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We have to become better acquainted with nature

We have to become better acquainted with nature. At the same time, we have to realize that we ourselves are intrinsically part of nature. It has to sink in that the environment we live in on this earth is not our creation, but a gift. All beings whose life has arisen from nature, including us, can only survive in and with nature. This awareness needs to underlie all our progress and development.

Modern civilization has continually sought to eliminate hard labor

Modern civilization has continually sought to eliminate hard labor from people’s lives through economic advances. Work that people used to do on their own is now done quickly and efficiently by gas and electricity, with a minimum of human effort. But at Eiheiji, the point is not to avoid work but to embrace it and do it all on one’s own. In a sense it is a life of true independence and self-reliance—a style of life that establishes confidence in one’s strengths and abilities, mental and physical alike.

society is full of people who spend so much energy

In fact, society is full of people who spend so much energy pursuing the means of doing something that they lose all sight of purpose. Rather than thinking about purpose, people are more attracted by, and more proficient at, having various methods at their disposal. But methods that are devoid of purpose or detached from ultimate meaning will often—like war, and like development in the name of progress—lead only to disaster.