Zhuangzi’s monkeys


A man living with monkeys was about to feed them nuts.

“Morning three and night four,” he said.

All the monkeys were furious.

“Okay… morning four and night three then,” he said.

All the monkeys were delighted.


This is actually a story Zhuangzi used to scold (make fun) of people. He is saying that most people are like monkeys, easily manipulated.

When scolded, people get angry. When praised, people are joyful. But it’s all just words; there is no actual loss; yet the difference in emotions.

Just like the monkeys, it’s still seven nuts a day; there’s no actual loss. Yet the difference in emotions.


4 thoughts on “Zhuangzi’s monkeys

    1. Perception triggers emotion. Emotion distorts perception. Yet they are different events even if they are yoked together. The problem of wisdom is how to unyoke them. Thank you for your comment.

      1. Yes yes, so perception and the triggering emotion are the thinking mind, and the wisdom that unyokes them comes from the contemplative, infinite mind, if I understand what you’re saying.

      2. Yes, you can put it that way. The thinking mind generally perceives from the point of view of the ego and its ideologies, beliefs, dogmas… And so this thinking mind is attached to the ego and will recruit bodily emotion to defend its ideologies, beliefs, dogmas…
        The contemplative infinite mind has the advantage of dropping the ego and accompanying baggage. It is in a state more ready to confront truth and receive wisdom (depending on what is being contemplated upon).

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