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Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana) Paperback – 29 Sep 1988
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The path to achieving Zen (a balance between the body and the mind) is brilliantly explained by Professor Eugen Herrigel in this timeless account. This book is the result of the author's six year quest to learn archery in the hands of Japanese Zen masters. It is an honest account of one man's journey to complete abandonment of 'the self' and the Western principles that we use to define ourselves. Professor Herrigel imparts knowledge from his experiences and guides the reader through physical and spiritual lessons in a clear and insightful way. Mastering archery is not the key to achieving Zen, and this is not a practical guide to archery. It is more a guide to Zen principles and learning and perfect for practitioners and non-practitioners alike.
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This is, more than anything else, a philosophical introduction into the ideas of practicing Zen ... and archery is the example offered, so as to demonstrate such practice. If you're after a thorough guide to archery, look elsewhere (e.g. Archery: The Art of Repetition). But if you're looking for a short guide to aspects of Buddhism, this is a good book.
It's a story about training, learning, the process, the growth.
Which happens to occur via learning archery. Which is an art learned according to some Buddhist ideas.
4 stars because although it is a nice 'little book' (as it says in Suzuki Teitaro's foreword) it is a very personal account, so-so well written … and for a person that just is not that into autobiographies it left sort of goal-less-ness or "so what?" feeling.
Shame as I was looking for more out of this on the two levels, archery and zen. Also felt his life in Japan wasn't really expressed enough. OR did I miss the point because I didn't like the style of writing.