Once upon a time, in the heart of the Western Kingdom, lay a beautiful garden. And there, in the cool of the day, the Master of the garden used to walk. Of all the inhabitants of the garden, the most beautiful and most beloved was gracious and noble Bamboo. Year after year, Bamboo grew yet more noble and gracious (but modest and gentle also), conscious of his Master's love and watchful delight. And often when the wind came to rejoice in the garden, Bamboo would cast aside his grave stateliness, to dance and play merrily tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the Great Dance of the garden, which most delighted the Master's heart.
One day, the Master himself drew near to contemplate his Bamboo with eyes of curious expectancy And Bamboo, in a passion of adoration, bowed his great head to the ground in loving greeting.
The Master spoke: "Bamboo, Bamboo, I would use you."
Bamboo flung his head to the sky in utter delight. The day of days had come, the day for which he had been made, the day to which he had been growing hour by hour, the day in which he would find his completion and his destiny.
His voice came low: "Master, I'm ready Use me as You wish."
"Bamboo,"-The Master's voice was grave-"I would have to take you and cut you down!"
A trembling of great horror shook Bamboo. "Cut...me...down? Me...who You, Master, has made the most beautiful in all Your Garden...cut me down! Ah, not that. Not that. Use me for the joy, use me for the glory, oh Master, but cut me not down!"
Beloved Bamboo, ''- The Master's voice grew graver still - '' If I cut you not down, I cannot use you."
The garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his proud and glorious head. There was a whisper:
"Master, if You cannot use me other than to cut me down, then do Your will and cut. "
"Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I would cut your leaves and branches from you also."
"Master, spare me. Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust; but You would also have to take from me my leaves and branches too?"
"Bamboo, if I cut them not away I cannot use you."
The Sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away And Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy whispering low: "Master, cut away"
"Bamboo, Bamboo, I would yet... split you in two and cut out your heart, for if I cut not so, I cannot use you."
Then Bamboo bowed to the ground: "Master, Master... then cut and split."
So the Master of the garden took Bamboo...
and cut him down...
and hacked off his branches...
and stripped off his leaves...
and split him in two...
and cut out his heart.
And lifting him gently, He carried Bamboo to where there was a spring of fresh sparkling water in the midst of his dry fields. Then putting one end of the broken Bamboo in the spring and the other end into the water channel in His field, the Master gently laid down his beloved Bamboo... And the spring sang welcome, and the clear sparkling waters raced joyously down the channel of bamboo's torn body into the waiting fields. Then the rice was planted, and the days went by, and the shoots grew and the harvest came.In that day Bamboo, once so glorious in his stately beauty was yet more glorious in his humility For in his beauty he was life abundant, but in his emptiness he became a channel of abundant life to his Master's world.