I recently re-watched the Last Samurai and it reminded me of an ad hoc lesson that I put together once for my young men. It was based around one of the many analogies of dubious distinction that emerge around the periphery of Mormonism, we like those, but if the shoe fits, that means you get to marry Cinderella.
Eastern culture has always fascinated me, I think early exposure to really badly dubbed Kung Fu movies is where the love affair began. Ever since I can remember I've wanted to be a Buddhist monk at Shaolin Temple, and later, after I discovered Akira Kurosawa, I thought I could have been a passable Samurai in feudal Japan. Fate had other plans, sanity prevailed, and I ended up here, a denizen of the 21st century.
As I reflect on what could have been, I'm reminded of the old Samurai ways and see certain parallels to gospel living. I wont expand on them too much, but here's a little sample, I'll leave the rest to your imagination. A Samurai dedicated himself totally to his training, the alternative was death (usually at the hands of another swordsman) which is always a good motivator. We are engaged in a battle with spiritual death on the line, in order to be victorious we would do well to emulate the discipline of these ancient warriors.
The piety of the Samurai toward his master was above reproach. The life of a retainer was typified by absolute loyalty and service to their master. The Bushi would literally give their lives in defence of their lords (or end them if they failed to do so). Now that's what I call commitment. Am I endorsing oibara or seppuku? No, but if you want a measure of dedication, this one's hard to beat.