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Zen Bow, Zen Arrow: The Life and Teachings of Awa Kenzo, the Archery Master from "Zen in the Art of Archery" Paperback – February 20, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; annotated edition edition (February 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159030442X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590304426
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An interesting and enlightening study by John Stevens."—The Japan Times

About the Author

John Stevens is Professor of Buddhist Studies and Aikido instructor at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Japan. He is the author or translator of over twenty books on Buddhism, Zen, Aikido, and Asian culture. He has practiced and taught Aikido all over the world.

More About the Author

John Stevens lived in Japan for thirty-five years, where he was a professor of Buddhist studies at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai. Stevens is a widely respected translator, an ordained Buddhist priest, a curator of several major exhibitions of Zen art, and an aikido instructor. He has authored more than thirty books and is one of the foremost Western experts on aikido, holding a ranking of 7th dan Aikikai. Stevens has also studied calligraphy for decades, authoring the classic Sacred Calligraphy of the East.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I believe this book is best read alongside Herrigel's "Zen and the Art of Archery."
Erik C. Pihl
An amazing and wondrous presentation by Mr. Stevens as well as an excellent collection of some Master Kenzo's writings and quotes.
Chuang tzu
A copy of this book in the right hands can lead to many personal and meaningful self-discoveries.
William Allred

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Steve Savage on February 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Informative, readable and inspiring account of Kenzo's life as well as an excellent anthology of his actual teachings. I loved John Stevens' way of explaining complex Zen terms in simple English: e.g., kensho - "see your nature" or "look into your nature;" jobutsu - "become Buddha;" and the ultimate Zen experience, satori, which Stevens explains means literally "remove distinctions," and which he, along with many others, translates as "enlightenment." This is great stuff for anyone interested in Japanese language and culture as well as providing a springboard for deeper investigations of Zen, of archery as a form of "practice" and of martial arts in general. Includes detailed notes on sources and an excellent bibliography. Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Leon Li on July 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Don't miss this book if you are interested in "Zen in the Art of Archery" and "The Method of Zen" by Eugen Herrigel.
The teaching of Awa is a pearl of wisdom.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Erik C. Pihl on May 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Stevens produces another one of his find vignettes of prominent Japanese martial artists. The field of Kyudo is not well known in the U.S. and anything that can be done to remedy that should be. I believe this book is best read alongside Herrigel's "Zen and the Art of Archery."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey the Juggernaught on August 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is one of my favourite books about archery.

Whenever the topic of Zen Archery comes up I automatically recommend this book.

If people ask about archery technique I recommend Precision Archery, but I always recommend that if want to get into the mental discipline of archery that they read Zen Bow Zen Arrow.

Another book on the topic of Zen I recommend is The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman. The principles of that book can be applied to almost anything, not just swordplay.

Zen Bow Zen arrow is worth reading again and again.

Unforunately I lost my copy (I think someone may have stolen it...) and I need to buy a new copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By devin vagt on May 1, 2008
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interesting and informative, but a little short for the money. If you read "zen in the art of archery" by eugene herrigel and didn't hear enough about awa kenzo, this book will give you what you want: it presents a limited biography and then gives some of his ( most important?) sayings and a few pictures of him with his bow. It got 4 out of 5 stars because it cost 12.95 list price plus shipping and is 101 pages long. Still a great read if you are interested in zen archery.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By AlchemistGeorge VINE VOICE on January 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
From Wikipedia:

"It was discovered that Master Kenzô, although a teacher of archery, was neither a teacher nor an adherent of Zen Buddhism. What Kenzô calls the "Great Doctrine" in the book was his own original practice, the Daishakyôdô, the "Way of the Great Doctrine of Shooting" rather than Zen.[1]"

"At first, Herrigel did not characterize his lessons as a form of Zen when he wrote about his experience in 1936. When he read D.T. Suzuki in 1938, he decided that Kenzô's teaching actually was Zen. Suzuki obviously endorsed this identification, since he wrote the introduction to the post-war edition of Herrigel's book. Modern scholarship on Zen has come to regard Suzuki's own reading of Zen as idiosyncratic and not grounded in traditions of Zen. What distinguishes the approach of Suzuki, Herrigel, and Master Kenzô himself is the way they developed the Taoist features of the tradition.[2]"

Check out Prof Shoji Yamada's book "Shots in the Dark" which gives you a context for understanding "Zen in the Art of Archery.

Also google Kenzo - you'll find he has an 'interesting' reputation. All agree he was a first rate archer.

There is an excellent post on the subject of the two books on a Budo forum by Earl Hartmann (who worked on Shots in the Dark with Professor Yamada. The post is #4 on this page - which compares and contrasts the views of the two authors, and explains that they are more in agreement than disagreement.

This quote particularly struck me:

"It is true that Awa used a lot of Zen aphorisms in his lectures. To paraphrase Stevens: this is news?
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jon B. Hudson on February 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a small book but diamonds are small-as is the brief instant of satori. a wonderful history of the great Zen archer Awa Kenzo with a treasure of gems of wisdom from his teachings: statements, aphorisms, koans and haiku.
whether you are seeking thru t'ai chi, target shooting or archery, the wisdom here will guide you in your practice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Nelson on December 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Zen Bow, Zen Arrow is a different kind of hunting book for most people. To hunt for and find an understanding of self and this life we live is, perhaps, the greatest adventure of all.
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