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.