Zhuang Zi(369 B. C.~286 B. C.), with his given name as Zhou, was a key figure of Taoism following Lao Zi. He was born at the town of Meng (Northeast of the present-day Shangqiu, Henan Province) of the Song State.
He once worked as an official in a varnish free farm before resigning to lead a reclusive life.
The book bearing his name has 33 chapters survived. The traditional view is that Zhuang Zi penned the first seven “inner" chapters and his disciples and other thinkers contributed the other parts (the "outer" and “miscellaneous" chapters).
Similar to Lao Zi's philosophy, Zhuang Zi believed that the "Tao" is the origin of everything in the universe. However, the “Tao" Zhuang Zi referred to is an omnipresent and infinite concept in nature.
Zhuang Zi transformed Lao Zi's outlook on life into a spiritual realm of absolute freedom, a“free and easy wondering" state.
This state can be achieved, according to Zhuang Zi, through a variety of complicated introspective experiences rather than pursuing endless desires in society.
The experience of“xinzha(mindfasting)” means the freedom from all preoccupations, that is, an attitude free from materialism and a complete unity with nature.
By comparing the sophisticated and competitive social reality with the harmonious and tranquil nature, Zhuang Zi put forward the notion of "wuhua" (the transformation of things) and appealed to the return of one's suppressed soul back to nature.
Zhuang Zi's philosophy of worshipping the nature often leads to the pursuit of a personality of aloofness.
The philosophical basis of this aloofness is reiativism, that is, in his own words, “The universe and I came into being together; I and everything therein are One.”
Only through the equivalence of all things can one's real self fuse into the world, thus the spiritual emancipation of humanity can be achieved.