The book Zen and the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel, discusses the spirituality connected with the art form in the sport of archery. In this book, Herrigel describes many aspects of how archery is, in fact, not a sport, but an art form, and is very spiritual to those in the east. As an actor, this book helps you to use your spirituality in your acting.
Archery, in this book, was the way that the author found his way into Zen Buddhism. He studied this art, which is referred to as the "artless art," to gain experience in the field of Zen Buddhism. At first, one might think that archery has no place in Zen, but, through discussion and explanation, it is revealed that archery is quite a large part of Zen. It is not through the actual physical aspect of shooting arrows at targets that archery is Zen, but through the art and spirituality through which it is performed. It is not merely shooting an arrow to hit a target, but becoming yourself the target and then, in turn, hitting yourself, of course not literally, but spiritually, and by meeting the spiritual goal, you will then meet the physical goal. The contest is, therefore not with the arrow or the target but with oneself. The whole art of archery is internal, within
Zen is not only used for the Japanese arts. This test consisted not solely of skills, but also of the spiritual aspect of archery. " The idea is to, as said by Herrigel's teacher, "stop thinking about the shot. When addressing the idea that Zen had only been involved in the art of archery in recent history, Herrigel stated that archery, just as all other Japanese art forms, had been related to Zen from the beginning and that it was not a new occurrence at all. This book is in fact a great resource for actors, for that specific reason. By the title even, one may think that, well, this is only about archery, and that this has nothing to do with acting, but that"tms not the case. To really be able to not think about the shot is to have to "let go of yourself," as said by the master. You can use Zen in everything you do, to make it more spiritual. " Archery is, in the sense of Zen, is described as a ceremony, with the main goal being to be able to perform it "effortlessly. oneself, and not external with the bow and arrows. If an actor is not spiritually in tune with what he is doing, he will not properly get his point across, and his acting will not be very good. The learning process for the Zen in archery is a long process, focusing at first on drawing the bow "spiritually," then moving on to holding the arrow and finally to "'loosing' the arrow. In acting, you can use it to become more connected to your character and to the situations you are working with. Although the book is directly about archery, it can be applied to almost anything. This book relates to acting, not by talking about acting, but through the discussion of spirituality.