Wednesday, 5 May 2010
The Greedy Artist
One day a Geisha contacted him asking him to paint for her. Unknown to the artist it was her intention to show him up for what he was. He saw that she was wealthy, so he demanded a high price. The price was agreed on one condition, that the painting was completed in her presence, so a date was agreed.
On the day of the painting he arrived to find that she had invited many wealthy guests. He set up his easel and as they watched he painted. After some hours the painting was completed and he stood back pleased with his work. The geisha as promised paid him the agreed amount. She then turned to all her guests and said, “This artist only paints for money, his work is fine but his mind is dirty; money has caused it to become muddy. Painted by such a muddy mind, his work is not fit to exhibit, it fit only for my petticoat.”
She then removed her kimono and showed the artist her petticoat. She asked him to paint another painting on it. He in turn asked her how much money she would pay. After bartering a high price was agreed. The painting was completed and paid for. “See,” said the geisha, “His only concern is the price. Leave, artist, you have been shown for what you are.”
Many years later it was learned that where the artist came from there had been a famine. The artist had been paying for corn to feed the village. The rich had ignored the plight of the hungry.
The road from the village was in a very poor state and many of the villagers had accidents while travelling to the temple to meditate. He had repaired the road.
His Zen master had died without accomplishing his desire to build a school for his students. The artist built the school.
Once he had done all of these things he discarded all his art materials and lived the quiet life.
Sometimes before we judge a person we need to discover their motives. It is often the actions of the heart that matter more than the actions of the hands. The hardest question of all my years has been the question, “Do I want to be loved, or do I want to love?” Before I depart this earth I hope I find the answer.
This is the way of the Tao.
This Blog is linked to my other where the artwork is discussed:-
Along the Shore Triptych