A Classic Zen Story
- By rRequest, a repost of:
The Stone Cutter
There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with
himself and with his position in life.
One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the
open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important
visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought
the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that
he could be like the merchant.
To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant,
enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined,
but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself.
Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair,
accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating
gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before
the procession. "How powerful that official is!" he thought.
"I wish that I could be a high official!"
Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in
his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people
all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt
very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up
at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his
presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that
I could be the sun!"
Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone,
scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers.
But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so
that his light could no longer shine on everything below.
"How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that
I could be a cloud!"
Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages,
shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being
pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was
the wind. "How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that
I could be the wind!"
Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of
houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him.
But after a while, he ran up against something that would
not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it -
a huge, towering rock. "How powerful that rock is!" he thought.
"I wish that I could be a rock!"
Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else
on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a
hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt
himself being changed. "What could be more powerful than I,
the rock?" he thought.
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a
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