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Thread: The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery

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    The two messages below first appeared in the Koryu section under the heading "book review." So that more people might notice Yamada's article, I am reposting them here.

    ......W.B.

    ===========================

    Posted by W.Bodiford on 04-09-2001 07:29 PM

    If you are interested in Herrigel's Zen and the Art of Archery, be sure to read the following article:

    Yamada Shoji. 2001. "The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery." Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 28, nos. 1-2.

    This issue of the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies should be available in the libraries of major research universities (and via inter-library loan) in a month or so.

    Yamada's essay (which Earl Hartman translated into English as a selfless act of devotion to kyudo) explains how Herrigel's teacher came to create an odd new religion that had no relationship to Zen, how Herrigel came to misunderstand his teacher's archery as a form of Zen, and how that misunderstanding has been uncritically accepted by students of Japanese culture.

    Yamada's article will become a classic account of the misunderstanding of Japan. I highly recommend it.
    __________________
    William Bodiford
    ===================

    _____________________________________________
    Posted by Earl Hartman on 04-10-2001 01:33 PM

    Zen In The Art Of Archery is worth reading, so long as one goes into it with one's eyes open, but it is hard to imagine a book that would be worse as an introduction to kyudo as it is generally practiced in Japan. I speak from experience: Herrigel was one of my motivations for beginning kyudo, and it is only after many years of personal practice and independent research that I came to realize how skewed his presentation of kyudo was. I will not say completely mistaken; rather, his presentation deliberately concentrated on his (erroneous) understanding of the spiritual content of the practice to the exclusion of any disucssion of the practical side to what he was doing. The result is a lopsided discussion that does not do justice to the reality of kyudo training.

    There are many things in the book that are interesting and valuable, but as far as kyudo is concerned, the book is quite worthless if by reading it one intends to get an understanding of what kyudo is all about. Taken out of context, Herrigel's pronouncements about the nature of kyudo are dangerously misleading; and a solid grounding in kyudo practice under competent instruction is a must if one is to understand, and properly evaluate, what Herrigel is talking about. A reader with no practical experience in kyudo will inevitably develop a completely distorted image of kyudo if he relies on Herrigel alone.

    If one knows nothing about kyudo and wants to get a clear, objective, and balanced introduction to the art, the best book for this purpose is "Kyudo; The Essence and Practice of Japanese Archery" by Onuma and DeProspero. There are other English language books on the subject, but they are, for the most part, quite flawed. The Onuma/DeProspero book is, by far, the single best English-language book on the subject, bar none.

    Upthread, Professor Bodiford spoke about an article by Professor Yamada Shoji entitled "The Myth of Zen In The Art Of Archery". This article is a concise and dispassionate critique of Herrigel's work, and is, in my opinion, required reading for anyone seriously interested in understanding the true nature of Herrigel's "contribution" to the (mis)understanding of kyudo in the West.

    The translated article can be found at the following URL:

    http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/jjrs/586.pdf

    I should also point out that although I did the original translation, Professor Bodiford did the editing, without which the article would not be anywhere nearly as readable as it is.
    __________________
    Earl Hartman

    =======================================
    William Bodiford
    Professor
    Dept. of Asian Languages & Cultures
    UCLA

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    Dear Professor Bodiford,

    I've read somewhere that zen is considered a minority sect in Japan today. Is this true and has this always been the case?

    Also, I believe that Suzuki in one (or some) of his works stated something along the lines "Tendai is for the royal family, Shingon is for the nobility, Jodo is for the masses and Zen is for the warriors"? I probably do not quote him correctly, but from where does this view origin...is it/was it a fair statement?

    Regards
    Ulf Undmark

  3. #3
    Tracy Guest

    Thumbs down Yamada

    I would be interested to know what Mr. Yamada's background is. From the sounds of the article it sounds like he is another person who writes without the experience of zen, kyudo or any budo for that matter.
    His research of the historical data was wonderful. I was also fascinated with Mr. Awa's history.

