Zen in the Art of Archery

Eugen Herrigel

Zen in the Art of Archery

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The path to achieving Zen (a balance between the body and the mind) is brilliantly explained by Professor Eugen Herrigel in this timeless account.

This book is the result of the author’s six year quest to learn archery in the hands of Japanese Zen masters. It is an honest account of one man’s journey to complete abandonment of ’the self’ and the Western principles that we use to define ourselves. Professor Herrigel imparts knowledge from his experiences and guides the reader through physical and spiritual lessons in a clear and insightful way.

Mastering archery is not the key to achieving Zen, and this is not a practical guide to archery. It is more a guide to Zen principles and learning and perfect for practitioners and non-practitioners alike.

The Empty Mind - Kyudo or Japanese Archery

This is a clip from The Empty Mind Documentary. This is a rare opportunity to see the great archers of the Japan Kyudo Federation.

Empty Mind Films on YouTube.

Zen in the Art of Archery Quotes

“That the way of the “artless art” is not easy to follow we were to learn during the very first lesson. The Master began by showing us various Japanese bows, explaining that their extraordinary elasticity was due to their peculiar construction and also to the material from which they are generally made, namely bamboo. But it seemed even more important to him that we should note the noble form which the bow˙it is over six feet long˙ assumes as soon as it is strung, and which appears the more surprising the further the bow is drawn. When drawn to its full extent, the bow encloses the “All” in itself, explained the Master, and that is why it is important to learn how to draw it properly. Then he grasped the best and strongest of his bows and, standing in a ceremonious and dignified attitude, let the lightly drawn bowstring fly back several times. This produces a sharp crack mingled with a deep thrumming, which one never afterwards forgets when one has heard it only a few times: so strange is it, so thrillingly does it grip the heart. From ancient times it has been credited with the secret power of banishing evil spirits, and I can well believe that this interpretation has struck root in the whole Japanese people.”

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