To dream of butterflies – Chuang Tzu



 To dream of butterflies – Chuang Tzu

Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi) was an early Taoist who lived around the 4th century BC.  I was going to write this down from memory but I got lazy tonight and do have a headache.  So here it is from Wikipedia and it is consistent with my memory of the brief story.  enjoy!

Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased.  He didn’t know he was Zhuangzi.  Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi.  But he didn’t know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi.  Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction!  This is called the Transformation of Things.

Every so often, this comes back to me from college days and a class on East Asian history.  This summer morning I saw the shadow, on the concrete walkway to my front door, of a butterfly in flight that flitted past me before I could get a good look at it.  It was almost a satori moment.

Here is the link if you want to read more:

You might also enjoy a brief essay from last night:

Also, here is a link to many beautiful photos by another blogger:

Tell all your friends to visit my blog.  Thanks much!


  1. I was watching dragon flies today and wondering what it would feel like to be them, flying above the trees and the valley, wondering if they could comprehend how big it was compared to them.

    1. Thanks Jennifer for your thoughts. Dragon flies are interesting creatures. Similarly, we humans are humbled when we consider the size of the universe.

      There is a very large anthill in the backyard. It has been there for the entire 10 years we have lived in our home. I have not destroyed it. It looks like a small mountain with 2 peaks or ridges to it. In the winter, snow coats the surface of it. And, after a rare summer thunder storm, the ants quickly repair any damage. (Accidentally, I have sometimes walked over an edge of it while doing yard work when something distracted me. Then there is a flurry of activity as the ants rush aound to repair the damage.)

      This anthill is part of the backyard’s mini ecosystem. In the summer, you can see lizards come by for a quick lunch on the red ants. Which I guess serves to keep the ants’ poplulation in check.

      Amazing world.

      1. It is truly an amazing world. Thanks for pulling me into the world of the ant hill. Would not want to be them when the lizards come around; but it is nice to see the balancing act of nature in action. 🙂

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