Zen and Archery


“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Confucius

“If I did not do these things, I could not say these things.” – Simone Weil.

“Without practice, there’s no knowledge.” – Paulo Freire

“Practice and enlightenment are one” – Dōgen Zenji.

“What I propose is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing.” -Hannah Arendt.

“Everything you encounter in your life is your practice.” – Roshi Kosho Uchiyama.

“The best way to understand is to do.” Immanuel Kant, Education (9: 477)

“Like an archer, an arrow,
the wise man steadies his trembling mind,
a fickle and restless weapon.” – The Dhammapada

“There’s a difference between being still and doing nothing.”  Mr. Han. The Karate Kid (2010)

We are not disembodied minds made to know abstract theories. Rather, we develop skills and practices, our bodies learn, and so we discover what we could not know otherwise. Practices shape the way our minds perceive, remember, and anticipate.  They teach us specific ways to pay attention or to stay alert. Our skills and practices shape us as profoundly as any product they may produce.

“Zen and Archery” teaches students to pay attention to their lives by training them to shoot a bow, to reflect, and to write. We will think about our practices both for the sake of the practices themselves and for the sake of how those practices shape us as practitioners. Our texts will help us discover how to function as mindful members of a community of practitioners.




ArcherySchedule 2016

ABRC Waiver



Final Paper Prompt

NPD 3000 Research Essay 2015

Presentation Prompt



the art of sitting quietly

MacIntyre, Alasdair. The Nature of Virtues-Chapter 14 After Virtue.

Dreyfus, Herbert. “How Far is Distance Learning…” On the Internet

Shoji Yamada, The_Myth_of_Zen_in_the_Art_of_Archery


Texts to Buy for Class

Botton, Alain de, Consolations of Philosophy. Pantheon, 2000.

Crawford, Matthew.  The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.

Dillard, Annie. The Writing Life. Harper Perennial, 1990.

Herrigel, Eugen. Zen in the Art of Archery. Vintage Books, 1981.

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions On Writing and Life. Anchor, 1995.

Watts, Alan. The Way of Zen. Vintage, 1999.

Resources for Class

Web page: Archery 360

Stowe, Doug.  Wisdom of the Hands

Living Crafts

Kelly, Tom.  The Tenth Legion.

Questions to address in your presentations

Other Resources

Richard Sennett, The Craftsman.

Peter Sloterdijk, You Must Change Your Life.

Peter Sloterdijk, The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as Practice

Range: Archery Bow Range Chicago

Response to Herrigel: Yamada, Shoji.  Shots in the Dark:  Japan, Zen, and the West. University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Blog: Archer’s Paradox


How to videos:


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