Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Butterfly's Dream

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. (2, tr. Burton Watson 1968:49)
„Einst träumte Dschuang Dschou, dass er ein Schmetterling sei, ein flatternder Schmetterling, der sich wohl und glücklich fühlte und nichts wußte von Dschuang Dschou. Plötzlich wachte er auf: da war er wieder wirklich und wahrhaftig Dschuang Dschou. Nun weiß ich nicht, ob Dschuang Dschou geträumt hat, dass er ein Schmetterling sei, oder ob der Schmetterling geträumt hat, dass er Dschuang Dschou sei, obwohl doch zwischen Dschuang Dschou und dem Schmetterling sicher ein Unterschied ist. So ist es mit der Wandlung der Dinge."

"Schmetterlingstraum", published in Dschuang Dsï - Südliches Blütenland, Eugen Diederichs Verlag, p. 52

Zhuangzi / Zhuang Zhou


  1. Jams,
    herewith we are already two. Glad you like the thought.

  2. Once, on a summer day,
    A butterfly loved me.

    Now I am old and gray.
    But once I was pretty.
    Some men befriended me.
    It's gone and far away.

    But not the brief instant,
    The magical moment,
    A butterfly chose me
    And rested beside me.

    CPG (September 10, 2008)

  3. What if you slept?
    And what if,
    in your sleep
    you dreamed?

    And what if,
    in your dream,
    you went to heaven
    and there plucked
    a strange and
    beautiful flower?

    And what if,
    when you awoke,
    you had the flower
    in your hand?

    - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  4. Claude,
    this very butterfly will not have regretted his decision. :)
    Thank you for the poem.

    ... and thanks to you, too, S.E..
    I might smilingly welcome Zhuangzi's incarn... err ... infloweration in my hand ...