Toxic Zen Story #19, part 1 of 2: Nuremberg Zen: D.T. Suzuki, Nazi Eugen Herrigel and Zen in the Art of Arch-Fakery: "It" Misses.
. 'If the words that Awa cried out when Herrigel
. made a good shot were "that's it" (sore deshita)
. then they must have indicated a subjective
. "quality" that only a person accomplished in that
. art can understand. Judging from the context, the
. first time Awa praised Herrigel by saying "It
. shot" was when Herrigel was still practicing
. before the cylinder of straw (makiwara) and had
. not yet been allowed to shoot at a standard
. target. In other words, he had not yet advanced
. to the level of competency required for target
. shooting. It is utterly inconceivable that "It,"
. which indicates a spiritual condition
. sufficiently advanced to involve something that
. transcends the self, could have made its
. appearance at a time when Herrigel had not yet
. progressed beyond being a beginner. It is far
. more natural to conclude that Awa simply praised
. Herrigel by saying, "That was good."' - Yamada
part 1 of 2.
____ Background for Toxic Zen Stories ____________________
____ Introduction ________________________________________
A frequent visitor to Landsberg Prison where Hitler was writing Mein Kampf with the help of Rudolf Hess, was General Karl Haushofer, a university professor and director of the Munich Institute of Geopolitics.
Haushofer, Hitler, and Hess had long conversations together. Hess also kept records of these conversations. Hitler's demands for German "Living Space" in the east at the expense of the Slavic nations were based on the geopolitical theories of the learned professor.
Haushofer was also inclined toward the esoteric. as military attache in Japan, he had studied Zen-Buddhism. He had also gone through initiations at the hands of Tibetan Lamas. He became Hitler's second "esoteric mentor", replacing Dietrich Eckart.
Eckart was an occultist and magician leader of the Thule Society who was certainly the earliest corrupting influence on Hitler's psyche. But after Eckart's death and meeting Haushofer, Adolph took a hard right turn to become the first Nazi.
In "The Morning of the Magicians" (1960; 279) by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier they write:
. 'Occultism teaches that, after concluding a
. pact with hidden forces, the members of the group
. cannot evoke these forces save through the
. intermediary of a magician who, in turn, can do
. nothing without a medium. It would seem therefore
. that Hitler must have been the medium, and
. Haushofer the magician. Rudolf Hess had been
. Haushofer's assistant when the latter was a
. professor at the University of Munich.'
. 'It was he who had brought Haushofer and
. Hitler together. His flight to England during the
. war was the result of Haushofer having told him
. that he had seen him in a dream flying to England
. in an airplane. In one of the rare moments of
. lucidity which his inexplicable malady allowed him
. the prisoner Hess, the last survivor of the Thule
. Group, is said to have stated formally that
. Haushofer was the magician, the secret Master.
. (see Jack Fishman: The Seven Men of Spandau.)'
Thusly, Nazism is an offshoot of Zen, mixed with occultism and Tibetan Buddhism and some other things. Clearly, however, the influence of the Void is predominant: the thought that life is just there for whatever possibility you want to pursue, no-holds-barred, and without concern for the results in the lives of others. Nazism is basically Zen.
