How can zen archery and zazen both be classed as the vehicle for the same awakening?

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I know there are many methods of meditation in the midst of circumstances. I am interested in the theory that zen archery is as an effective method of awakening as zazen.
AH – That’s fine, please feel free, your answer is as important as anyone elses and I find your questions valid.


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  1. If you look at enlightenment via a “zen lens” then you can get there any number of ways.
    I cannot run a table at pool by concentrating on the math. I must know the math. But, in my case, if I think while I shoot I miss. I especially miss if I start to realize I have a chance of running the table. I can think between shots – but during the shot – I just am. THAT’s how I manage to run the table. And THAT is enlightenment within a Zen “definition”.

  2. Any activity can be used for Zen.
    Archery requires a great deal of peace harmony and poise, this is why it is a good Zen practice. if you try firing a bow and pay attention you experience this for yourself.
    As for it being as effective, I would say it depends on the person. Some are visual oriented while others are audible oriented and others are Kinestheticaly oriented. It is those who are visually and Kinestheticaly oriented who are most helped by archery.
    _()_

  3. Hi Atmo Disha, an absolutely excellent question, please forgive me for going into real depth with it, but as a practitioner it is so significant that I cannot resist it. Zen Archery is meditative practice that concentrates the mind to a single point and opens up that concentrated mental power to take in the target and the action of shooting at it, without any other involuntary attachment, association, memory, thought, dream, emotion, desire or biological urge being able to interfere.
    When the arrow is aimed, mind, energy and action are fully unified in the here and now and when it is fired in this unified state in the gap before it hits the target, the consciousness can enter the egoless, timeless, deathless dimension, which is the absolute oneness of the void.
    In Zen archery the mind is fully present in witnessing the event totally and totally fulfilled in participating in shooting the arrow at the target. That is its meditation and that meditative state brings about its fullness of power and puts the practitioner in the most unified state possible. That is what makes Zen archery a purely meditative aspect of Taoist martial practice.
    I say this because the action of shooting the bow is to bring death to the target and this martial aspect must be understood clearly, otherwise it will not activate the primal fight or flight energy that is required to attain the ultimate convergence in oneself.
    So for Zen archery to be the most potent unity skill possible, the intention while focusing must be with martial intent, because only martial action can activate one’s primal power and unconditioned intelligence simultaneously.
    Many practitioners find it difficult to enter martial practice as a unity skill, but with the miracle of Zen archery, one realises that one can practice this meditative martial art with full blooded martial power and intention and thus activate one’s primal power and unconditioned intelligence simultaneously.
    If a Zen archer decides to test oneself against the skill of others for personal gain, the mind becomes attached to a particular result and then one’s sacred practice is shattered and one’s single pointed focus scattered, because the mind has a different ego-centred goal and this splits one’s force and drains one of one’s internal power.
    If one trains for competitive archery, then one trains under competitive pressure, because although every serious archer has skill, not every archer can stand the pressure and it is the one who can adapt to the pressure that wins the day. In this arena the fame and fortune of the ego is at stake; one is caught in externals and subject to them. In winning one feels powerful, because one has attained one’s goal and received the external acclaim.
    In losing one is robbed of one’s power, because one has not attained one’s goal and has not received the acclaim of externals. In practicing the art of Zen archery as a unity skill and a method of energy cultivation, transformation and redirection, one is not moved by externals and finds the golden mean, which is the very essence of power.
    In Zen archery one is alone with one’s innermost source of power intact. Concentration, contemplation and meditation helps the competitive archer win at archery, but because that is his primary focus, the illumination of Zen cannot enter. All energy follows intention and if it is one’s intention to use archery as a unity skill and one’s energy cultivation, transformation and redirection method, then Zen is the primary element and the door to illumination and vitality opens because that is the primary focus.
    When energy becomes totally focused it makes no difference whether one is absorbed in Zen archery, or sitting silently doing nothing, as in Zazen, the mind explodes into a completely new awakened dimension of consciousness. Zen archery is as much of a diamond thunderbolt method of awakening as Zazen.
    Nirvana

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