the situation, just as a mirror reflects an object as it is. A sage’s resonant emotions may appear passive, but they encompass activeness because a sage transforms others through resonance without harming them. This active passivity noted in a sage’s emotions can be considered the fundamental notion of Daoist ethics.
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