In an article about the evolution of Zen in Europe:
| 'Prof. Eugen Herrigel, who had been in close
| contact with Ohasama in Heidelberg, approached
| Zen via kyudo during his stay in Japan (1924 -
| 1929) and wrote "Die ritterliche Kunst des
| Bogenschiessens", (The gallant Art of Archery) in
| 1936. His famous book "Zen in the Art of Archery"
| was edited in 1953. Herrigel tended towards
| Nazism (cf. his inaugural lecture at Erlangen
| University, 1935) and wasn't overly interested in
| setting up a religious practice group. '
In the article "Varieties of Moral Aestheticism" on the Friesian website:
. 'Note the coincidence of German and Japanese
. moral aestheticism in Eugen Herrigel's Zen in the
. Art of Archery, a classic of Zen and martial arts
. by a philosophy professor who would shortly return
. to Germany and become a supporter of Hitler. Thus,
. R.J. Zwi Werblowsky points out: '
. 'And the man who wrote one of the best-
. sellers on Zen (Zen in the Art of Archery)
. which was eagerly gobbled up all Zen-
. enthusiasts, Eugen Herrigel, was a convinced
. Nazi and follower of Hitler. Can you be a
. genuine Zen disciple, or claim to have
. experienced enlightenment, and at the same
. time follow a "leader" who murdered millions
. of human beings in gas chambers? [The Center
. Magazine, March/April 1975]'
. 'The answer to Werblowsky's question is
. definitely "yes," as D.T. Suzuki himself wrote in
. 1938: '
| 'Zen has no special doctrine or
| philosophy, no set of concepts or intellectual
| formulas, except that it tries to release one
| from the bondage of birth and death, by means
| of certain intuitive modes of understanding
| peculiar to itself. It is, therefore,
| extremely flexible in adapting itself to
| almost any philosophy and moral doctrine as
| long as its intuitive teaching is not
| interfered with. It may be found wedded to
| anarchism or fascism, communism or democracy,
| atheism or idealism, or any political or
| economic dogmatism. It is, however, generally
| animated with a certain revolutionary spirit,
| and when things come to a deadlock -- as they
| do when we are overloaded with
| conventionalism, formalism, or other cognate
| isms -- Zen asserts itself and proves to be a
| destructive force. [Zen and Japanese Culture,
| Princeton, 1973, p. 63]'
. 'In this description, Heidegger's moral
. aestheticism meets that of bushido, and there is
. absolutely nothing to suggest that Eugen Herrigel
. should not find an appropriate "destructive
. force" in the "revolutionary spirit" of Hitler's
. National Socialism.. '
____ Toxic Zen Story ______________________________
Now, all of this general history would, by itself, make Eugen Herrigel a Nazi and one of the early perpetrators of the corruption of European Academia by Zen, and therefore responsible for a lot of evil in the world.
What is astonishing is that Herrigel is also a thorough charlatan who created the most amazing hoax. His fraud was the basis of the corruption of the West, especially in Europe by Zen, where he was enthralled by Suzuki, and later became a major proponent of Zen on his own.
In an article in the "Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 2001", entitled "The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery", Yamada Shõji deconstructs the Herrigel myth:
. 'Eugen Herrigel's "Zen in the Art of Archery"
. has been widely read as a study of Japanese
. culture. By reconsidering and reorganizing
. Herrigel's text and related materials, however,
. this paper clarifies the mythical nature of "Zen
. in the Art of Archery" and the process by which
. this myth has been generated. This paper first
. gives a brief history of Japanese archery and
. places the period at which Herrigel studied
. Japanese archery within that time frame. Next, it
. summarizes the life of Herrigel's teacher, Awa
. Kenzõ. At the time Herrigel began learning the
. skill, Awa was just beginning to formulate his own
. unique ideas based on personal spiritual
. experiences. Awa himself had no experience in Zen
. nor did he unconditionally approve of Zen. By
. contrast, Herrigel came to Japan in search of Zen
. and chose Japanese archery as a method through
. which to approach it. The paper goes on to
. critically analyze two important spiritual
. episodes in "Zen and the Art of Archery." What
. becomes clear through this analysis is the serious
. language barrier existing between Awa and
. Herrigel. The testimony of the interpreter, as
. well as other evidence, supports the fact that the
. complex spiritual episodes related in the book
. occurred either when there was no interpreter
. present, or were misinterpreted by Herrigel via
. the interpreter's intentionally liberal
. translations. Added to this phenomenon of
. misunderstanding, whether only coincidental or
. born out of mistaken interpretation, was the
. personal desire of Herrigel to pursue things Zen.
. Out of the above circumstances was born the myth
. of "Zen in the Art of Archery."'
The implication here, is that the book that is the entire basis of Pop Zen culture, from the Dharma Bums to the grasping of "It" in a Werner Erhard seminar (EST, or Landmark Forum or Education, or whatever they call it currently) ... that basis is (incredibly) a completely and thoroughly hokum.
Yamada discusses Japanese archery, before and after Herrigel:
. 'FOR MOST PEOPLE the term "Japanese archery"
. (kyudo) evokes thoughts of spiritual training or
. kyudo's close relationship with Zen spirituality.
. Commentators commonly assert that "kyudo leads to
. spiritual focus" (seishin tõitsu) or that "kyudo
. resembles Zen." If we examine the history of
. Japanese archery, however, it is no exaggeration
. to say that it was only after the end of the
. Second World War that kyudo became particularly
. associated with Zen. To be even more specific,
. this phenomenon occurred after 1956 when a book
. called Zen in the Art of Archery (originally, Zen
. in der Kunst des Bogenschiessens, 1948) by a
. German professor of philosophy, Eugen Herrigel
. (1884--1955), was translated and published in
. Japanese. Since its first German edition in 1948,
. this book has been translated into several foreign
. languages (English, Japanese, Portuguese, etc.),
. and it has been continually reprinted as one of
. the best-selling works on Japanese culture.'
