Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel

Zen in the Art of Archery

Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel is the classic book on Zen in bowmanship. The book was maybe the most important in bringing the traditions of Zen to the European audience. However, Herrigel’s interpretation of Zen and his sources have been disputed. This and Herrigel’s membership of The Militant League for German Culture, a nationalistic anti-Semitic political society during the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era have cast a long shadow over his writings and professional work.

After Herrigel’s death in 1955, his enormous collection of notes on Zen were edited and publishes by Alan Watts in 1960 as The Method of Zen. From Zen in the Art of Archery:

Every Master who practices an art molded by Zen is like a flash of lightning from the cloud of all-encompassing Truth. This Truth is present in the free movement of his spirit, and he meets it again, in ” It “, as his own original and nameless essence. He meets this essence over and over again as his own being’s utmost possibilities so that the Truth assumes for him˙ and for others through him˙a thousand shapes and forms.

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Zen in the Art of Archery

1 thought on “Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel”

  1. I read this when I was in my 30s and now again at 66. It is interesting and motivating yet at odds I think with the Christian walk of life. We do not seek “nothing” – we seek union with God through Christ. Even though, I still have an abiding interest in archery and go now and then to the shooting range. A perfect shot is a feeling of bliss – and frustration when trying to recreate it.


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