Treasure every moment – wisdom for the new year

Permit me, if you will, to share this little story with you.

Long, long ago, a wise man asked his three disciples: How long is the human lifespan?

The first answered: As long as a few days.

The wise man said: You have not learnt the truth.

The second answered: The space of a meal.

The wise man answered: You have not learnt the truth.

The third answered: The length of a single breath.

The wise man answered: YOU have learnt the truth.

So, how long is our life, folks?

Only as long as the next breath, the next moment, because the next moment is all we have.

A quote from Stonepeace says that because everything changes, we must treasure every moment. And because everything changes, we must not be attached to any moment.

Ever since 17 years ago, when I started having epileptic seizures and was suspected to have a large tumour in my brain (which somehow wasn’t there anymore after 4 months), it dawned on me how fragile life is. Ever since then, I have lived my life with the reality that the next moment could very well be my last moment on earth.

And that is why I always do things very fast. Every moment is very precious to me and I treasure it. I have to spend that moment doing something useful, something that would bring benefit to others. Because when I die, I don’t know where I’d be. I might not have the opportunity do good anymore if the conditions are not there. But more importantly, I must not leave unfinished business for others. Maybe that is why you’d never see me embarking on any big project. I only do small things. I also don’t have any ambition for the future. I only have to take care of the next moment.

Many years ago, I had an Egyptian student who was extremely hardworking. I asked him what drove him to do what he does. He explained that since young, he had been taught to live each day as his last. My other Malaysian students then said if that was the case, they’d go out and make merry. The Egyptian said, “No, I would ensure I would be ready to meet my Maker, hence, I have to do good things.”

Here lies wisdom – when we are well-guided in the realisation that life isn’t about garnering material pleasures but it is a spiritual pursuit to becoming a better person.

Happy New Year!

3 comments to Treasure every moment – wisdom for the new year

  • Yen Ling

    Happy New Year to you and family. Yes, life is fragile.

  • Jasmine

    Dear Dr Chan,

    Thank you for the timely reminder that we must not take life for granted and to make our life counts. I wish you a blessed New Year … may all your wishes come true. May the blessings of the Triple Gem always be upon you and your loved ones too.

  • Seokthien

    May you always be healthy and …..busy 😀
    The blessings of the Triple Gem be upon you and your family.