. 'How did people approach Japanese archery
. before the appearance of this book? If we confine
. ourselves to the post-Meiji period (after 1868),
. most people practiced it either as a form of
. physical education or for pleasure. In pre-war
. texts about Japanese archery, with the exception
. of certain isolated religious sects, there is
. little or no mention of kyudo's affinity with Zen.
. (See footnote below.) Likewise, among modern
. practitioners of Japanese archery those people who
. approach it as one part of Zen training are
. extremely unusual in Japan. In spite of these
. facts, popular books and commentators emphasize
. the connection between Japanese archery and Zen.
. The circumstances underlying this phenomenon
. deserve closer attention.'
. '[Footnote: For example, in 1923 Õhira Zenzõ
. assumed the pseudonym Shabutsu ("Shooting
. Buddha"), founded the Dainippon Shagakuin (Greater
. Japan Institute for Awakened Archery), and
. proclaimed the doctrine of "seeing true nature
. through the Zen of shooting" (shazen kenshõ).]'
So, the postwar work "Zen in the Art of Archery" is not just a fraud, but it is a widespread hoax that redefines Japanese culture to the world, and ultimately back to the Japanese a new view of themselves after the War, when they were searching for a different self-image !!!
Yamada sheds light on the public view of Japanese archery, in studies:
. 'Consider, for example, a public opinion poll
. conducted by the Kyudo Research Project (Kyudo
. Kenkyûshitsu) at Tsukuba University in 1983 (see
. Table 1). They asked 131 people who practice
. Japanese archery in West Germany what prompted
. their initial desire to learn kyudo. A full 84
. percent responded "for spiritual training."
. Moreover, about 61 percent cited their interest in
. Zen and about 49 percent specifically said they
. began kyudo because they had read Herrigel's Zen
. in the Art of Archery. No similar polls have been
. conducted in Japan, but I personally feel that
. even though some Japanese kyudo practitioners
. might talk a lot about kyudo's relationship with
. Zen, most of them actually practice kyudo either
. as a form of physical education or for pleasure.
. In accounting for this divergence in attitude
. between German and Japanese kyudo practitioners we
. cannot ignore the influence of Herrigel's book.'
. 'Table 1. Motivation for Studying Japanese Archery
. For spiritual training 84.0%
. Because of interest in Japanese culture 66.4%
. Because of interest in Zen 61.1%
. To learn proper posture 54.2%
. Inspired by Herrigel's Zen in the Art of Archery 48.9%
. Results of survey of 131 West German practitioners of
. kyudo conducted by the Kyudo Kenkyûshitsu, Tsukuba
. University, 1983; multiple answers were possible.'
. 'Many Japanese authors have discussed Herrigel
. (e.g., NISHIO 1978; ÕMORI 1982; MINAMOTO 1995).
. All of their essays basically repeat Herrigel's
. own account of the mystical episodes that occurred
. with his teacher, Awa Kenzõ (1880--1939). For all
. intents and purposes they completely affirm
. Herrigel's account and take Herrigel's
. interpretation as the starting point for their
. discussions of Japanese archery and, by extension,
. of Japanese artistic endeavors (geidõ). We must
. question, however, if Herrigel's work can be
. regarded as a reliable foundation for interpreting
. kyudo and other Japanese arts.'
It is amazing how Herrigel's confusion about the Japanese takes over in Germany, then Europe, and then finally, in the view of Japanese Academia.
