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Discussion -> Linguistic issues -> what is 缘 in Zhuangzi ?

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2010-03-20 20:19:49what is 缘 in Zhuangzi ?
Posted by: danangI have looked for all the places where 缘 appear in Zhuangzi, and each time the translation seems quite different from your online dictionnary. For example in 齐物论 12. Any light ?

2010-03-21 05:56:05what is 缘 in Zhuangzi ?
Posted by: dsturgeon (Donald Sturgeon)Firstly, I should make clear that the short English dictionary entries that appear at the top of the dictionary page aren't mine, but come from the Unihan project. The advantage of this is that they give us an entry for virtually every character, no matter how obscure, but the disadvantage is that the entries often don't reflect the complexity of usage of the character in classical Chinese. The "CTP dictionary" entries are much more specific and detailed, but they have to be added manually one by one, so they don't exist yet for most characters. I've added one for 缘 now, so if you look at the dictionary page for it again you can see what I mean.

In the case of the Zhuangzi, I think many of the occurrences may fall under headings 4 and 5 of the new entry. In your example, "不缘道", I think 缘 means something like "follow", but in some other cases in the Zhuangzi it's less clear to me what the exact meaning is. The 《新译庄子读本》 glosses many of them as "顺应", and Legge (whose translation it is on the site) translates this variously as things like "accommodates himself to others" and "sympathy".

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