- You'll save an extra 5% on Books purchased from Amazon.ca, now through July 29th. No code necessary, discount applied at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Zen in the Art of Archery Paperback – Jan 26 1999
Special Offers and Product Promotions
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
So many books have been written about the meditation side of Zen and the everyday, chop wood/carry water side of Zen. But few books have approached Zen the way that most Japanese actually do--through ritualized arts of discipline and beauty--and perhaps that is why Eugen Herrigel's Zen in the Art of Archery is still popular so long after it first publication in 1953. Herrigel, a philosophy professor, spent six years studying archery and flower-arranging in Japan, practicing every day, and struggling with foreign notions such as "eyes that hear and ears that see." In a short, pithy narrative, he brings the heart of Zen to perfect clarity--intuition, imitation, practice, practice, practice, then, boom, wondrous spontaneity fusing self and art, mind, body, and spirit. Herrigel writes with an attention to subtle profundity and relates it with a simple artistry that itself carries the signature of Zen. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
The book's beauty lies in a westerner's desperate attempts to make logical sense of concepts that are irrational and experiential. For example, the master told the author to let go of the string but also to not let go... Let the spirit "It" pull the string from the hand. Gradually releasing it, the string should leave the hand as though passing through butter.
I can attest to this idea's power. In piano, achieving pleasant tone is a contradictory skill. On the one hand, you have to play with enough force to project tone, on the other hand, you have to attack the key gently to create a rounded sound. The solution I found is called the "controlled drop," where you must let the arm drop but catch it. Like letting go of a bowstring, letting go of my arm to make pleasant sound at the piano is a joint effort between conscious and unconscious will.
Illustrating the sometimes difficult ideas are great anecdotes and quotes in the book. Like when the author challenged the master to shoot blindfolded, thinking it would be a rhetorical request. Instead, the master did just that, hitting the bullseye and splitting the first arrow with a second. And like when the master said, when you make a good shot, do not celebrate, bow and thank the spirit It. You are not responsible.
Perhaps the quotes and stories in this book anger some students of kyudo because they are kind of movie cliches by now, but at the time, it was new.Read more ›
I am the translator of the article "The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery" by professor Yamada Shoji, mentioned upthread by another reviewer. Professor Yamada is an experienced kyudo practitoner. I also have been practicing kyudo for 30 years, 11 of them in Japan under the tutelage of some of the most senior instructors in Japan.
To put it bluntly, Herrigel got everything, and I mean everything, wrong. He himself only practiced kyudo for three years, if his translator Sozo Komachiya is to be believed (he started in 1926 and returned to Germany in 1929). He spoke no Japanese. He was himself a mystic (or he wanted to be one, anyway) intent on understanding Zen, not archery, and he had very definite pre-formed ideas about what he was looking for and what he believed Zen, and, by extension kyudo, to be. Given such a situation, the impending disaster was a forgone conclusion. Even with the best instruction he would not have understood kyudo.
His book is very seductive, filled as it is with tantalizing mystical stories about a seeker on the road to "enlightenment". So, it will appeal to romantics who have no experience in either Zen or kyudo, and it has been my experience that the book indeed appeals primarily to such people. It is instructive to note that those people who have experience in either discipline are quick to point out how thoroughly Herrigel bollixed it up.
I began kyudo under the influence of his book, and it was only after many years that I fully realized exactly how pernicious that influence was.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I just finished reading the book a second time after having it sit on my bookshelf for the last 25 years. It is as refreshing now as it was all those years ago. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Tai Chi Enthusiast
Cosmic transforming mystic amazing...everyone should buy and read this enlightening and amazing tome which will change your life for the better...forever!Published on Nov. 11 2013 by Gary W. Wright
Eugene Herrigel's "Zen in the Art of Archery" is by no means a definitive explanation of Zen Buddhism or even Kyudo for that matter. Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2011 by Jenn Catanzaro
I thought the story as a whole could have been better. I recognize what Herrigel was attempting to do: not bring Zen to the reader, but rather let the reader discover it for... Read morePublished on March 2 2004 by Amazon Customer
was that when we use short cuts we cheat our inner development. There is a point in his training when Mr.Herrigel, begins to hit the target. Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2003 by Review Monster
Somebody writes a book making certain claims and assertions about the subject matter. In this case, Zen and Kyudo. Why should this man's opinion be accepted on face value? Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2003 by Dr Tathata
Living in Japan for a very long time and practicing Aikido, I was presented the book, which is a standard work in Zen in Japan by an old Japanese man. Read morePublished on Nov. 21 2002 by GZorn
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Exercise & Fitness
- Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Psychology & Counseling
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Philosophy > Eastern > Buddhism > Zen
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Philosophy > Eastern > Buddhism > Zen Philosophy
- Books > Religion & Spirituality > Buddhism > Zen
- Books > Religion & Spirituality > Buddhism > Zen Philosophy
- Books > Religion & Spirituality > Other Eastern Religions & Sacred Texts
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Individual Sports > Archery
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Individual Sports > Martial Arts