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    Tracy:

    With all due respect, it is clear that you do not know whereof you speak. Professor Yamada is an experienced kyudo archer who studied under the late Inagaki Genshiro Hanshi, who was a student of Urakami Sakae Hanshi of the Heki Ryu Insai-ha (also known as Heki To Ryu). Urakami Hanshi also taught my own teacher, the late Murakami Hisashi Hanshi.

    May I ask if you yourself have any experience in kyudo? Judging from your post, it seems to me that you probably do not. Professor Yamada made no claims in the article that he was a student of meditation; indeed, the whole point of the article was that Herrigel was wrong when he said that kyudo is a form of Zen meditation.

    You are obviously starting with the preconceived notion that kyudo is a form of Zen meditation. It is not, and it never has been. The pernicious influence of Herrigel's book, and the writings of D.T. Suzuki (another armchair theorist who had no experience in budo yet wrote about it interminably), are the ONLY reasons that people in the West believe that it is.

    The entire purpose of Professor Yamada's article was to dispel that myth, and I think he did quite a good job. Sorry if it burst your bubble. I should also point out that Herriegl's teacher never made any claims that kyudo was a form of Zen either, as the article makes clear. Awa Sensei seems to have had a decidedly spiritual bent that he emphasized in his practice, perhaps to the detriment of other elements of traditional kyudo. This apparently put him at odds with the traditionalists. However, disagreements between teachers in Japan are quite common. There is no one single "approved" version of kyudo. People who only know about kyudo through Herrigel are always making the mistake that Herrigel's kyudo, which was a misinterpretation of a somewhat unorthodox approach to the art, is the only proper interpretation of kyudo. Again, it is not. Kyudo is far more multifaceted than most people think.

    Tha being said, kyudo most definitely has a spiritual aspect, but this is such an integral part of kyudo that everyone takes it for granted to the point that people do not babble about it incessantly the way Herrigel did. However, it is spiritual disipline in the service of learning a practical skill. In this process, one will have certain spiritual epiphanies and will learn a great deal about oneself from a spiritual perspective. However, that is just something that comes along with kyudo practice. It is an integral part of it, yes, but it is not the ultimate purpose. People who make it the ultimate purpose often just wind up gazing at their navels and forget that they need to learn how to shoot properly.

    If you want to learn about the spirit of kyudo from the horse's mouth rather than relying on the romanticized scribblings of a self-described philosopher-mystic who spent only 3 years learning kyudo once a week through an interpreter, and who then re-interpreted his experience through the lens of his preconceived ideas (which were based upon the writings of someone who had never picked up a bow), go to the following link:


    http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~cdea/J...koroNoYoi.html
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 13th April 2001 at 23:02.
    Earl Hartman

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    Mr. Hartman,

    You make a good point and thank you for the Link. However, please forgive me but I am looking at it from the zen perspective and not the Kyudo side. Since you are correct I have never picked a bow up. Well except for the time at the YMCA Camp at the age of 12 if that counts for anything, which by the way I did hit a bullseye at 12 feet on my first shot with no training. However, I do study Aikido and Zen.

    You correctly pointed out that Herrigal's book in by know means is a manual on kyudo. I believe it is a wonderful story about what can happen when you practice with the truest of sincerety of mind and body. Which leads me to ask you - can you have the experience of satori or even Zen without practicing zen officially under a Roshi? I believe Herrigal had the experience just as O'Sensei did as well as Awa to name just a few.

    As for my Zen teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi told me just this weekend in sanzen. Zen, Aikido, Kendo, Kyudo is all the same. Meaning that the final spiritual outcome is the same should you practice sincerely with both mind and body coordination. Most people get stuck on the body and the physical world. Therefore, I say to you - with all due respect, it is clear that you do not know whereof you speak as neither you or Professor Yamada appear to be Men of Zen. Therefore, how can one compare Zen to Archery until they have truely mastered both? In my opinion they cannot. Therefore, no apology needed as there was no bubble...



    Tracy Reasoner

    "Everything is Zen" - Buddha

    "Many think they know but they really don't know" - Jim Mora NFL coach .
    Last edited by Tracy; 17th April 2001 at 01:49.

