Friday, August 6, 2010

Punishing Heaven, Part 6

by Scott Bradley

Did not ‘Confucius’ transcend his own bondage to the extent that he recognized and accepted its reality? Was not this transcendence consequent to that realization and acceptance?

In further response to his disciple’s inquiries he goes on to say: Those who meet each other in the Course do so by not being bothered to serve any one particular goal, thereby allowing the flow of their lives to settle into stability. His description is firstly of those who live outside the lines, but does it not also apply to himself?

This one particular goal, is it not something abstract and external to the givens of every particular individual? Is not any pre-conceived idea of what ‘awakening’ might be and how it might be universally expressed one particular goal? Might we say that the concept of The Ultimate Man, that is, the ultimate and singular expression of the human in harmony with Reality, when it is understood to have but one expression, is one particular goal?

This is not to say that such an ultimate expression is not possible. But the true ultimate expression of one’s humanity is always within the realities of one’s own limitations and thus every ultimate expression is absolutely unique to the individual in whom it is expressed. The river, how ever free, follows the course that geology has laid before it. Is there but one true expression of River? ‘Confucius’ allows his life to flow within the boundaries of his givens and in that transcends his own apparent bondage.

Boundlessness is the transcendence of one’s boundaries; of what importance, then, is the particular boundary transcended? And how can one transcendence be said to be better than another? As Guo Xiang says in his commentary on Chapter One: Since each fits perfectly into precisely the position it occupies, all are equally far-reaching and unfettered. How could any one be superior to any other? And this is why he can go on to say the independent is ultimately no different than the dependent.

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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