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Additional Comments to Passage 3:7 in the Zhuangzi



Assuming the Commander was one-legged as the result of a punitive mutilation, we can perhaps understand the metaphor of the marsh-pheasant, which otherwise seems unrelated, to suggest that the Commander, as a result of his Heaven-born nature, could not tolerate living within the law, and thus accepts his punishment gladly as also part of the package given by Heaven.   His one-legged state is like the hardship of the pheasant in its wild state, while his two-legged life within the law was like the bird pampered in its cage, an unnatural condition for him that, although physically more comfortable, did him no good.

 



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