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    Tracy, I have no idea what you are talking about. If we are to say that everything is the same and everything is Zen, that is so broad as to be completely meaningless. I do not see how your experience in Zen, no matter how broad or deep, gives you the authority to say that Zen and kyudo are the same. Why do Zen practitoners think that somehow they have the authority to talk about things in which they have no experience, yet take issue with others who, from the basis of their own limited experience, feel free to pontificate on things about which they know nothing? Since you have no experience in kyudo, I think it would be wise for you to stop trying to define it based on something you read in a book.

    Herrigel presented kyudo in his book specifically as a Zen practice. Professor Yamada makes a very convincing case that this was a figment of Herrigel's imagination. Inasmuch as Awa Sensei was not himself a Zen practitoner, and did not expound his shado as a way for reaching Zen, as the article makes clear, why should you not believe that? This was Awa Sensei's own view, not Professor Yamada's interpretation of it.

    I have never claimed to be a Zen practitoner. I do not understand why you should accuse me, or Professor Yamada, of something that neither of us have claimed. In discussions about kyudo with Zen practitoners, I have been told that many of the things found in kyudo practice bear a close resemblance to what they are striving for in their own practice. I am willing to take their word for it, but that's as far as it goes. I am interested in kyudo, not Zen. If a Zen person tells me I am doing Zen, that's just gravy for me. Like I said, your attitude stems from your preconception, based on Herrigel's book, that for something in budo to have value it must be some sort of Zen practice. I do not understand this attitude, frankly. Budo has its own value, and needs no help from Zen or anything else to be a valuable practice. Frankly, I think that it shows great disrespect to kyudo, or to any other budo, for that matter, to treat it as just a tool to be used to accomplish some other "higher" purpose, such as "enlightenment", for example. Kyudo should be practiced for its own sake, and not used as a stepping stone to achieve something that the practioner feels is more important than the art which he is practicing. Such a person will never understand the true spirit of the bow, even if it is right in front of his face.

    Like you said, you are looking at it from the Zen side, not the kyudo side. That is precisely your problem, as it was Herrigel's. Does not your Zen practice tell you to see a thing "in its as-it-isness"? To accept it for what it is instead of trying to redefine it through the lens of your own preconceptions? Why do you feel such a need to make everything over in the image of Zen? Why cannot kyudo be its own practice with its own unique spiritual insights? You are making the same mistake Herrigel did.

    Professor Yamada makes it quite clear that there are certain ideas common to both Zen and archery. His point was that Herrigel misunderstood these things, not that they do not exist. If you took the time to read the link that I posted, and taken the time to think about what Saito Sensei said, you should be able to understand that there is a deep spiritual side to the practice. Nobody ever said that there is not. There is. I am sure that Awa Sensei had a deep spiritual experience. I have had many spiritual experiences in kyudo as well. It is part of the practice. Since I know nothing about Zen, I am not going to say that these are Zen-type enlightenment experiences. They are spiritual revelations on the road of kyudo. I am satisifed with that.

    You say that most people get stuck in the body and the physical world. Why is this a problem? Is it better to have your head in the clouds? The problem with that attitude is that kyudo is a physical practice. People who think it is a purely spiritual practice are wrong, precisely because this idea introduces a dichotomy between the body and the spirit where there is none. This is typical Western dualistic thinking. In kyudo, the spirit and the body, the mind and technique, the "jutsu" and the Do" are one and the same. There is no difference. You cannot have one without the other. The validity of a person's spiritual insight into the way of kyudo is revealed through how he shoots the bow. Since you have not practiced kyudo, I do not expect you to understand this, however.

    If you want to say that Zen and kyudo are the same because "the final spiritual outcome is the same should you practice sincerely with both mind and body coordination", well, of course. Did anyone ever say that kyudo does not require such practice? Everything requires such practice. Some people just don't understand that, that's all. Kyudo cannot be accomplished without the deepest coordination between spirit and technique. This is such a truism that it needs no elaboration whatsoever. Kyudo archers take this for granted, and so it is not necessary to talk about it too much.

