Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai, Hsihu, Formosa,
July 10, 1995 (originally in English) Videotape No. 487
There once was a stone mason who was very diligent.
Every day, he broke stones into pieces and made things with them or
perhaps sold them. Even if it was extremely hot in Miaoli, he never
stopped. He worked and worked continuously, using a very large, powerful
hammer and broke all the stones into pieces. These stones were then
used by people to pave the roads, the area where they sat in the meditation
hall, and any place where small pieces of stone (gravel) were needed.
This was the result of his work.
The mason inherited this job from his great-grandfather,
and then from his grandfather and then from his father. So, there
were many generations of stone masons in his family. He was a very
diligent and strong man. Sometimes he also worked during his lunch
break because he wanted to earn extra money for his family; he would
work until very late in the evening then go home and sleep. That’s
Many of his friends and neighbors were envious of
his health and his extremely free lifestyle. He seemed very much at
ease and independent. However on the contrary, this man (his name
meant “power”) didn’t feel contented about his lot,
but always wished to have a nobler kind of life — richer, with
more luxuries and higher living. So he wasn’t always happy.
One day, he was breaking stones, perhaps next to the
Nectar River. It was morning, and the sun was rising. Suddenly, he
saw a lot of dust coming toward him, like a big cloud. And then in
the middle of the dust cloud appeared a big, beautiful four-horse
carriage, on top of which sat a very big, fat and dignified officer
of the king. He had so many bodyguards around him and so many other
horses surrounding him and behind him that he looked very terrific,
majestic and distinguished.
Upon seeing this sight, the stone mason stood
aghast, with mouth open and eyes wide, and felt very miserable. Deep,
deep in his heart, he suddenly had a wish and said, “I wish
I could be a great Mandarin, a great officer of the king.” Then
suddenly there came a huge, thunder-like noise from the mountain top:
“Boom!” Because the king of the mountain had heard the
stone mason’s wish and made it come true. Next the stone mason
instantly became a very big officer. He changed into a prime minister,
and everything he ever wished for came to him. He had money, a big
palace, bodyguards and a great, great, great estate. And all the people
respected him: Everywhere he went, people just crawled in the dirt
and dared not look up. And he would spill dust over them and they
remained cheerful; they dared not say anything.
The stone mason was very proud of himself. Every day
he had to go around, take care of the country for the king and report
to him when he came back. And every time he entered the court, he
had to kneel down and prostrate himself before the king. He also had
to wear official clothing, which was very thick and studded with all
kinds of precious stones like diamonds and pearls. So it was a pretty
heavy outfit. And in addition he had to wear a hat, which was also
studded with precious stones and gold and silver, befitting his rank.
Every time he had to bow down, his back ached, and he tried to keep
his waist stuck together; otherwise it would break in half. So he
felt very bad, but he never dared to take off his official clothes.
One day, while he was still bearing this situation
for the sake of glory and wealth and the adoration that people all
around him bestowed on him, the king sent him to a very faraway place
to take care of some state business. And in order to get to the area,
he had to go through a very great desert, which was exceedingly hot.
But he couldn’t take off his clothes because of his rank. Everywhere
he went, he had to be a big minister and nothing else. It was so hot,
he nearly died there. And then his hat became three times heavier
than usual. He was also sweating inside, and his clothes were thus
soaked and heavier than normal. So then he thought, “Oh my God,
being a prime minister is really, really terrible. I don’t want
to be a prime minister anymore. I think I’ll just die here!
I think I’d rather be a king. If I could be a king, it would
be better. I wouldn’t have to go through the desert like this,
and I wouldn’t have to take orders from anyone. I could do what
I wanted, and would have many wives. So, wow! That would be fantastic,
to be king. I want to be king. I only want to be king, nothing else;
I want to be a king, all right?”
Wish for the Glory of Kingship Fulfilled
And then unexpectedly, he heard another “Boom!”
a very loud sound, and then the king of the mountain, his friend,
the god of the mountain, made his wish come true. So the stone mason
was transformed into a king who ruled a very great nation, and had
great wealth and many beautiful wives. And everyone knelt before him
and did everything he wished.
So he was contented for a while. But then the honeymoon
was over and he had to work very late into the night because many
reports from different ministers and provincial chiefs and the state
governor came to him every day. And each day he had to discuss the
country’s problems late into the night with many of his ministers.
So then he couldn’t sleep very well at night. He worried about
his job, matters of state and the urgent business related to things
happening in his country that he couldn’t resolve quickly and
continuous problems both around and within his country, he couldn’t
sleep very well, he couldn’t eat and he couldn’t enjoy
all his beautiful wives. He was too miserable to even look at them.
When you’re miserable, you don’t enjoy anything. So he
couldn’t eat; he couldn’t even enjoy the food that he
wished to have, and he couldn’t enjoy the women that he had
always desired to possess. He became very miserable and only ensconced
himself in his duties, worries and anxieties, and the demands of his
subjects, enemies, friends and anyone who desired things from him.
Because he was the king, the top, the only one, everyone came to him
with problems, both within and without, and thus he began to feel
that now his kingship was not really a blessing but a punishment.
He felt very tired and worn out.