It is just like English sayings and phrases, there are Japanese sayings and phrases as well. It is called [kotowaza ことわざ].
命あっての物種・Inochi atte no monodane
*Monodane is the source of things.
*Inochi is a one’s life.
Without life, there is nothing/A living (or live) dog is better than a dead lion/be not worth risking one’s life.
This is a teaching . We can do anything because we have a life/are alive. It means nothing if you die so do not do something dangerous and cherish your life.
How to use it
いとこの守さんは山登りが大好きだ。 しかし命あっての物種だ。 天気の悪いときは山に行ってほしくない。
Itoko no Mamoru san wa yamanobori ga daisuki da. Shikashi inochi atte no monodane da. Tenki no warui toki wa yama ni itte hoshiku nai.
My cosion Mamoru loves mountain climbing. But 「Without life, there is nothig/be not worth risking one’s life」. I do not want him to go to mountains when weather is bad.
Every morning when I wake up, I am so grateful.
「Because of the life, breakfast is delirious!」 「Because of the life, music is interesting!」「Because of the life, I can sing!」
We should never give up our life. Be appreciated!