Books and Movies Reviews

Zen and the Art of Archery

The book Zen and the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel, discusses the spirituality connected with the art form in the sport of archery.In this book, Herrigel describes many aspects of how archery is, in fact, not a sport, but an art form, and is very spiritual to those in the east.As an actor, this book helps you to use your spirituality in your acting.
Archery, in this book, was the way that the author found his way into Zen Buddhism.He studied this art, which is referred to as the “artless art,” to gain experience in the field of Zen Buddhism.Atfirst, one might think that archery has no place in Zen, but, through discussion and explanation, it is revealed that archery is quite a large part of Zen.It is not through the actual physical aspect of shooting arrows at targets that archery is Zen, but through the art and spirituality through which it is performed.It is not merely shooting an arrow to hit a target, but becoming yourself the target and then, in turn, hitting yourself, of course not literally, but spiritually, and by meeting the spiritual goal, you will then meet the physical goal.The contest is, therefore not with the arrow or the target but with oneself.The whole art of archery is internal, within oneself, and not external with the bow and arrows.The learning process for the Zen in archery is a long process, focusing atfirst on drawing the bow “spiritually,” then moving on to holding the arrow and finally to “‘loosing’ the arrow.”Archery is, in the sense of Zen, is described as a ceremony, with the main goal being to be able to perform it “effortlessly.”The idea is to, as said by Herrigel’s teacher, “stop thinking about the shot.”Once you stop thinking about the shot it will happen, but until then, it will not.To really be able to not think about the shot is to have to “let go of yourself,” as said by the master.Thefirst ;test,; of sorts, taken by Herrigel in the area of arch…


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