Once upon a time, there was a pretty damsel named Huimei from an aristocratic family. Her virtues made many rich suitors queue up for marriage proposals. She deeply believed that her prince charming was on the way. Hence, she turned them all down.
Huimei had a glimpse of a young man at a very crowded fete one day. Huimei thought he was the one that she had waited for a very long time. She was unable to approach him in a sea of people and he vanished. Huimei had sought for that man everywhere but couldn't find him.
All she could do was only pray to the Buddha every day. Her sincerity affected the Buddha at last.
So the Buddha asked her, "Do you really want to see that man again?"
Huimei replied, "Yes, I really want to see him once again."
Buddha told, "But you will have to give up everything including your lovely family and your happy life. Will you?"
Huimei consented, "Yes, I will."
Buddha told, "You will also have to wait for five hundred years. Then, you will only see him for once. Will you?"
Huimei again consented, 'Yes, I will. And I won't regret at all!"
Buddha turned her into a big stone, which was set on the uninhabited land. She suffered from the wind storms and sunburns day after day. She could never see one person pass by after some four hundred years. The hopelessness drove her to the edge of collapse.
A team of quarrymen found her in the last year. They removed and cut her into several pieces to build a stone bridge's guardrail in town. As the bridge was completed, Huimei saw the man whom she had already waited for the last five hundred years. He walked through the bridge in a great hurry and vanished in the crowd once again.
Buddha appeared and said, "Are you satisfied now?"
Huimei lamented, "No, why am I only being the bridge's guardrail? If I were paved on the center of the bridge, I could have a touch with him at least!"
Buddha replied, "For that, you have to wait for another five hundred years."
Huimei again agreed readily, "Yes, I'm willing."
Buddha asked, "You have suffered much pain already. Don't you have a bit of regret?"
Huimei told, "No, I don't regret at all!"
Buddha turned her into a big tree, which stood by a street bustling with life. Watching the people walk back and forth day after day made her more miserable. If not for the previous five hundred years of practice, Huimei surely could have collapsed long ago.
She understood he would come at the very last day but the desire did no longer stir her. He came finally! He wore his favorite white gown which he liked most. His face was the same delicate and handsome as he was used to. Huimei gazed at him with infatuation. He did not rush in a hurry this time.
He went to a tree having the dense shades. He decided to take a break due to the intense heat of the midday sun. He sat down leaning against its side. Huimei got close to him eventually. However, she could not tell him about her yearning. Nothing more she could do; she just let him rest in the shades that sheltered him from the sinister sunlight. Before he was about to start off after taking a nap, he showed his thankfulness by stroking and beaming at the tree gently. He left without a backward glance.
Then Buddha appeared again and said, "Do you still want to be his wife? So, you must wait ......."
Huimei interrupted with tranquility, "Yes, I do long for him. But, I think it is not necessary. I do love him. It doesn't mean I have to be his wife."
Huimei married someone else and enjoyed a happy life thereafter.
Only those, who themselves have lived through all the sufferings for the sake of their longings, will comprehend the reality.