Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Chuang Tzu's Dream

This has been one of my favorite quotes:

"Once I dreamed I was a butterfly, and now I no longer know whether I am Chuang Tzu, who dreamed I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly dreaming that I am Chuang Tzu."
~Chuang Tzu


Eliyahu ben Avraham vaSarah said...

That is a nice one. It brings to mind the passage in Through the Looking-Glass in which Alice isn't sure wether she is dreaming or if she's just part of the White King's dream.

George Breed said...

A delicious quote.

Once I dreamed I was dreaming, and now I no longer know if I am dreaming that I am dreaming, or if I am merely dreaming.

Then the cat sat on my chest, staring into my face, and I got up and fed him.

George Breed said...

Thought you might like this quote.

"In the absence of an effective general mythology, each of us has his private, unrecognized, rudimentary, yet secretly potent pantheon of dream. The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change." -- Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

H~ said...

Perhaps it should be titled "The Butterfly's Dream" ;-)

Rob said...

A King dreamt that he was a pauper.
When the King awoke he asked a sage, "Which is reality- am I a King or a pauper?"
The sage replied, "Neither, both are a dream."

Castor said...

There is no dreamer. There is only a dream. I am the dream.

Pollux said...

I am Castor's dream brother.
Together we are a nightmare.

The Vessel said...

I want to play the dream quote game. Here you go.

"That which the dream shows is the shadow of such wisdom as exists in man, even if during his waking state he may know nothing about it.... We do not know it because we are fooling away our time with outward and perishing things, and are asleep in regard to that which is real within ourself." -- Paracelsus, quoted in The Dream Game

ian g. said...

I am reminded of that line in "The Fly" when Jeff Goldblum says "I'm an insect who dreamt he was a man, but now that dream is over".

That line wiped me out, coming as it did at a certain point in my life when one of my own dreams came to an end.

Sophia said...

Eliyahu ben Avraham vaSarah,

Would you believe me if I told you I've never read Alice in Wonderland, nor have I read Through the Looking Glass? However, when I was in high school, I played the March Hare in the play. :) But I don't remember anything from the play, not even my lines or song.

Sophia said...


Meanwhile, while you're dreaming of a cat sitting on your chest waking you up, your cat is dreaming of you dreaming of him getting on your chest and waking you up in order to feed him.

Sophia said...

Hey George,

I do like that quote! As far as I'm concerned, the light can turn green because I sure would like the story of Beauty and the Beast to be continued. :)

Sophia said...


Interesting perspective. (Or interesting observation.) :)

Sophia said...

Thanks, Rob! I think I might just make a post soon about different quotes in which dreams are the central character.

Sophia said...

Castor and Pollux,

Hmmmm.... I've been wondering about you two. ;)

Sophia said...


And here's to hoping our journey will wake us up to wisdom that might so far only exist in our dream state. I think it's safe to say we're on our way.

Sophia said...

Hi Rusty,

"The Fly". Now there's a good movie that I haven't seen in a while. Yes! That quote fits perfectly with this theme.

By the way, I'm wondering about your dream and why it had to come to an end? You don't have to tell me, but I'm still wondering. It seems that you still have many wonderful dreams alive since you are an artist and a musician. That's more dreams than I have currently. :) You have ambition.

Eliyahu ben Avraham vaSarah said...

I highly recommend both books. They are outstanding (with a slightly dark side to them both).

Aaron said...

Here's a related question to ponder: If a workman were sure to dream for 12 straight hours every night that he was a king, would he be just as happy as a king who dreamt for 12 hours every night that he was a workman?

(This question is attributed to Pascal.)

Rob said...

Stacey: Here is another quote which may be relevant for your forthcoming post! My spiritual teacher, speaking about the possibility of waking from the "sleep" of unconsciousness (i.e. our present unenlightened state), once said:

"What does a dream mean? It means you have been asleep. Wake up!"

Sophia said...

Eliyahu ben Avraham vaSarah,

Since you recommend them, I'll add them to my reading list. :)

Sophia said...


Is there an answer to the question or is it something people are still pondering?

I've been thinking on it, and I find it's hard to come up with a good response.

George Breed said...

I like Rob's quote of his teacher:

"What does a dream mean? It means you have been asleep. Wake up!"

Interpreting a dream is dreaming too!

Vino said...

Hi Stacey,

I was not accessible to any technology recently. Hence I was not able to comment. But I am happy to see the great response to your blog.

This sort of recurring ideas in the dream life and waking life occured to me. Right then when that thought occured I was so near to accept it as a fact from where I was thinking it.

But now I have a scientific explanation. Its the cautious sub-conscience which thinks like this when the mind experiences an event. Whether its in the waking life or the real life.


RedBark said...

If we are all one in the ultimate realty, then we are everything that we experience.

Zareba said...

We are the senses of the Cosmic All, with which it is able to experience itself...either lthat or we are fleas on Gaea, and she is preparing to take a flea bath.


We are the dream.