Yamada begins to talk about Herrigel's teacher, Awa:
. 'It is a well-known fact among kyudo
. researchers that Awa, the person who taught
. Herrigel, was an eccentric instructor. Authors who
. are not kyudo specialists, however, usually accept
. Herrigel's description of Japanese archery at face
. value. Of course, if Herrigel's account is
. considered not as a treatise on Japanese archery
. but merely as his own interpretation of Japanese
. culture or as his own personal story, then it is
. quite singular and of great interest. Certainly it
. reflects the widespread interest in Japanese Zen
. that was current at that time. When one considers
. the disparity between actual kyudo and the
. description of Japanese archery that Herrigel
. presented, however, it is impossible to
. uncritically accept his book as a reliable account
. of what he experienced and observed as a foreigner
. in Japan. This essay will present a new reading of
. Herrigel's text and its associated sources and
. will, by reconstructing his account, clarify how
. the myth of Zen in the Art of Archery came to be
. propagated. Henceforth I will not use the term
. kyudo (literally "the way of the bow"), which has
. modern connotations, but will use the term
. kyûjutsu (literally "the art/technique of the
. bow") since it is the term actually used by
. Herrigel. Before discussing Herrigel, though, it
. is useful to briefly review the history and
. techniques of Japanese archery so that we can be
. forearmed with some background knowledge and thus
. be better able to put Awa and Herrigel's
. relationship in the proper perspective.'
So, not only is Herrigel's instructor a very unusual person, and atypical of teachers in the tradition of Japanese archery, but it turns out that the art and philosophy of different types (foot archery, equestrian archery, and temple archery) and styles of Japanese archery are changed drastically due to having different objectives, which means Herrigel's view is skewed by his interactions with only one style of one type.
Yamada outlines the history of Japanese archery:
. 'Historians believe that the bow came to be
. used as a military weapon after the end of the
. Yayoi period (ca. third century CE). They base
. this conclusion on evidence from Yayoi period
. archeological excavations, which have yielded
. arrow heads that are larger than those of previous
. periods and skeletons that show evidence of arrow
. wounds. By the medieval period, works of
. literature had begun to celebrate the military
. exploits of famous archers, such as Minamoto
. Yorimasa (1104--1180) who killed a mythical beast
. known as a nue (see Heike monogatari and the Noh
. drama Nue), or Minamoto Tametomo (1139--1177?) who
. drew an exceptionally powerful bow. The Genpei War
. (1180--1185) saw bows and arrows come into full
. flower as military weapons. The organized styles
. or lineages (ryûha) that have taught archery down
. to the present day, however, were not founded
. until the time of the Õnin War (beginning 1467).
. At that time a man named Heki Danjõ Masatsugu (ca.
. 1444--1502) supposedly polished his skills in the
. battles in Kyoto and afterwards toured other
. provinces teaching archery. Some scholars have
. suggested that Heki Danjõ Masatsugu is a fictional
. character, but a definitive conclusion regarding
. his historicity has not been reached.'
. 'In any case, Heki Danjõ Masatsugu supposedly
. taught his exquisite archery techniques to the
. father and son pair of Yoshida Shigekata (1463--
. 1543) and Yoshida Shigemasa (1485--1569). From
. the time of the Yoshidas, the transmission of this
. archery lineage can be documented through
. historical sources. This lineage eventually became
. known as the Heki-ryû (a.k.a., Yoshida-ryû) and
. it split into various branch lineages (ha) such as
. the Insai-ha, the Sekka-ha, the Dõsetsu-ha, the
. Sakon'emon-ha, the Õkura-ha, and so forth. Even
. today these lineages still survive in various
. parts of Japan. In addition, a Shingon Buddhist
. priest named Chikurinbõ Josei who officiated at a
. temple sponsored by the Yoshida family and who was
. also a skilled archer , founded a lineage known as
. the Heki-ryû Chikurin-ha. Although the name of
. this lineage begins with the appellation "Heki-
. ryû," most scholars have concluded that it has no
. direct connection to Heki Danjõ Masatsugu.'
. 'In addition to the various branches of the
. Heki-ryû, there exists another celebrated archery
. lineage known as the Ogasawara-ryû. When this
. style began in the early Kamakura period (ca.
. 1185--1333) it consisted of the methods of
. archery, horsemanship, and etiquette taught by
. Ogasawara Nagakiyo (1162--1242), who emphasized
. both knowledge of ceremonial precedents (kojitsu)
. concerning the use of bows in official functions
. as well as special techniques for equestrian
. archery (kisha). The early Ogasawara teachings,
. however, were lost during the Muromachi period
. (ca. 1336--1573). Descendants of the Ogasawara
. family split into a number of collateral groups,
. so that by the Tokugawa period (1603--1868) among
. regional lords (daimyõ) alone there were at least
. five clans using the Ogasawara name. Tokugawa
. Yoshimune; (1684--1751), the eighth Tokugawa
. shogun, collected kyûjutsu texts from throughout
. Japan and ordered Ogasawara Heibei Tsuneharu
. (1666--1747), one of his middle level retainers
. (hatamoto), to study their contents so as to
. revive the lost Ogasawara teachings of equestrian
. archery and ceremonial precedents. In this way
. Ogasawara Heibei Tsuneharu became the direct
. founder of the Ogasawara-ryû that now exists in
. 'The above-mentioned lineages or schools of
. kyûjutsu did not all teach the same methods.
