The sensuous person is liquid, flowing, fluid. Each experience, and he becomes it. Seeing a sunset, he is the sunset. Seeing the night, dark night, beautiful silent darkness, he becomes the darkness. In the morning he becomes the light. He is all that life is. He tastes life from every nook and corner, hence he becomes rich. This is real richness. Listening to music he is music, listening to the sound of water he becomes that sound. And when the wind passes through a bamboo grove, and the cracking bamboos, and he is not far away from them: he is amidst them, one of them – he is a bamboo.
A Zen Master told one of his disciples who wanted to paint bamboos, “Go and first become a bamboo.”
He was an accomplished painter. He had passed all the art examinations, and with distinction. His name had already started becoming famous. And the Master said, “You go to the forest, live with the bamboos for a few years, become a bamboo. And the day you can become a bamboo come back and paint, not before it. How can you paint a bamboo if you have not known what a bamboo feels like from within? You can paint a bamboo from the outside, but that is just a photograph.”
And that is the difference between photography and painting. A photograph can never be a painting. Howsoever skillfully, artfully done, it remains only the reflection of the circumference of the bamboo. No camera can enter into the soul.
When for the first time photography was developed, a great fear arose in the world of painting that maybe now painting would lose its old beauty and its old pedestal, because photography would be developed more and more every day and soon it would fulfill its requirement. That fear was absolutely unbased. In fact after the invention of the camera, photography has developed tremendously, but simultaneously painting has learned new dimensions, new visions, new perceptions. Painting has become richer, it had to become. Before the invention of the camera the painter was functioning as a camera.
…The Master said, “You go to the forest.” And the disciple went, and for three years he remained in the forest, being with the bamboos in all kinds of climates. Because when it is raining the bamboo has a different joy, and when it is windy the bamboo has a different mood, and when it is sunny, of course everything changes in the being of the bamboo. And when a cuckoo comes into the bamboo grove and starts calling, the bamboos are silent and responsive.
He had to be there for three years, and then it happened. One day it happened, sitting by the side of the bamboos, he forgot who he was: and the wind started blowing and he started swaying – like a bamboo! Only later on did he remember that for a long time he had not been a man. He had entered into the soul of the bamboo – then he painted the bamboos.
Those bamboos certainly have a totally different quality which no photograph can ever have. Photographs can be beautiful, but dead. That painting is alive because it shows the soul of the bamboo – in all its moods, in all its richness, in all its climates. Sadness is there and joy is there, and agony is there and ecstasy is there, and all that a bamboo knows – the whole biography of a bamboo is there.