Kyudo as Meditation

People frequently compare kyudo to meditation, and while I think there is something to that, there is also something more. In Zen in the Art of Archery, Eugen Herrigel recounts several conversations with his teacher, Awa Kenzo, in which the latter expresses the idea of a natural release (離れ) by explaining that “It” shoots. What is “It?”

Personally I think the answer here is Mu, but the answer alone isn’t worth much. What counts is the experience, and that’s quite interesting, because as every kyudoka knows, the release doesn’t just happen. You have to prepare the way. You have to reach the full draw, both physically and spiritually, and only then, if you are able to let go of your self, can the natural release happen. In that moment, as Awa wrote, “… there is nothing. It is like water flowing.” And indeed, when it happens, there is a very real sense in which you wonder if you can take credit for the shot at all.

This is very important because it identifies not only the point at which kyudo and Zen become one, but provides a first-hand glimpse of how action in the world remains possible even within selflessness, within emptiness.

This entry was posted in buddhist practice, kyudo. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Kyudo as Meditation

  1. Rick Beal says:

    Thank you for the post

  2. Zen says:

    Good insight!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s