    Whether or not someone can have the experience of Zen or satori without training under a Roshi is not something I am qualified to discuss. Like I said, however, that is not my goal. I am interested in understanding kyudo. Whether kyudo and Zen are the same or different is of little concern to me. Kyudo, by itself, is more than enough for me.
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 17th April 2001 at 19:01.
    Earl Hartman

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    Zen is seeing “directly” into the true nature of things. This method of perceiving the world and its apparent individual “things” can be applied to any and all activities. Thus, “all” activities are the same in providing a means for acquiring this “direct seeing”. All activities, including Kyudo, Aikido, Chado, Ditch Digging-do, etc. can be beneficial in acquiring this “direct seeing”. It is a person’s individual interest and aptitude for these activities that make them effective. It is less important what the activity is and more important what the individual brings to the activity. I have not read Mr. Herrigel's book and know next to nothing of Kyudo, (although I find it a fascinating art.), but if Mr. Herrigel found something Zen-like in its activity then it was beneficial for his personal development and good for him. If this Zen-like emphasis is not the focus of Kyudo in general, that is all right as well, that does not mean it cannot be used for such a purpose by an individual.

    Sincerely,
    Scott R. Brown

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    Default Please Correct Me If I'm Wrong Here

    It is my understanding that Herrigel and his wife went back to Germany and joined the Nazi party. Zen is sometimes viewed as "beyond" morality, but Philip Aitken Roshi refers to this perspective as "Buddhistic," saying that an underpinning of morality (the Eight Noble truths) is required for Buddhist practice.

    So when I read statements from the Zennists above, extolling Herrigel as a man of Zen or enlightenment, I wonder how that goes with the Nazi party. I would not be surprised if a smug prat might pipe up with "The nazi party holds the Buddha nature too." Sure, in the sense that anything that exists has the Buddha nature, which is merely a philosophical tautology - "Anything that exists does exist" or ""everthing is interconnected." (by the way, I am not accusing anyone of being a "smug prat" - but anyone inclined to pull the 'Buddha nature gambit' will, by Buddha nature, define themselves as such)

    I will indulge in a little baseless speculation (no more so than the assertion that Herrigel actually understood kyudo in his likening it to Zen). Perhaps his joining the Nazi party was merely a manifestation of his capacity for delusion equal to his likening kyudo to zen and thus it is natural that his conclusions about the nazi party, emanating from his manifest capacity for delusion, fantasy, romanticism and misinterpretation that would also be distorted. Then again, even skewed insights have the Buddha nature. You think me cynical? - even cynicism has the Buddha nature.

    Sorry, it's late, I just finished paying my taxes. Whoops! Even the IRS has the Buddha nature.

    of course, if I am wrong and herrigel did not join the nazi party, and instead, joined the White Rose resistence movement in Germany, perhaps even firing his bow at the random Gestapo agent (I hope he tried to hit the target!) , then I'll try a little of that Zen archery myself.

    best

    Ellis Amdur

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    Interesting information Ellis!!

    Even though all things possess a Buddha nature not all things clearly perceive the Buddha nature. If Herrigel had truly realized his Buddha nature it is doubtful he would have become a Nazi. History is replete with violent Buddhists as it is with violent Christians and I think it appropriate to question the motivation and understanding of those who use violence as a problem solving device.

    Sincerely,
    Scott R. Brown

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    Ellis:

    As usual, properly acerbic, pointed, and relevant comments.

    Herrigel was a Nazi Party member. Professor Bodiford even sent me an e-mail with his party membership number. Professor Yamada has also unearthed documents either written by Herrigel, or by people in support of Herrigel, that apparently were intended to be used as evidence at a rehabilitaion hearing after the war. Herrigel was not rehabilitated, apparently, which would indicate that the Occupation authorities felt that he was a real Nazi, and not just a fellow traveller. If I am not mistaken, I think Professor Yamada (or someone; I can't remember where I heard this now) may also have the text of Herrigel's speech given on the occasion of his installation as rector of Erlangen University, which apparently makes his Nazi sympathies quite plain. Professor Yamada hopes to have these published and translated in the future.

