Zen in the Art of Archery

( 8 )

Overview

This intriguing, influential work of literature—an outstanding way to experience Zen—is now available on cd
It is almost impossible to understand Zen by studying it as you would other intellectual pursuits. The best way to understand Zen is, simply, to Zen. This is what author Eugen Herrigel allows us to do by sharing his own fascinating journey toward a comprehension of this illuminating philosophy. In Japan, an art such as archery is not practiced solely for utilitarian ...

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Zen in the Art of Archery

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Overview

This intriguing, influential work of literature—an outstanding way to experience Zen—is now available on cd
It is almost impossible to understand Zen by studying it as you would other intellectual pursuits. The best way to understand Zen is, simply, to Zen. This is what author Eugen Herrigel allows us to do by sharing his own fascinating journey toward a comprehension of this illuminating philosophy. In Japan, an art such as archery is not practiced solely for utilitarian purposes such as learning to hit targets. Archery is also meant to train the mind and bring it into contact with the ultimate reality. If one really wishes to be master of an art, technical knowledge of it is not enough. One has to transcend technique so that the art becomes an “artless art” growing out of the Unconsciousness. In this way, as the author simply, clearly demonstrates, archery becomes a path to greater understanding and enlightenment.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In this wonderful little book, Mr. Herrigel, a German philosopher who came to Japan and took up the practice of archery toward an understanding of Zen, gives an illuminating account of his own experience. Through his expression, the western reader will find a more familiar manner of dealing with what very often must seem to be a strange and somewhat unapproachable Eastern experience.”—D.T. Suzuki, author of Zen in Japanese Culture
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375705090
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Series: Vintage Spiritual Classics
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 75,522
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.26 (d)

Meet the Author

EUGEN HERRIGEL (1884-1955), a German professor who taught philosophy at the University of Tokyo, penetrated deeply and personally into the theory and practice of Zen Buddhism. In endeavoring to become a Zen mystic, he experienced the rigorous discipline of training with a Zen Master for six years.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2001

    Beyond Unconscious Competence into Spirituality

    To those who already practice Zen Buddhism, this book will seem awkward. To those nonpractitioners who would like to understand how to practice Zen Buddhism, this book will be a delightful enlightenment -- especially valuable to those who live outside of Asia. Eugen Herrigel takes on the almost impossible task of describing in writing something that has to be experienced to be understood, and is remarkably effective. The author spent six years in Japan just after World War II, and decided that he wanted to understand Zen Buddhism. He was correctly advised that Zen needed to be experienced as the path to achieving that understanding. Several possible areas were suggested, from sword fighting to flower arrangement to archery. Because he had experience with rifle target shooting, the author chose archery. He was fortunate to be taken on by a Zen master who normally refused to teach Westerners, because they are so difficult to teach. As a typical high-achieving Westerner, Mr. Herrigel wanted to make rapid progress and to achieve conscious competence in archery. His instructor wanted him to achieve unconscious competence based on experience and build from there into spiritual awareness. This conflict in perceptions created quite a tension for both of them. This tension was ironic, because the purpose of Zen practice is to achieve the ability to be strong like the flexible water. Tension is the enemy of that state of being. Mr. Herrigel also learned from attending flower arranging classes from his wife, who was studying Zen in this way. He also benefited from finding some wonderful commentaries on sword fighting as a path to Zen that are included in this book. These are more eloquent than Mr. Herrigel, and he chose wisely in saving them for the end. I suspect that this wonderful book will mean the most to people who have regularly practiced either meditation or Eastern-style breathing. Having followed both kinds of practices for the past six years, I found it was easier to relate to the Zen concepts in that way than through trying to imagine myself performing the archery described here. By the way, this archery is not at all like what you did in camp as a youngster. It is both much more stylized and difficult. Think of it as being more like a Japanese tea ceremony than like Western-style archery. You will love the many descriptions of how Zen masters helped their students learn through experience rather than lecturing or demonstrating to them endlessly. Mr. Herrigel makes a good point concerning how Japanese teaching in these ancient arts has remained the same, while newer subjects are taught much differently. Some of the most beautiful parts of the book are the explanations that employ natural metaphors. The concept of the Samurai is explained through the fragile cherry blossom, for example, in a way you will not soon forget. The metaphors used in the archery are also very compelling and vivid. They spoke very eloquently to me, especially about how the shot is 'released.' I got a lot personally from this book in reconsidering how I could and should step back more often to 'go with the flow' of the moment rather t

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2013

    I am glad I have this book in my own library

    I am glad I have this book in my own library

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  • Posted December 12, 2011

    Fascinating read, great perspective on a such a unique art

    Whether or not you've ever shot a bow makes no difference, this is a fascinating read for anyone interested in turning their passion into a fully dedicated art.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    This one will stretch your mind!

    Great value for money, because you will need to read this small book about 5 times to begin to understand it....and that saves you purchasing 4 other books! Seriously, for anyone trying to understand Zen or Archery, it is illuminating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2003

    If your an Archer, Bowhunter, Traditional or other...

    This is a MUST READ!!!!! If your having trouble with target panic, or just not getting it in the 10 ring I highly recomend this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2003

    Change the way you think

    This is a very good book. It will change the way you think for the better. Highly reccommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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