The Shrub

Once upon a time a man walked down a lonely path, somewhere far away from villages and towns. All of a sudden he saw in front of him a shrub that was completely made up of twigs and branches. Every part of it consisted of simply branches and twigs, from its top to its roots. Then the man heard a voice, saying: “Reading, by itself, is not enough!” Startled, the man looked around. There was no-one in sight!

He continued on his path. A short while later he saw another peculiar shrub. This time, the shrub was made up of leaves: just leaves, everywhere. Again a voice sounded: “Speaking, by itself, is not enough!” The man looked around and again there was nobody there. He continued his walk, wondering what else was waiting for him along this path. A little while later he saw another unusual shrub. This shrub was made up of the most beautiful, fragrant flowers; but just flowers. Surprised, the man stared at the wonderful spectacle. And again a voice sounded: “Even doing, by itself, is not enough!” The man stood still and contemplated this. What else exists beyond doing, he wondered. And thus ruminating, he continued on his path.

After a while, he saw an exquisitely beautiful shrub in the distance. As he came closer, he saw that the shrub consisted of many strong branches that stretched themselves out in all directions, around which sparkling waves of leaves gently curled. The shrub radiated with an excess of lovely flowers spreading wonderful scents. The man was dumbfounded. This, in truth, was the most beautiful shrub he had ever seen. And again the man heard a voice: “Reading, speaking, acting – when they merge into Being, only then is it enough!”

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