Site Map: MAIN / A Reader's Journal, Vol. 1/ This Page


Click to return to ARJ Vol. 1  Table of Contents. Click to Read next Review

A READER'S JOURNAL, Volume 1:

Zen in the Art of Archery
by
Eugen Herrigel
Introduction by D. T. Suzuki
Published by Vintage Books in 1972
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002

Google
Web www.doyletics.com

In this little classic Herrigel takes us inside the workings of Zen Buddhism as he relates his experiences in studying the art of archery in Japan. He chooses archery as a means to study zen upon recommendation by a Japanese associate, a choice that would have else never occurred to him. To the typical bowhunting fan the number of bullseyes and deer killed are the goal of archery and any meditative aspects of the sport are secondary by-products and are rarely discussed. The Japanese man who suggested archery to Herrigel as an introduction to zen, understood that archery, a silent sport, would bypass the usual linear, analytical processes of the educated Westerner. And it did, as this book demonstrates.

If Herrigel had written his book in the Western mode, it might have gone like this:

1. Learning to draw bow correctly.
2. Holding bow taut with shoulders relaxed.
3. Releasing bowstring without flinching.
4. Hitting the target.

On a Western archery range, the four components of archery would be practiced one after the other for many repetitions with accuracy counts of bullseyes charted week after week.

In the Japanese form of teaching archery, several months are devoted to each step, and only when mastered is the succeeding step taught or permitted. Thus Herrigel spent 2 months learning to hold and to draw the bow, then several months learning the hold the bow extended for a long time with his shoulders relaxed, then more months learning to let the bowstring "slice through" his thumb (release without flinching), and only after almost a year is he allowed to actually hit a target. His teacher, however, is the measure of his shooting success, not the accuracy of the arrow hitting the target. Even though the arrow may have only grazed the target, his teacher might say, "There! It shot!" This praise from his teacher was the goal of the training, for it meant that Herrigel had hit that most difficult target of all, himself.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Click Here for More Information about Online Humanities Courses ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~^~ Over One Million Good Readers A Year as of 2004 ~^~

Click to return to ARJ Vol. 1 Table of Contents. Click to Read next Review
Google
Web www.doyletics.com

Are you unhappy with your life? Fearful? Angry? Anxious? Feel down or upset by everyday occurrences? Plagued by chronic discomforts like migraines or tension-type headaches? At Last! An Alternative Approach to Removing Unwanted Physical Body States without Drugs or Psychotherapy!
Click on Faces Below.



Click Here to Visit to Discover for Yourself How Fear, Anger, and Anxiety are Endangered Species From Now On!
Find Out about Other Books Written by Bobby at Good Mountain Press Home Page

Cape Cod Highland Lighthouse Photo Copyright 2000 by Bobby Matherne

Books are Lighthouses Erected in the Sea of Time


Add Your Comments Guestbook by GuestWorld View Other Reader's Comments



Counselor? Visit the Counselor's Corner for Suggestions on Incorporating Doyletics in Your Work.
1988 Photo of Doyle Henderson, Eponymous Discoverer of Basic Tenets of Doyletics.

To Join the World-Wide Doyletics List,
Enter your email address below and Click on JOIN:

topica
 Join Doyletics!