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In a remote countryside, there was an artist who loved nature and spent much of his time growing small trees. He could be found (had anyone cared to do so) walking alone into the mountains to collect different varieties of small seedlings. He planted the seedlings into small pots and nurtured them until they grew into a miniature form, called bonsai. It was a delight to see this artist at work--bending down and planting, pruning or shaping his living works of art. People heard of his planted artistic works and traveled from afar to visit him and many bought his unique bonsai trees to enjoy in their own homes.

Eventually one of his visitors, who was a businessman, thought he could plant the same type of seedlings and sell them at a great profit. He owned much land and wanted to mass produce the trees. He watched the artist work and looked for the type of tree he was working with. Then he went out and planted the same type. He cleared the land, built greenhouses and hired workers. Soon there were hundreds of the mass-produced small trees—every one looked alike and they were sold easily at cheaper prices in the marketplace. But people still traveled from afar to appreciate the artist’s works. Therefore, the business man would go secretly to watch the artist and find out the type of tree he was nurturing and then would mass produce it for the market.

Others saw this opportunity and did the same thing. Once again, the same variety of trees were to be found everywhere in the market and people began to value them less and less. Those who had mass-produced the trees became disappointed because their investment was less profitable. So they decided to watch the artist again, thinking that they could be the first to find out what kind of exotic plant or tree the artist would select and then be the first to introduce it to the market and mass produce it. They set out to follow him into the forest, expecting to discover the secret place where he would make his next selection. But to their amazement, the artist went just a short distance and then bent down and carefully observed and plucked up just an ordinary plant from the soil. He prepared a pot, then deliberately seated the plant within the pot, and began to water and to nurture it. Then, looking quite content, he smiled and sat down. They were amazed and wondered what to make of this? These ordinary plants were everywhere in abundance! They went away disappointed, without realizing that the secret was not in the type of tree or plant; but for a true bonsai artist, any plant or tree could be fashioned into a masterpiece. It truly depended on the artist’s forethought of what the collected material could become. And for many years, people still came to see the artist to buy whatever he made precious by his vision and his work.

Copyright © 2007











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