The Zen of tai chi

Zen master DT Suzuki, in the introduction to Zen in the Art of Archery, writes that archery is not “… for utilitarian purposes only or for purely aesthetic enjoyments, but … meant to train the mind; indeed, to bring it into contact with the ultimate reality.”

Sounds like tai chi, too. Training the body is equally key to balancing the dynamics of yin and yang in motion, of course, but it is a core notion that technique and application train the mind above all else.

“If one really wishes to be master of an art, technical knowledge of it is not enough,” he continues. “One has to transcend technique so that the art becomes an ‘artless art’ growing out of the Unconscious.”

“The archer ceases to be conscious of himself as the one who is engaged in hitting the bull’s-eye which confronts him. This state of unconsciousness is realized only when, completely empty and rid of the self, he becomes one with the perfecting of his technical skill, …”

“As soon as we reflect, deliberate, and conceptualize, the original unconsciousness is lost and a thought interferes,”Master Suzuki writes.

Seek silence in your thoughts. Balance thought with non-thought.

Excerpts from: Zen in the Art of Archery (Eugen Herrigel, 1953).


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