邯郸学步
Hán dān xué bù

Translation: A man from Handan learns how to walk.
Meaning: By imitating others, one can lose his own individuality.

Story
This proverb stems from the Zhuangzi 庄子, a collection of Taoist thinking allegedly compiled by Zhuang Zhou, a Chinese philosopher of the 4th century bce. Zhuang Zhou has been popularly known as Zhuangzi, the namesake of his book. He was a follower of Laozi, the founder of Daoism. Philosophically, the so-called Dao (dào 道) means the Way of the universe. While Laozi believed that the Way could only be understood without verbal explanation, Zhuangzi tried to explain it with allegories. The story that gave birth to this proverb is such an allegory.

Please Login to view this content. (Not a member? Join Today!)