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Wherein Lies the Value of Life?

Wherein lies the value of life? Is it only about the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the place we stay? Should we just be thinking about fulfilling our wants and desires all the time?


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Photo credit: PEXELS

A life filled with love is the happiest, but sometimes love can bring pain and suffering too, causing one to sink low and (give up on oneself). The greatest happiness in life is to exercise our wisdom and spread Great Love to all living beings in the world.

Wherein lies the value of life? Is it only about the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the place we stay? Should we just be thinking about fulfilling our wants and desires all the time? If we define the value of life in such narrow terms, then our life would be very invaluable and really insignificant. We should expand the purpose and meaning of our life by enhancing our values, and transform our selfish mentality into Great Love that embraces all living beings.

Once, when Tzu Chi volunteers were in Indonesia to hold a free clinic, they saw a woman in her 30’s with a large tumour on her back. It was said that she had been living with this tumour for more than 20 years, but due to poverty, she was unable to seek medical treatment to solve the problem.

Her husband had passed away two years before, leaving her behind with two young children. She worked as a laundry woman to earn a living. After she was discovered by Tzu Chi volunteers during the free clinic, they took her to a hospital for a medical examination.

After examining her condition, the doctor said that her tumour could be removed with surgery. However, she needed to first strengthen her body before she could undergo the surgery as her body was too weak. Then, Tzu Chi volunteers started preparing nutritious meals for her, and not long after, she became fit enough to undergo the surgery.

On the day of the surgery, Tzu Chi volunteers visited the woman at the hospital. They asked her, “You are going into the operation theater soon. Are you afraid?”

The resilient woman said with a smile, “I am not afraid. I’ve been waiting for this moment for over 20 years. I am very happy that this day finally came.”

The operation lasted for nearly seven hours and her tumour was successfully removed. Tzu Chi volunteers waited patiently outside the operation theater during her surgery and stayed until it was over. The woman recovered very well after the surgery due to her optimistic character, and she was transferred to an ordinary ward the next day.

We witness human suffering and sorrow in the life of this woman. We can also see how Tzu Chi volunteers exercised their wisdom and gave with love to help the woman although they were unrelated to her. This group of “living bodhisattvas" are really lovely! There is pure wisdom in everyone’s heart. If everyone is able to (completely give of themselves with such wise love), the world would be filled with joy and warmth.

Extracted from “尘尽光生” (Chen Jin Guang Sheng)
Translated by the Tzu Chi Singapore translation team