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Zen in the Art of Archery
By Eugen Herrigel
4.3 out of 5 stars (171 Reviews)
$121.51
Availability:  Available for immediate delivery.
Publisher:  Vintage Books USA
Published:  April 1, 2001
Binding:  Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars.  Very good book, specially for people interested in the Shooting ..., June 27, 2016
By FB
Very good book, specially for people interested in the Shooting sport.

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5.0 out of 5 stars.  Five Stars, June 19, 2016
By Denise Poncet
Great in every way

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2.0 out of 5 stars.  Meh, June 11, 2016
By Craig Schneiderwind
Pretty much repeats the same thing over and over, but sorta interesting. Switches at the end to swordsmanship for some reason. If your Really into archery it's almost worth reading

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4.0 out of 5 stars.  A classic that is maybe a bit dated but still excellent., June 10, 2016
By P. Wung
I read this book a long time ago and I have returned to it.

Zen and the Art of Archery is still, for its time, an excellent description of an occidental immersing himself into the cultural and philosophical depths of Asia. When Herrigel visited Japan, he was unique, for there were not too many occidentals who ventured to Japan,nor were there too many who had the open mind or courage to enter into Asian art forms with guileless curiosity.

As a result, his account of his lessons with the master and his experience is about as pure as possible. But, he did still carry the Occidental ideas on learning, and training in an martial art. He was a skilled pistol shooter by his account so some of what his personal accounts were colored by that part of his makeup. His account though is relatively free of overt western arrogance and preconceived notions.

In the time that has elapsed between my first reading of this book and now, I have been changed by my own readings and prejudices. What Herrigel was trying to convey in this book, the modern writers call "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)", a term coined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. A state of being that conforms somewhat to what people used to call being in the zone, or the unconscious state of being completely comfortable with ones surroundings and being at such a heightened state of enhanced performance that performance is simple and unencumbered by the burden of thought. Indeed, the mind is completely unmoored from one's being, some have compared this to be a state of unconscious consciousness.

Ed Slingerland wrote about this in his book Trying Not to Try: Ancient China, Modern Science, and the Power of Spontaneity, a personal favorite. His concept of "flow" comes from Chinese philosophy, and it is called "wu-wei". There is indeed some differences between Slingerland's Chinese philosophy of Confucianism and Daoism versus Herrigel's Zen Buddhism. The Chinese school is much more formalized and more structured, while the Japanese is more mystical and less structured. Regardless of the formalism in their philosophy, the ideas are almost identical, different sides of the same coin.

The drawback for me is that Herrigel's account is showing its age, the accounts are somewhat naive and full of wonder at the vastly different turns of the mind that the master and other practitioners of archery practice versus his own Occidental mind.

I suppose I may be termed jaded after my own readings but Herrigel's account still carries a certain level of wonder as I read through it for the second time. It is indeed an excellent account of an Occidental's foray into the, for its time, mystery and mythical state of the Asian mind. It is still very worthwhile to read this short book and it is still very worthy of its place in the references on learning.

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5.0 out of 5 stars.  Classic Book on Zen, June 10, 2016
By A Customer
One of the classics when it comes to beginners mind and Zen. Picture words to describe the aesthetics of the practice centered on Archery. For those that want to know and experience walking Zen meditation from Budo perspective. A must have in your library.

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4.0 out of 5 stars.  Review of Zen in the Art of Archery, June 04, 2016
By JFO
Zen in the Art of Archery.

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