Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Punishing Heaven, Part 3

by Scott Bradley

We do not expect that any- and everyone can run a sub-four-minute-mile. Few have been gifted the physical body which can do so. We accept that only a few are able to understand relative physics or that which would displace it. How is it that we do not accept that things of the ‘spirit’ are not likewise so apportioned? Only in positing a Doer that Does, a ‘divine intervention’, could such a universality of attainment be conceived. Zhuangzi would impose no such metaphysic. (Just as he would not literally believe that Heaven punishes).

Awakening, if there is such an experience, is a purely human affair, the realization of humanity. But ‘humanity’ is itself a purely abstract concept. It is only individual humans that can be said to experience awakening, and every one of these is unique. It is for this reason that Zhuangzi tells us that the sage, by virtue of his understanding of the equality of all things, takes part in the diversity of ten thousand harvests, but in each he tastes one and the same purity of fully formed maturation. For to him each thing is just so, each thing is right, and so he enfolds them all within himself by affirming the rightness of each.

He understands that every enslavement is also an ennobling. The uniqueness of each thing is the sum of its unique limitations, for what is there in any thing, how ever positively affirmable, that is not also a limitation?

Note: At the conclusion of this miniseries, a link will be provided for those interested in downloading or printing the entire document replete with footnotes. If you want to catch up on parts of this or other series you've missed, go to Scott's Zhuangzi Index Page.

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