The Most Precious Thing in Life

February 9, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Asia, Children's Stories, Culture, Discussion, Life Lessons, Moments from History, Reflections, Stories from China | 1 Comment
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Author: Zheng Tu

[] What is the most precious thing in the world? Every person may have a different answer to this question.

When a man is young, he might obtain huge wealth with his hard work and good fortune. While enjoying a high social status and fame, he feels what he has is the perfect life.

When he meets his soul-mate, he suddenly realizes a love like that is the most precious thing in life.

Time passes by, washing youth away. When his beloved family member gets ill, dying before his eyes, he cries bitterly over his loss. At that point his only wish is to buy the health of the beloved one with everything he has in his whole life.

Then he gets old. He leaves his property to the next generation. On his death bed, he watches his children fighting over the inheritance he leaves behind for them. He cannot help feeling sad, wondering what he had worked for in his entire life.

Our hearts change when our situations change.

I remember when I was a child I didn’t sleep well for many days when I could not have a toy I liked. I also remember refusing to talk to other kids for a long time after a little fight. When I think of these things, I cannot help but laugh at myself for caring so much about such trivialities. In a few years from now, when we look back at what we are now worried and happy about, won’t we laugh at ourselves again?

People often lament, “Human hearts are degenerating each day.” I know it’s true. If people keep degenerating like this, people will end up doing whatever it takes to gain a little self-interest for themselves. If others are bad to them, they treat others even worse. Won’t the situation be horrible?

In such a society, everyone is in danger. A few days ago I read a news story. On May 4, 2006, a millionaire was driving down the street in Dalian City,  mainland China, in his BMW. When he stopped at a red light, a man threatened him with a knife in order to carjack the BMW. The millionaire jumped out of the car to save himself and watched the robber gleefully roaring off in his car. The whole incident took less than 10 seconds.

Someone recently discussed with me over the reasons why the paths of our lives seems to have gotten narrower and narrower with fewer and fewer choices. I think it happens because people in our society are all chasing after and protecting their own profits. You cannot say it is someone’s fault, but each and every one of us has contributed to the formation of such a situation.

Having said that, the question naturally ensues is: what is the way out?

What about a power that can guide people back to truthfulness and benevolence?

I remember reading a story about a bet between Wind and Sun on who could make a person take off his coat first. On a cold day, a man walked outside in a heavy coat. Wind tried to blow hard to bring the man’s coat off, but as Wind blew stronger, it got colder, and the man wrapped his coat tighter around himself. So Wind failed. Then Sun came out from behind the cloud, and shone warm sunlight on the ground. The man felt hot and took off his coat.

Benevolence has great power. It tears down the walls between people and brings hope to human society.

It’s said that a kind word keeps you warm in cold winter, while a bad word makes you cold in mid summer. In fact everything we do and say, good or evil, affects others more or less, and will finally come back to us, because we are all individual components of our society.

So how should we feel when we see people who behave according to the principle of “truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance”? And how will our attitude affect the future of society?

The most precious thing in life might be something we are most likely to ignore.

This story was originally titled “Shelter for Life (II): The Most Precious Thing in Life”, taken from
Translated from:


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  1. this is right

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