. Technically speaking, Japanese archery can be
. divided into two main categories: ceremonial
. archery (reisha) and military archery (busha).
. Ceremonial archery is concerned with the ritual
. and thaumaturgic aspects of kyûjutsu, and one can
. safely say that this is the exclusive domain of
. the Ogasawara-ryû. Military archery can be further
. divided into foot archery (hosha), equestrian
. archery (kisha), and what is called temple archery
The existence of differing schools of Japanese archery with differing types, creates a pressure on teachers to compete. As we shall see, Herrigel's teacher Awa was a salesman for his school, and fed into Herrigel's pre-established deep fascination with German mystic Meister Eckhart (1260--1327). There would ultimately have to be a mystical experience, charismatically expounded by Awa, to preserve Awa's school.
Yamada outlines the types and schools of Japanese archery:
. 'Foot archery refers to the archery used by
. foot soldiers on the battle field. These archers
. must be able to accurately hit targets with
. sufficient force to penetrate traditional Japanese
. armor at a distance of approximately thirty meters
. (the optimum killing range) even in the heat of
. battle when their lives hang in the balance. The
. training in the archery lineages that specialize
. in foot archery, such as the Hekiryû Insai-ha,
. aims to develop an extremely accurate, subtle
. technique and to cultivate a death-defying
. spiritual fortitude.'
. 'Equestrian archery refers to the technique of
. shooting the bow from horseback. It is not certain
. what equestrian archery on the battle field was
. actually like, but its distinguishing
. characteristics can be inferred from present-day
. yabusame (in which archers ride horses down a
. straight course and shoot at three stationary
. targets placed along the length of the course) and
. from literature regarding inuoumono (in which
. mounted archers chased dogs within a circular
. enclosure while shooting blunted arrows at them).
. It appears that equestrian archery emphasized the
. ability to skillfully manage a horse so that the
. archer could approach close enough to the target
. to shoot from a distance where it would not be too
. difficult to hit it. Consequently, in equestrian
. archery, training focuses on how to manage a horse
. while carrying and shooting a bow. Equestrian
. archery has been the province of the Ogasawara-ryû
. and the Takeda-ryû (a sister tradition of the
. Ogasawara-ryû, which traces its lineage back to
. Takeda Nobumitsu, d. 1248, a cousin of Ogasawara
. 'Finally, temple archery refers to the
. techniques used exclusively in the tõshiya
. competition, a type of contest that became very
. popular during the Tokugawa period. In tõshiya
. contests, archers compete non-stop over the course
. of an entire day and night to see who can shoot
. the most arrows (ya) the entire length (tõsu) of
. the outside veranda of the Sanjûsangendõ (the
. Hall of Thirty-Three Bays) at the Rengeõ-in temple
. in Kyoto, using only the space beneath the temple
. eaves, which measures 120 meters in length by 5
. meters in height. Temple archery requires
. technique that allows the archer, with minimum
. fatigue, to shoot light arrows with a low
. trajectory. Insofar as the arrows are not required
. to penetrate armor, the technique differs
. considerably from that of foot archery. Moreover,
. temple archery entails considerable elements of
. sport or spectacle. From a spiritual perspective,
. it differs from foot archery and equestrian
. archery, which were based on the experience of
. facing death in battle. Both the Heki-ryû
. Chikurin-ha and the Heki-ryû Sekka-ha participated
. extensively in temple archery.'
. 'Foot archery and equestrian archery are still
. practiced today: foot archery through the adoption
. of the twenty-eight meter shooting distance as the
. basic layout of the kyudo archery range, and
. equestrian archery in the form of yabusame. Temple
. archery, however, declined after the fall of the
. Tokugawa regime when competition at the
. Sanjûsangendõ ceased. During the Meiji period
. (1868--1912), instructors of temple archery faced
. a desperate and confused situation because the
. loss of their shooting area left them no way to
. teach either the techniques or the spirit of
. temple archery. Herrigel's teacher Awa studied
. kyûjutsu under two teachers, Kimura Tatsugorõ of
. the Heki-ryû Sekka-ha and Honda Toshizane (1836--
. 1917) of the Heki-ryû Chikurin-ha, both of whom
. came from lineages that specialized in temple
. archery. Also, since the founder of the Chikurin-
. ha, Chikurinbõ Josei, had been a Shingon Buddhist
. priest, the teachings of this lineage reflected
. strong Buddhist influences. The characteristics of
. temple archery and the predicament faced by its
. practitioners constitute an important key for
. understanding Awa.'
