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Zen in Art: Kyudo (Archery)

For the past six weeks we have been looking at the Pillars of Buddhism, The Two Truths, the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight Fold Path (through Right Action). Let's now take a path less traveled before continuing on the Middle Way to Right Livelihood. Actually, I write about a form of livelihood raised to a higher level through Zen.

In Japan many art forms were seen to be amplified by Zen practice. Kyudo or Japanese archery is one such practice raised to an Art form. Here we can define art as searching for the unbounded practice unfolding the essence of an activity. Generally there are two characteristics of form rising to a level of "Art." First, it takes skill and unusual patience to master. Second, the activity performed by a "master," is seen by others as being effortless inspiring a sense of wonder.

Our Buddhism Book Bunch (BBB) completed Zen In The Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel. It is his story of entering a Zen-Life through the study of archery while he taught in Japan in the 1920s. It is a story of years of immersion in realizing-life through dedication to a spirit/energy undergirding action. This is the coming together of "Zen as the everyday mind," of Baso Matsu (p.viii). It is the Great Doctrine of Life. What is this doctrine?

It is (still) a matter of life and death to the extent that it is a contest (playing-out) of the art form (archery) within him (or herself). And this kind of contest is not a paltry is for the archer (artist) to become the unmoved center...becoming simultaneously the aimer and the aimed the hitter and the hit. Then going beyond...the art becomes artless (that too dissolves) back into the essence (the unmoving core). [p.7].

D.T. Suzuki in the forward speaks of the spiritual development of a person through Zen practice who becomes "A Zen Artist of Life."One's Zen Life is fully expressed in that he/she no longer needs the implements but indeed becomes an amalgam of all things played-out in one's performance as history-one's true "Body of Work..."

Sangha Activities


  • Our Beach sitting on the Bike-Path at Oyster Pond and Surf Drive begins April 4, 2017, from 6:30AM until 7:00AM then we all go to Pie-in-the-Sky for coffee.

  • Hanamatsuri (Buddha's BirthDay) will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at our regular Tuesday Night Sangha Service beginning at 6:30PM.

  • Our Spring Sesshin will be April 28 starting at 6:00PM and concluding at Noon on April 30, 2017. It will be held in Falmouth at the lake house of Enjitsu Chris Charyk, 45 Beebe Acres Rd, Falmouth, MA 02540. You may stay at the house Friday and Saturday night or return for each day's sessions. There will be more about the agenda in the next few weeks. Please RSVP Chris at

1. Each January-March, we return to the basics, that is discuss the life and teachings of the historical Buddha as the foundation of our Soto Zen practice. This will include the Five Turnings of the Dharma Wheel, The Three/Four Seals, The Four Noble Truths and Noble Eight-Fold Path. This is a good opportunity for new comers to explore these teachings. Please ask friends to join you and us as we do so!

2. Like String for Beads, is a compilation of my Dharma talks, notes, poems and Facebook comments I have produced over the last five years. Special thanks to Enjitsu-san Chris Charyk for pulling the pieces together in this book! There will be copies available every Tuesday night, or let me know if you want me to mail you a copy. The book is $25 for the first copy and $15 for extra copies while they last.

3. Visit our new library named for Diane “Yugen” Tucker. The cart was a donation to the Sangha by Kyoshin Elin Kinney as Dana for her Jukai on November 5, 2016…many bows! The books will be added over the next few weeks and Kyoshin-ni has agreed to be our Librarian. A donation of $1 is recommend to check out books and magazines for up to three weeks. It really is a cute cart drop-by and see it soon. Oh, we wheel it out each Tuesdays and for zazenkai and sesshin, or if you would like to see if we have a book you want, get in touch with Elin <>.

4. Meditation is also held each TUESDAY at 10:00AM at the Falmouth Senior Center.

5, Our next book selection for the Buddhism Book Bunch is a wonderful treatise on The Bodhisattva Precepts. We will read this for both April and May, 2017 discussing the first half of the book, chapters 1-13 on April 30 and the remaining chapters 14-23 on May 21. Remember we'll select a book for our summer reading (June-August) at our May 2017 meeting.

6. Our Zendo is open at 6:30PM (good time for newcomers to get aquatinted) at the UUFF, 840 Sandwich Road, for our weekly service which starts at 7:00PM.

Silent Thunder Order (STO) ACTIVITIES: See our website for details.

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