War can condition a person to be resilient, tolerant, dependable, strong, and capable of so much more than one who had experienced nothing of it; it can bring out the very best in us, but also the very worst. Where is it, I ask, the proper conduit through which a soldier should be raised from whence they would become an upstanding citizen of the world, instead of a single country?
If you are a Buddhist, inspire yourself by thinking of the bodhisattva. If you are a Christian, think of the Christ, who came not to be served by others but to serve them in joy, in peace, and in generosity. For these things, these are not mere words, but acts, which go all the way, right up to their last breath. Even their death is a gift, and resurrection is born from this kind of death. (157)
Activities such as chanting, bowing, and sitting in zazen are not at all wasted, even when done merely formally, for even this superficial encounter with the Dharma will have some wholesome outcome at a later time. However, it must be said in the most unambiguous terms that this is not real Zen. To follow the Dharma involves a complete reorientation of one's life in such a way that one's activities are manifestations of, and are filled with, a deeper meaning. If it were not otherwise, and merely sitting in zazen were enough, every frog in the pond would be enlightened, as one Zen master said. D?gen Zenji himself said that one must practice Zen with the attitude of a person trying to extinguish a fire in his hair. That is, Zen must be practiced with an attitude of single-minded urgency.