If There Were No After Life
Whether there’s afterlife, the answer has never been the same. The atheists deny after life, believing that our life is no more than from the cradle to the grave. They may care about their illustrious names after death; they may feel attached to the affection of their offspring, but they never lay their hopes on their afterlife. They may also say that good will be rewarded with good, and evil with evil, but they don’t really believe any retribution in their after life.
However, in the religious world or among the superstitious people, the belief in afterlife is very popular. They do not only believe in afterlife, but thousands of reincarnations as well. In the mysterious world, there are the paradise and the hell, the celestial beings and the gods, the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas.
Maybe they really believed it, or maybe they just wanted to make use of people’s veneration, the ancient emperors always declared that they were the real dragons, the sons of God, while the royal ministers claimed to be the reincarnations of various constellations. But can the stars reincarnate?
Many people burn incense and kowtow, do good deeds and strive for virtues, not just for the present, but mainly to let God see their sincerity so as to be reborn into a better afterlife, or to achieve the highest enlightenment after several lives of practice. They do believe in afterlife. But I can’t help asking: Suppose there were no afterlife, would you still do good deeds and strive for virtues? And If God does not see what you are doing, would you still be so upright and selfless? If you work, not for serving the public and liberating the others, but just for a better afterlife of your own, isn’t it a little too selfish? Comparing with this kind of believers, those who don’t believe in afterlife, but still keep doing good deeds, are the most sincere and honest philanthropists, because they do them not for themselves but for other.
You may wonder if I believe in afterlife. My answer is: I know nothing about my previous life, so I dare not make improper comments on afterlife. But I do hope there’s afterlife! Because our present life is so short that so many things slip away before our proper understanding. I have so many dreams, so many wishes, so many ambitions, as well as so many regrets and concerns. If there were no afterlife, all of them will remain unrealized!
I’m not contented with the present commonplace life, I’m very much attached to the affections that should have been mine but have been washed away by the hurrying time, and I yearn for the perfection and maturity if I could start all over again. So believe it or not, I’d rather there were afterlife.
Translated by Zhang Baodan (Diana)
May 1, 20xx
Let me begin my speech with a replay of scenes familiar to most, if not all, of those present here today.
"Mum, I'm sorry, but I need 3,000 yuan for my tuition this year."
"Mum, it is my friend's birthday tomorrow, I must buy her a present."
"Mum, this jacket was out of fashion long ago, would you do me a favor? "
Take. Take. Take. The relationship between a mother and a child always seems to follow such a pattern. I know my mother is always there for me, providing me with everything I need; from food to clothing, from tuition to pocket money. I never thought twice about all she did until one day she said, "Will there be a time that you'll say you have taken enough from me? "
Like a child endlessly asking, we humans, throughout history, have been continually demanding what we desire from nature. We enjoy the comfort and beauty of our furniture, yet we never bother to think about the serious soil erosion caused by deforestation. We take it for granted that we must warm ourselves in winter times, yet we seldom realize the burning away of precious natural resources. We appreciate all the prosperity from the development of modern industry, yet few would give the slightest consideration to the global air and water pollution caused by industrial wastes. Our ruthless exploitation has permanently impaired our mother earth. As we tragically learned from last summer's floods. we cannot continue our carelessness.
Finally, standing here at the threshold of the 21st century, we cannot help thinking of our posterity. Nature is not only the mother of the present generation, but also the mother of the generations to come.
How severely our descendents will criticize us if we leave them a barren and lifeless mother? How much more they will appreciate us if we give them a world of harmony to inherit? Let us start respecting and caring for nature from now on. Let us start the campaign of creating a mutually beneficial relationship between people and nature right from this moment. With this new start, I firmly believe, that our children, and our children's children will live in a brand new age of green trees, clean air, crystal water, blue sky and an even more promising world!
It is easy to describe success in terms of money, fame and reputation. But I believe that success is not external. I believe that success comes from within. My definition of success is to be true to yourself, and be true to others. That means, that you must cherish your personal ideal even in the face of adversity. I also believe that success is not discriminatory. Success is not restricted to such a class of people, in fact, it may be achieved by any person irrespective of his race, creed, gender and economic background. A good example of success is that of Beethoven. He is one of the world's most famous composers, yet he was deaf. He could not hear the majestic pieces of music that he created. Yet, in the face of this adversity, he was able to maintain his ideals--that of composing music.
To exemplify what success means to me, I pose a question to all of you. What brings us together here today? I believe that it is the beauty of the spoken word. The effect of pause and the sound of rhetoric are unique to the spoken word. I believe the beauty of the spoken word is even stronger for those who have difficulty in expressing themselves.
These people are reclusive and had their emotions hidden within them. I once went to Australia and I saw two pictures, Once was drawn by a normal child, the other was drawn by a child with social inhibitions. The picture drawn by the normal child was simple and plain. The other was life-like, full of details and imagination. What this shows is that these are ideas, emotions and feelings that are locked internally in thesechildren.
My ideal is to be the key, spreading the beauty of the spoken words to these children. These children have been neglected, but I feel that I can and should help these children to find themselves and be able to express themselves.
I realize that this is a difficult task, and there are many obstacles on the way. But I believe in my ideals and I will stick to them--even in the face of adversity. We should never have a premature abortion of ideals--let the child, let our ideals, stand the challenge. For a life without ideals is not living.