Zen Story: Wishful thinking
There once lived a stone cutter who was unhappy with his insignificant life. Passing by a rich merchant’s home one day, he was awed by its grandeur and the stream of visitors going in. “He must be a powerful man! How I wish I could be him”, he thought.
Astonishingly, he found himself transformed into the merchant. Surrounded though he was by unimaginable riches, he also found himself the object of hate and envy by those less privileged than him. Just then, an important official passed, carried by attendants in a grand procession. “Ooh, how powerful that gent looks, wish I could be him.” His wish came true and he found himself riding high. All around, people watched him go past, with expressions of fear and hate. The richly embroidered chair suddenly felt sticky thanks to the sun beating down. Looking skywards, he thought, “How powerfully the sun shines, I wish…” No sooner did the thought bloom than he became the sun, burning fiercely from the sky and cursed by peasants and farm laborers!
Then, an enormous, dark cloud blocked the sun. No prizes for guessing the man’s thoughts! He became the cloud, which burst forth with rain, causing floods and misery. Shortly, he felt an irresistible force pushing him. It was the wind – how powerful it was! No sooner did he wish, than he became the gusty wind, wreaking havoc with rooftops, uprooting tree trunks, spreading fear and panic. Sometime later, he found himself coming up against an object that was immovable no matter how forcefully he blew. It was a towering rock. “Oh to be that rock!” thought he. And indeed, he became the rock, hard and invincible.
After a while, he heard the pounding of a hammer on chisel. He was being changed. But how? Who could possibly challenge his power? Looking down, he saw a small figure at the bottom – it was a stone cutter.