View Full Version : Kyudo and Meditation

Black and Blue
7th February 2013, 19:04
I read the thread on Kyudo years ago and reread it today.I trained in the Zenko group as a member of Miyako Dojo in Washington DC for 16 years.
I spent some wonderful moments with Shibata Sensei and my immediate teachers.
In the mornings at Karma Choling everyone got up and would go and sit zazen for 20-30 minutes before class. All except Sensei, I and a few others. He would laugh and say "why sit when we can practice shooting" He would point at his watch and chuckle after five minutes mimicking that his knees were getting sore or his butt. "We should shoot" he would say.
He never mentioned to me about Zen or Buddhism at all. I always felt he was more a Taoist. The group does work with the Shambala system but I was never told I had had to sit or do anything but shoot and polish my heart deeply.
Before we shoot at our dojo we just take a moment to get "focused" then try to shoot as best we can.
Phil Scudieri

30th June 2013, 08:25

First of all I would like to congratulate you for being able to find such an examplery teacher as is your Shibata Sensei, and of course for your sincere dedication to Kyudo for so many years.

As it is seen from your post, Shibata Sensei is following the old ways and is trying to teach you the true spirit as well as meaning of Zen and most probably also of Shingon budhism and an ezoteric cult of Marishi-ten for Budo. But most importantly he is trying to show you the direct connections between all these different religious practices with Budo i.e. Kyudo.

While Zen practices zazen and dokusan, Koryu Budo practices zanshin, which in this context is not meant as a state of mind but rather as a moving meditation; i.e. meditation in the midst of some particular practice or work. Of course there are many other names for such a kind of meditation. While the dokusan is in Koryu Budo replaced by mokuso, which is another branch of meditation practices which is practiced by Koryu Budo. And Shibata Sensei is focusing you on zanshin and mokuso, which is quite a rare practice now days and a sign of true great teacher.

In regards to your assumption that Shibata Sensei is more a practitioner of Taoism then Zen, I would like to remind you that Zen was born from synthesis of Dhyana Budhism, that was brought to China by Bodhidharma (Daruma), and old Taoist practices. Therefore Ch'an or Zen has always had a strong connections with Taoism. Practically is very difficult, and also quite irrelevant for someone who is not seriously studying Ch'an or Zen, to distinguish which parts of Ch'an/Zen have their origins in Dhyana Budhism and which in Taoism. Though we should also bear into consideration that there are some quite important differences between chinese Ch'an and japanese Zen. For example japanese Zen has during the course of history also included into itself the teachings of Shingon Budhism, Shintoism and an ezoteric Marishi-ten cult, which have not been included into chinese Ch'an.

Grega Vodopivc