We know fewer things about Chuang-tzu than we do about Lao-tzu. The main source of information is once again Ssu-ma Ch'ien.
Chuang-tzu was born in today's Ho-nan province, in the village of Wei. He occupied a minor position in the administrative office of Ch'i-yuan. Apparently, he was a contemporary of Mencius, but what is peculiar is, in fact, that these two great polemists never met each other .
Ssu-ma Ch'ien writes about Chuan-tzu: "Chuang had made himself well acquainted with all the literature of his time, but preferred the views of Lao-tzu, and ranked himself among his followers, so that of the more than ten myriads of characters contained in his published writings the greater part are occupied with metaphorical illustrations of Lao's doctrines."
Even more, Chuang-tzu becomes an indefatigable critic of Confucius and of his disciples. His critical work brilliantly combines satire and sophism: "But Chuang was an admirable writer and skilful composer, and by his instances and truthful descriptions hit and exposed the Mohists and Literati. The ablest scholars of his day could not escape his satire nor reply to it, while he allowed and enjoyed himself with his sparkling, dashing style; and thus it was that the greatest men, even kings and princes, could not use him for their purposes."
1 -[Tchuang Tzu]
2 -[Tchuang Tzu : Zhuangzi, l'écrivain]