Chuang Tzu dreams he is a butterfly

1001 Tales told by the Master

Osho states that “all religions have been teaching that everything is a dream.”

Chuang Tzu dreaming

There is a beautiful story about Chuang Tzu, a great mystic of China.

One morning, sitting in his bed, he looked very sad. His disciples had never seen him so sad. And never after waking up had he remained in his bed, sitting. What had happened? Was he sick?

They gathered around and asked him, “Master, what is the matter?”

He said, “The matter is really difficult, I cannot solve it; perhaps you may be of some help. I will tell you what is the matter.

“In the night I dreamed that I had become a butterfly, and I was moving from one flower to another flower.”

The disciples said, “This is nothing to be sad about. In dreams we all do strange things; and this is not a bad thing, to be a butterfly – colourful, beautiful, moving from one juicy flower to another juicy flower.

“Why are you so worried?”

He said, “You have not heard the whole thing. The problem is, now I am awake and I am wondering whether Chuang Tzu dreamed that he is a butterfly, or now the butterfly has gone to sleep and is dreaming she is Chuang Tzu. Both are possible. If Chuang Tzu can dream that he is a butterfly, why can’t a butterfly dream that she is a Chuang Tzu?”

The disciples remained silent; there was no answer to it.

Chuang Tzu was pointing towards a certain phenomenon that all religions have been teaching – that everything is a dream.

Osho, From Death to Deathlessness – Answers to the Seekers of the Path, Ch 13, Q 1 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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