The Essence Of Living

The Essence Of Living

A short story with a powerful moral lesson

Summer Lotus
2 min readApr 3, 2021

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By Rosalind Ho

A noble and learned elderly teacher was due to retire in the coming days. His students wanted to learn more from him. One day, the class leader asked him if he could share with them the essence of living.

The old man paused and pondered. Then he said, “I am always struggling with this issue too.” After a few moments, he continued, “ There is an ongoing battle in my spirit. This war in me is waged between two creatures, one good and one bad.”

Puzzled, the class listened intently. The old man said, “We all have this war in us. The bad creature in me is full of fear, anger, sorrow, hate, greed, cruelty, false pride, self-pity, arrogance, lies, selfishness, and disloyalty. The good creature in me is full of joy, peace, love, hope, responsibility, modesty, kindness, truth, friendship, empathy, generosity, and faithfulness.”

After a pause, he continued, “This internal battle happens in all of us.”

The class fell into silence. Before long, one student asked, “Teacher, which creature won the battle?”

The old teacher replied, “The one that you feed more often, that creature wins.”

The message sank into the students’ minds. The good creature that you feed on a daily basis will emerge stronger and hence you will display his good characteristics. The choice is up to the individual.

Focus on the good to be a good person as far as possible. This is the essence of living.

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Summer Lotus

Translated from my Chinese name. Interested in life, curious about everything. Challenge seeker, die-hard enthusiast, dental surgeon, ardent Toastmaster.