"The perfect mastery of the bow was considered an art by the Samurai, an art that knew no other goal than the highest experience of the here and now, of the moment as it is, beyond any strategies of thought and concept. [...] Each arrow is shot as if it were the only one, just as each moment of one's life is the ultimate moment. ...if the heart is right, each shot clears away some more of the obstacles clouding the vision of one's true nature." - Kyudo.org - Standing Zen
|A Japanese Kyudo archer.|
|A traditional Chinese Manchu archer.|
|A Chinese mounted archer during a military exam.|
|Chinese people performing 'Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Hawk' in a park, China.|
"‘Ta' means ‘hitting the centre' or ‘touching the centre', in the same way as when we practise archery, and you shoot the arrow; you touch the centre. This is the meaning of ‘ta' here, in shikantaza [Soto Zen seated meditation]."There has been a book written, called 'Zen and the Art of Archery', but it seems that book is not a particularly reliable resource on the role of zen in archery in Japan, which is a shame.
In February 2011 my partner and I decided to fulfill a long-held ambition to have a go at archery and so we joined an archery club here in Beijing. We progressed quite quickly but then the club shut down for a few months so that it could move location, and we are eager to return. Here is a picture of myself with some of my language students during an outing to the club we joined:
Recently, during the 2012 Olympics, a South Korean woman, called Kim Jang-Mi, won a gold medal in the women's pistol shooting category. She credited Buddhist Mindfulness meditation as having helped her win. This was specifically because more body control was required for this event.
|Kim Jang-Mi Celebrating her Gold Medal win.|
|Kim Jang-Mi taking part in the pistol shooting during the Olympics, London, 2012.|
|A Japanese Kyudo Club.|