Three Life Essentials of Longevity

By Hu Wo (Cuckoo’s Song)


Life is just a moment, but whether short or long, depending on each indi­vidual’s time perception, we all know. Anyone who is almost al­ways alive and kicking will find the length of a day quite short, whereas the one who has little to do may think even a 24-hour day much longer than it takes. To be able to lead human life today calls for loads of needs, needless to say. Fundamentally, food, clothing, and shelter are considered the three basic needs for life. According to Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchical Needs, these physiological needs lie at the bottom of his triangu­lar order while self-actualization needs such as acceptance stands at the top. Of course, the person who has got something enough like parental love is unlikely to hanker for this need any more. All the same, longevity generally requires three life essentials at least, as far as I can see. Those essentials include a healthy and active body, food and environmen­tal safety, and proper vocational education.


Good health is a kind of gift from nature. Health affairs play an inalienable part in human beings’ longevity. However, it cannot be said for sure that just good health will lead to the full extent of living a long life. Noticeably enough, a long-lived body demands excellent health and physical well-being. An inactive body despite being in good health would look much like a dead living person. I hope that we have all seen a patient with a chronic disease who lay flat on the bed long before his death. When a man cannot do physical activity very well, his health will surely break down bit by bit in the not-too-distant future. A person’s daily routine, sound mind, a temperate climate, and sufficient nutrients will bring about fine everyday physical activity and well-being, speaking of Buddhist teachings.


Usually, the well-aged meet food and environmental safety to a certain extent. They often eat edible food that is rich in adequate nourishment, especially free from food additives, colourants, and preservatives, which will give rise to ill health. Also, they like to enjoy well-cooked or fresh food rather than half-cooked or overcooked food. Some of them even grow their regional plants such as rice for organic food and drink; others carefully choose and have food which will be good for their health, like fish soup, meat soup, or vege­table soup. As always, they tend to avoid eating tinned or packed food, street food, fast food, saturated fats, beverages, and even snacks lest these foods should harm their health somehow or other. Not only that, environmental safety is very important to them for the simple reason that an unsafe environ­ment in some violent crime is giv­en to threaten human life. This is intraspecific competition between human beings, not for mates and greener pastures, but for life and property, instead of interspecific competition with wild beasts. A pleasant environment full of peace and quiet where green plants grow well here and there becomes part of human longevity in that they can get emotional safety and mental well-being from such an environment.


To earn a long life could not be done with a healthy and active body or food and environmental safety but with proper vocation­al education, including life-long knowledge. Buddha the Unri­valled once preached a sermon that the seven right codes of con­duct will prolong human life. A person who would like to live for a long time shall: 1) know anything suitable for his living and acting, 2) get its appropriate degree, 3) eat easily digestible food, 4) not go out under the inopportune time and circumstances, 5) do noble deeds, 6) refrain from having sex, and 7) keep in contact with good friends. His career education can make him have a long life, too. That education-oriented job lessens his tiredness more than average, offers enough income, and creates work-in happiness as well as job satisfaction, enabling him to stay out of debt and dan­gerous life-threatening.


In a summarized conclusion, those who are living long well are supposed to face adult happiness and life satisfaction for certain. Often, they unconsciously appear to pride themselves on their lon­gevity. Quite interestingly, they never seem to feel lonely as the only tree in an open field even though it can be. They mostly die of old age and rest in peace. In general, they are absolutely stable, both intrapersonally and interpersonally, with themselves and others respectively. Currently, the population growth of those aged 100 or so in Japan is going up to the number of over 10000, as far as I know. Almost all the aged have a happy big family, high self-care for their health and also follow their religious teachings to the letter on a regular basis. Long live the public!