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My sensei is writing an article for a magazine (not sure which one) and I was asked to translated it. I'm american and another dojo member is french. We were going over the translation, and there was one part about one of the goals of life is to cultivate to your character to the level of god, even though it's an unattainable goal. My french friend said that this idea of the unattainable goal would not be easy to understand for western people. This concept is a pretty basic part of all traditional arts in Japan, and I've become to used to it, it didn't occur to me. He said that western people can't understand having a goal that you can never reach. Since this forum's members are mostly from the western world, I wonder what everyone thinks.
I'm not sure that that is an idea unique to eastern culture. Most activities can (and often are) pursued with this level of perfection in mind. Ideals are typically seen as unreachable, or at least unmaintainable, but people persist.
After all, what interested parent isn't trying to be the best parent they can? Likewise with professional athletes, whom many admire. Many people try to do the best they can at their jobs or at being moral (or immoral) people - while recognizing that they themselves fall short of the ideal. This is an idea in many religions, as well.
I don't know of any Christian who thinks they are as good of person as Jesus Christ, for example, but many people keep trying.