Two Artists

Yi Fang

PureInsight | October 18, 2007

[] There was
once an old artist who had two equally diligent and gifted
students.  He taught them everything he knew and, eventually, they
became quite famous.  They were Master Zhang and Master Ding.

After their teacher passed away, Master Zhang and Master Ding both
wanted to explore their artistic futures.  Before they parted,
Master Zhang said, "Our teacher used to say that you and I are equal in
our abilities. Why don't we each bring our best piece back here after
five years? Then can we take a look and decide who is better."

Master Ding said smilingly, "Of course, that will be fine."

After they said good-bye, Master Zhang traveled all over the world, saw
the best scenery, and learned from various cultures. His paintings were
created one after the other. His popularity was rising and so was the
price of his paintings. Master Zhang really enjoyed his
accomplishments. He thought, "It is not quite five years, but I have
advanced so fast. This is a miracle. On the contrary, no one has ever
mentioned Master Ding yet. I am sure that I can win this contest

When the five year mark arrived, Master Zhang was quite confident and
brought his best painting to where they were supposed to meet.  He
saw Master Ding welcoming him with a big smile and empty hands.

 He was not too happy, "We agreed to bring our best paintings and
you come empty-handed. How are we going to make a comparison?"

Master Ding looked at his gray-haired classmate and said, "Dear friend,
it is not that I wanted to come empty-handed, but because I could not
bring a picture."

Master Zhang thought, "Well, he must not think too much of his paintings and he is afraid to bring any."

Master Zhang asked, "Why?"

Master Ding said, "Even though I cannot bring my paintings, I can show them to you."

After Master Ding said that, they walked all over town. Master Zhang
was very surprised to find all of Master Ding's pictures were on
various buildings in the town. Every picture was better than the
previous one.  The little town was cozy and quaint and filled with
an artistic atmosphere. Originally, everyone in town was not
well-educated, but now they were more refined in manners and
temperament. The way they carried themselves was just like they were
depicted in the paintings.

Every local resident respectfully talked to Master Ding. Master Zhang
was a little jealous and asked, "They hired you to do all those
paintings? You must have a fortune by now!"

Master Ding smiled and said, "When I was about to leave, I thought
about how much hard work it was for our teacher to teach us. I decided
to give something back to the people in this town. After I finished my
first picture, they admired it as if they were moved by the beauty of
my work. So they invited me to continue to paint.

First they were afraid that I would charge them a lot of money, but I
told them that I would do it for free except they had to provide me
with my daily meals.

Master Zhang was astonished that Master Ding did them for free, "How come you are so foolish? You could earn a lot of money!"

Master Ding had tears in his eyes and said, "Actually, they were
helping me. My skill was not that good. After they saw my work, they
did not know how to pay me complements but they became more sincere and
kind. With such encouragement, my paintings have become better and
better. How can I charge any more for my work?"

Master Zhang felt ashamed after hearing that. In his mind, the value of
a piece of art was determined by its price. The higher the price the
more valuable the artwork.  

Master Zhang said, "You have won the five-year contest. Your paintings
are invaluable and cannot be bought with money. But my paintings can be
purchased with money. Your paintings can bring changes to countless
people but my paintings are nothing but a part of rich people's
decorations. I think that I deserve to lose and you have allowed me to
understand the true value of art. Let me learn from you! Let's work
together and create more beauty for the world!"

They then hugged each other and wept. In the creative path, Master Ding
was no longer lonely with Master Zhang by his side. From that time on,
one famous artist disappeared in the world, but two happy artists with
their hearts well-connected were working to bring beauty to another
corner of the world.

Translated from:

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