    If I have got my facts wrong, and if Professor Bodiford is lurking on this thread, I am sure he will correct me.

    Did you read Professor Yamada's article? I'd like to know what you think of it.
    Earl Hartman

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    During the 1930s, Jung described Herrigel as a Nazi who distracted his conscience with esoteric Buddhism.
    ( http://www.google.com/search?q=cache...nazi&hl=en</a> ) However, in his own eyes, Herrigel evidently equated Nazism's "Revolutionary Spirit" with Zen's "destructive force." http://www.friesian.com/poly-2.htm .

    FWIW, and IMO, Mrs. Herrigel's book shows a lot better understanding of Japanese culture.

    Google is Zen.

  12. #12
    Tracy Guest

    Post It is still a damn good book!

    No matter if Herrigal was a nazi or what his motives were. It is still a damn good book and that is proven through the great reviews it has received and the many printings since 1953.

    My personal feeling is that Yamada is taken the opportunity to discredited a piece of work even by going as far as discrediting mathematically the chance of hitting the shaft of a first shot. Which in my opinion is absolutely ridiculous. People win the lottery everyday with greater odds.

    I think Ken Wilber said it best - "We do not want our sages to have bodies, egos, drives, vitality, sex, money, relationships, or life, because those are what habitually torture us, and we want out. We do not want to surf the waves of life, we want the waves to go away. We want vaporware spirituality"

    Not that I would refer to Herrigal as a sage but the mere suggestion that enlightened people cannot be misled or make mistakes is nonsensical.

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    Default Vaporware????

    Martin Heidegger was a magnificent philosopher, who gave perhaps the greatest exposition of "immanent" philosophy - that the proper philosophical question is "Being" itself. One of his central concepts is that the greatest philosophical question was one's "Being towards death." In other words, the ultimate question is posed by the fact that we will die. In heidegger's view, we live, either authentically by facing this or inauthentically by not facing it.

    Heidegger became an enthusiastic Nazi. He was even instrumental in the removal of his own teacher, Edmund Husserl, a Jew, from his position in the same university. Husserl founded a branch of philosophy called Phenomenology, in a sense, a "Zen" of German philosophy in that it was concerned with real experience.

    One of Husserl and Heidegger's students was Emanuel Levinas. Levinas stated, correctly, that Heidegger's wonderful philosophy carried the roots of fascism. Two reasons: It was a "totalizing" philosophy - it offered no transcendent being beyond being (a divine energy or spark) and therefore it was a philosophy that encompassed existence. A transcendent philosophy, such as the one Levinas eventually developed, approaches "infinity" rather than "totality." In simple terms, the infinite universe is never known, never encompassed because knowledge only leads to more unfolding. The totalized universe can be "realized" by the "enlightened being."

    Heidegger's universe is composed the same way a fascist political system does. Just as Hegel's universe, another "totalized" one, led to Marxism. In other words totalitarianism can be political or intellectual, but if one holds the stance in either realm, one will probably act on it in any realm.

    The second reason that Levinas attacked Heidegger's worldview was that Levinas defined humans as we really are. Yes, we are afraid of death, but the most human part of us transcends that animal fear by being afraid of/for OTHER'S deaths. The root concern of humanity is, in Levinas's view, responsibility for one's acts, that, even if one turns away from it deliberately, one cannot hide from the fact one is responsible. (Similar to the samurai ethic at it's best - that one sacrifices oneself for something larger than oneself.)

    I'm not doing justice to this, I am aware, but in short, Heidegger's universe is, like pop-Zen, be it new age or that of many Japanese priests, amoral. Levinas' universe is fundamentally moral - in other words, there is good and there is evil. I recall when Chogyam Trumpa's enlightened sucessor, Ozel Tenzing, knowingly infected followers with AIDS, a person named Butterfield wrote a long angst ridded essay in the Sun magazine suggesting, in part, that Ozel had given these people a "teaching," an opportunity to transcend their attachment to health and life.

