The sultan invited Chinese artists and Greek artists to a contest. He gave the Chinese artists one room, another to the Greeks.
The Chinese artists covered the walls with paintings in a hundred colors.
The Greek artists used no paint. Instead, they scoured and polished the walls until they were mirrors.
The Chinese paintings were dazzling.
But the room of the Greeks was even more dazzling.
The sultan saw the Chinese paintings reflected there. He saw himself. He saw the world.
The Greek artists had put nothing there.
That nothing was everything.
They emptied themselves, making room for the all.
Inspired by: The English prose version of Rumi in Tales from the Masnavi by A. J. Arberry.
Notes: This is story 16 in the book.