Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Punishing Heaven, Part 4

by Scott Bradley

All about, even now as I write, are birds of the sea, each species winning its survival in its own unique way. Pelicans, terns and boobies dive into the water from above. Cormorants dive and swim below. Gulls complain and scrounge. The magnificent frigates bully and steal. Each fulfills its expression; each realizes its nature. Each realizes fulfillment within the limitations of its nature. None is better or worse then another.

And yet, here is a pelican with the occupational hazard of a broken wing. No longer able to dive from above, it begs from the fishermen, ever ready to toss the choicest bits, heads and guts, into the sea. It is a victim of heaven, yet finds its sustenance nonetheless. It transcends its limitations — though the limitations persist.

Likewise among men, the whole and the lame, the intelligent and the simple, the ‘spiritual’ and the earth-bound, each one is realized in the transcendence of his givens, and in each case that transcendence finds its own form. We sponsor the Olympics to showcase the fulfillment of the most physically endowed. Yet we likewise host the Para-Olympics to demonstrate that true fulfillment is not measured in the external but in the internal, a fulfillment within limitations.

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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