    True buddhists, in fact, are aware of this, and this is where the eight noble truths lie. Zen without Buddhism, in other words, without the sangha with it's rules, morality and discipline, is an excuse of psychopathic detachment. That is why the "bodhisattva" ideal is to reject satori until all sentient beings are enlightened.

    Interestingly, Levinas was not a pacifist. He fought in the French resistence. His opposition to murder, his acceptance of responsibility for other's deaths, led him to fight.

    So returning to Herrigel. He may have had some wonderful experiences, even, perhaps appreciating the interwoven nature of the universe itself. In my neck of the woods, that's called getting high, and whether one does it on acid or starvation or discipline, it has no intrinsic value. I quoted a rabbi in my book - to paraphrase, he said something like, "I have no doubt that the murderous priests of the Inquisition had the same mystical experiences that I do. The questions isn't where you go when you go 'out there.' The question is 'what you bring back.'

    Tracy might find it a "damn good book." So, in the same way were Casteneda's works. But it was clear to me in my trips to the Baja and Sonora deserts that Casteneda had never been there - there's too much cactus to be running at night. Both men wrote fiction. In Casteneda's case, it was conscious. In Herrigel's, it was obviously his fantasies and misinterpretations of Japanese and Zen both. But such romanticism is, I believe, connected to a character trait in him that would be swept by whatever passion move him most powerfully, be it a great archer whom he couldn't understand or an atavistic god-imbued political philosophy like Nazism.

    In short, Tracy, it is your adulation that smacks of "vaporware." That you are thrilled or entertained by the book is not evidence of it's value. The point is not that "enlightened" people can't make mistakes. It is simply that they, of all people, cannot be let off the hook because they reorganized their neural net to get high and people seem to think they are so damn special when they do.

    On another note, I witnessed a kyujutsu practitioner split his own arrow.

    With respect

    Ellis Amdur
    Last edited by Ellis Amdur; 20th April 2001 at 02:18.

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    Default Just some thoughts!!

    Gentlemen,

    All your posts have been interesting, informative and thought provoking. I think it is important to keep in mind that, regardless of a person’s moral outlook and actions it is possible to experience some aspects of truth and communicate that experience. I am not attesting to the truth or falsity of Herrigel’s writings for, as I have previously written, I have not read his book. However, it is clear that many have gained benefits from his writings. Each individual reading his work must determine the truth or falsity of Herrigel’s perspective. My experiences have taught me that the truths I perceive today may be altered or disposed of with further learning, growth and experience and some truths I once thought foolish have with further learning, growth and experience become quite understandable. While many search for truth, the final arbiter of what the truth is can only be determined by each individual, for we are each responsible for our own actions and beliefs. The Chinese have a saying, “A thousand monks, a thousand religions.” No two people will ever perceive or experience the truth in the same exact manner. Apparently Tracy and many others have found benefit in Herrigel’s writings whether they were writings of fantasy or not. Fools and the ignorant are as perfectly capable of perceiving truth from time to time as the rest of us.

    I agree with Ellis that it is important not to confer grandiosity to the messenger because of the grandness of his message. After all there is only one truth that is expressed through a multiplicity of perspectives. A particular view of the truth that speaks to one person may not speak to another. The best that any person can do in expressing their own spiritual experiences to others is to point the direction they have traveled. It is like the finger pointing to the moon. Once you find the moon, the finger becomes unimportant; it was merely the means to the end, not the end in itself. It is natural to admire those who have helped us to realize certain spiritual truths, but it is the truths that are important not the messenger. Truth stands on its own regardless of whether a saint or a sinner speaks it. It just “seems” more credible if it comes from the saint.

    Thank you all for your contributions to my education on this matter. I appreciate the many views and experiences that each of you has brought to this discussion. It is encouraging to me to read such educated and well thought out opinions.


    Sincerely,
    Scott R. Brown

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    Tracy:

    The popularity of Herrigel's book is no barometer of its value. Pokemon cards are popular too.

