Friday, December 16th
What are you already doing that feels meaningful?

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
— The Dalai Lama



Excerpt: The Story of the Stonecutter
An adapted and shortened version of a tale of disputed origin — possibly Japan, possibly Holland.

Long ago there lived a man who loved his work cutting stones for gravesites and homes in his village. Each day he’d climb the mountain near his home to cut the stone, and each night he’d admire his work throughout the village, happy to see how the people appreciated it.

One day he was hired for a special job — to take stones to the palace of a distant prince. When he arrived, he stood in awe of all the luxuries the prince owned: a soft bed, an abundance of food, a team of servants who gave him whatever he wanted, and so on.

“I wish I were I prince!” said the stonecutter. 

Just then a mountain spirit heard what the stonecutter said and granted him his wish. 

So the stonecutter lived as a prince. He took pleasure in commanding the people to do whatever he wanted. But the more he lived like this, the more he desired. Each day he would look up at the mountain, envious that the mountain was larger and grander than he was. 

“I wish I were a mountain!” he said. 

That same mountain spirit heard his words and again gave him what he wanted.

So the stonecutter sat as a mountain, looking over the entire land, pleased that he was above everyone else. But soon enough he became bored. There was nothing to do as a mountain. 

Far down below, he heard a sound. A man was there, cutting stone. The stonecutter remembered his former life and longed for that time again.

“I wish I were a stonecutter,” he said.

Once again, the mountain spirit heard him and granted his wish. And the stonecutter lived happily as a stonecutter from that day on.


  • Why do people sometimes feel dissatisfied with what makes them happy?