After a Relentless Refining Process, One Finally Becomes Something of Value

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It says in the Three Character Scripture that 「Jade will not become jade without being carved and polished.」 To be carved on is a painful process. Therefore, after long-standing endurance and patience, it becomes something of value. According to legend, a long time ago a large temple was built in a city. The temple was very solemn and quiet. The only thing missing was a Buddha statue for believers to worship. Therefore, the faithful invited a famous sculptor to carve a Buddha statue so that they could express their reverence.
The sculptor saw that the believers were very devout, so he personally went to the mountains to select the stone. His hard work finally paid off when he found a block of superior stone. Because the stone was too large, he split it into two pieces. He picked up one of them at random, and started working on it with the chisel. As it was being carved, this piece of stone could barely tolerate the pain. It said to the sculptor, 「It hurts terribly. Can’t you cut more gently? I have endured the wind and rain in the mountains, but I have never experienced such pain as this. Can you really turn me into a Buddha statue bit by bit?」 The sculptor responded, 「Endurance is a process. As long as you are determined, there will be a new life at the end of the pain. Trust me and please continue to endure.」
The stone became silent in thought. It then told the sculptor, 「I’ll listen to you. When will you be finished?」 The sculptor put down his chisel and said to the stone, 「I’ve just started working on you. You will need to continue to endure for 30 days. After I am done, if people are not satisfied with my work, I will need to rework and improve it. But if others are satisfied, you will become a Buddha statue.」
The stone stayed silent for a while. On the one hand, if it became a Buddha status, it can enjoy the worship from ten thousand people. On the other hand, it could not bear the severe pain of being chiseled. After four hours, it cried out, 「This is killing me! This is killing me! Stop using the chisel to carve me because I really cannot stand the pain anymore.」
The sculptor put down the stone that he had carved on only a little bit and simply broke it into four slabs that he laid down on the temple floor. He then picked up the other half of the stone and started working on it. After carving for a while, the sculptor curiously asked this piece of stone, 「Don’t you feel any pain?」 This second piece of stone said, 「The last piece of stone and I were originally one piece. The intense pain is the same, but I cannot give up easily.」
The man asked, 「Why don’t you ask me to carve you gently?」 The stone replied, 「If I ask you to carve gently, the Buddha statue might not turn out refined, which would then be returned for reworking. It’s better for you to do it right the first time and not waste everybody’s time.」 The sculptor was impressed by the tough character of the second stone and was happy to continue his work. After 30 days of endurance, he had successfully carved a beautiful Buddha statue.
Soon after, a solemn and mighty Buddha statue was presented to the people. They respectfully placed the statue on the altar, and people admired and praised it. The temple became increasingly popular and welcomed an endless flow of people every day. One day the first stone, which had been made into stone slabs on the ground, asked the Buddha statue, 「Why are you placed so high above to be worshiped, while I have to bear being trampled on by thousands of people every day?」 The stone that was made into the Buddha statue smiled and replied, 「It’s simple. You only had to go through a very simple process to become stone slabs. I had to endure countless cuts to become a Buddha statue.」
Throughout history and in looking at human life, this situation is the same for everything in this world. In fact, the only difference between choosing to endure and seeking comfort is one thought. If one misses a given opportunity, one might face endless pain in the end. If one believes in the promise of the future and endures the test with tenacious perseverance, one will have a bright future.

千雕萬琢 終成大器

《三字經》中云:「玉不琢,不成器」。被雕琢是一個痛苦的過程,所以歷經恆久的忍耐終能成大器。傳說,很久以前,在一個城市裡建了一座規模很大的寺廟,寺廟莊嚴肅穆、古樸寧靜,唯缺一尊供善男信女們膜拜的佛像。於是,信眾們為了表達自己的敬仰,請了一位名揚四海的雕刻師為寺廟雕刻佛像。

雕刻師看信眾們如此的虔誠,便親自去山上選取石頭,功夫不負有心人,他終於選好了一塊上乘的石頭。因為石頭過大,便被劈成了兩半。雕刻師任意選擇了其中一塊,拿起了鑿子開始工作,在被雕刻中,這塊石頭便有些忍耐不住了,它對雕刻師說:「好痛啊,能不能輕一點?我終年在山上忍受風吹雨淋,從未有過如此痛苦的感覺,你這樣一下一下的雕琢,我真的能成為一尊佛像嗎?」雕刻師說:「忍耐是一個過程,只要有堅定的意識,痛苦的盡頭便是新生,你若相信我,就請繼續忍耐吧。」

於是,石頭思考了良久,對雕刻師說:「我聽你的,但你甚麼時候才能將我雕刻完?」雕刻師放下手中的鑿子對石頭說:「我才剛剛開始工作,你還需要忍耐三十天。完工後如果別人不太滿意,還需要繼續加工改造,但如果別人滿意,你將會成為一尊佛像。」

石頭沉默了一會兒,他一面想像著成為佛像的那一天會受到萬人膜拜而沾沾自喜,一面又難以忍受被雕琢的劇烈疼痛。終於在兩個時辰後大叫道:「痛死我了,痛死我了,你還是住手吧,不要用鑿子雕刻我了,因為我真的忍受不了這滋味啊。」

雕刻師放下這塊被雕琢了一些的石頭,簡單的把他劈成四塊做成石板,鋪在了廟堂之上。隨後,便換取另一塊石頭繼續開始工作。一陣刀琢斧敲之後,雕刻師有些好奇的問這塊石頭:「你是否有劇烈的疼痛感?」被第二次選取的石頭說:「我和上一塊石頭原本是一體,劇烈的疼痛感是一樣的,但我卻不能輕易的放棄。」

雕刻師問:「你為甚麼不要求我雕刻時輕一些?」石頭回答說:「如果我要求你輕一些,雕刻出來的佛像有的地方很可能不夠精緻,還會面臨被返工從新來做,不如你一次到位,不浪費大家的時間。」雕刻師聽了,暗暗讚許第二次被選擇的石頭有如此堅韌的性格,便欣然的開始工作,經過了三十天的忍耐,一尊精美的佛像終於被雕刻成功了。

不久,一尊肅穆莊嚴、氣魄宏大的佛像赫然立在了人們的面前,大家恭敬的把它安放到了神壇上,享受著人間的禮讚尊崇。這座廟宇香火日益鼎盛,人流不息,有一天,被做成了石板的石頭對佛像發話:「為甚麼你可以這樣高高在上受人膜拜,而我每天卻要承受千人的踐踏,讓人們踏在我的身上朝拜你?」被做成了佛像的石頭輕輕一笑回答說:「道理很簡單,因為你成為石板只需要很簡單的工序,而我是經過無數次的雕琢才成了佛像。」

透過薄如蟬翼的歲月,看人生的百態,世間的種種亦如此吧。其實,忍耐與貪圖安逸往往只在一念之間。若錯過了某種機緣,或許會承受茫茫無期的痛苦,如果堅信自己的未來光明,以頑強的毅力忍受來自歲月的考驗,定會有一個錦繡的前程。

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