    I'm glad you brought up the target in darkness episode. This episode, and the meaning Herrigel ascribes to it, is really the heart of Herrigel's view of kyudo.

    It is clear by the way Herrigel presents this episode, and the words he ascribes to Awa, that he is asserting that if the archer is enlightened and open to the power of "It", he can perform such miraculous feats as hitting his own arrow in the dark. Herrigel presents this feat by Awa as something that didn't surprise Awa at all and which he nonchalantly ascribed to the power of "It", some mysterious force in the universe that can act through a person if that person is sufficiently attuned to it.

    This is, of course, a very seductive idea: one need not worry about technique but must just open oneself up to "It" and let "It" do all the work. Who would not want to learn how to do that?

    Does this idea sound familiar? It should. "It" is none other than "The Force" that George Lucas popularized in his Star Wars films. I'll lay gold to groceries that Lucas has read Herrigel.

    For Herrigel's assertion of the power of "It" to have any meaning, at least as far as kyudo is concerned, it must be seen as something that can lead to the consistent repetition of such feats. The problem with this is that according to the testimony of Komachiya and Anzawa, Awa specifically disavowed any special meaning to the incident and said quite plainly that it was nothing more than a coincidence, just luck, like winning the lottery. Of course these things happen. But it was just luck. If he really believed what Herrigel asserts he said, then he would have said the same thing to Komachiya and Anzawa. However, the fact that he clearly said it was just a coincidence shows that he did not believe that "It" had anything to do with it. Thus, Herrigel's assertion of the nature of "It" and its fundamental importance to kyudo must be seen, by Awa's own testimony, to be mistaken.

    Also, you missed the point about Professor Yamada's use of computer simulations to detertmine the rarity of the occurrence. He was not trying to say it was impossible, he was just trying to ascertain exactly how rare such an occurrence is. While it is rare, I myself have done it on more than one occasion. The only result was that I had to get my arrows repaired.

    This is what Urakami Hanshi has to say about the spirit of kyudo:

    "The purpose of the Way of Shooting is, by building up your courage, correcting yourself, and making your bones and sinews firm, to strike the target following the Ho (the Law, i.e., the Law of Shooting, or the Shaho). Therefore, everyone who wants to shoot a bow must make their intentions true, set their spirit to rights, and make the form of the shooting correct by following the proper standards, all the way from ashibumi, dozukuri, torikake, tenouchi and yugamae, through uchiokoshi and hikiwake sanbun no ni (hikiwake two thirds), and up to and including tsumeai, nobiai, yagoro, hanare and zanshin. When the form of the shooting is correct, your joints will be properly aligned, the power of your muscles will be properly balanced, your draw length will settle in accordance with your physique, your mind will become settled and distractions will cease to trouble you, your body and limbs will be filled with vitality, you and the bow will become one, your mind and body will be firm and resolute and the bow unwavering, and the entire arrow will fill with power and quicken with life. In this way you must wait for all of these separate elements to unite into one and for the release to come of itself.

    If you shoot the arrow in this way, you will never miss the target by thinking too much. This is not just mosha guchu (a shot done in a haphazard way strikes the target accidentally) but hosha hitchu (a shot done in accordance with the Law never misses). Thus, if ever the arrow is shot and it doesn't strike the target, you must consider deeply whether the form of your shooting conforms to the proper standards or whether your mind and spirit are united, and search within yourself for the answer. Since whether the target is struck or missed depends entirely on yourself, hitting the target does not warrant boasting nor missing it anger.

    The essential thing is to just dispel all doubt and ego and awaken to the as-it-isness of Nature, to not lapse into thinking and discrimination, to leave the realm of intention and thought behind, and, like an object reflected in a bright mirror or the moon reflected on the surface of the water, to calm the eyes of the mind in the realm of munen muso (no intention, no thought) and to strive to shoot the arrow according to the Law."

    This may sound like Zen to you. But it is kyudo.
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 2nd May 2001 at 02:59.
    Earl Hartman

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