So, temple archery effectively dies as an institution with the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate (like so very many things) in 1868. When Herrigel the mystic connects up with his teacher Awa, one of the last of a dying tradition in 1926, the situation is set for mind-to-mind transmission (ishin denshin) of the most incredibly deluded sort.
Yamada outlines the history of Awa:
. 'Let us gradually bring the discussion closer
. to Herrigel. First, I will outline the life of Awa
. Kenzõ, the man who taught Japanese archery to
. Herrigel. My principal source is a large
. commemorative volume by SAKURAI Yasunosuke (1981).
. Since this work was published in commemoration of
. the one-hundredth anniversary of Awa's birth, it
. must be used with caution. Nonetheless, even if it
. is not free of bias, as a study of Awa it has no
. equal.... '
. 'Awa was born in 1880 in the village of
. Kawakitamachi (Miyagi Prefecture) as the eldest
. son of the Satõ Õn family, which operated a kõjiya
. (a factory for producing malted rice used in the
. manufacturing of saké and miso). Awa's formal
. education consisted only of primary school, but in
. his eighteenth year (age 17) he opened a private
. school for teaching Chinese characters. (See
. footnote below.) It is not clear, though, exactly
. what curriculum was taught at this school. In his
. twentieth year he married into the Awa family, who
. also were in the malted rice business in
. Ishinomaki City, and thereby acquired the Awa
. family name. The following year Awa began training
. in Heki-ryû Sekka-ha kyûjutsu in Ishinomaki under
. the tutelage of Kimura Tatsugorõ, a former vassal
. of the Sendai Domain. Awa's progress was quite
. rapid, and after only two years he received his
. diploma of complete transmission (menkyo kaiden),
. the highest rank possible. Thus, when Awa was only
. in his twenty-second year he established his own
. archery training hall near his house.'
. 'In 1909, during his thirtieth year, Awa moved
. to Sendai City where he opened a new archery
. training hall. In 1910 he began to study Heki-ryû
. Chikurin-ha kyûjutsu under Honda Toshizane, who
. was at that time becoming influential as an
. archery instructor at Tokyo Imperial University.
. At about the same time, Awa became the archery
. instructor at the Number Two College (Daini Kõtõ
. Gakkõ) in Sendai. It appears that at this juncture
. Awa was an expert archer, being capable of hitting
. the mark nearly one hundred times for every one
. hundred shots (hyappatsu hyakuchû). His
. instruction to his students also emphasized
. accuracy in shooting. Sometime around the
. beginning of the Taishõ period (1912--1926),
. however, Awa began having doubts about his
. archery. The saying, "nothing is needed" (nanni mo
. iranu), from one of the secret archery manuals
. handed down in the Heki-ryû Sekka-ha lineage
. resonated deeply with Awa, so deeply that he began
. to disavow kyûjutsu.'
It is important, for the later discussion, to note that Awa was an exceptional archer with extremely good accuracy. The mystical mind-over-matter presentations of Herrigel do not really consider the innate skill and deep devotion to practice of Awa in honing his accuracy in archery. It was not just by thought, but by long periods of exerting driven efforts to self-perfection that Awa became a skilled archer. And he was willing to abandon the old, and search out new techniques to get even greater skill.
Yamada outlines Awa's developing of a new school of archery:
. 'This traditional Sekka-ha doctrine, "nothing
. is needed," appears in an archery manual titled
. Yoshida Toyokazu tõsho (The book of Yoshida
. Toyokazu's answers). The full passage begins with
. a list of archery techniques and then says they
. are not needed:'
| 'As for the stance, the positioning of the
| body, the positioning of the bow, the grip on
| the bow, the grip on the string, the raising
| of the bow, the drawing of the bow, the draw
| length, the extension, the tension, the
| balance of hard and soft, the stretch, the
| rainfall release, and the morning storm
| release: I see that none are needed (Tate wa
| ashibumi, dõzukuri, yugamae, tenouchi, kake,
| uchi okoshi, tsurumichi, yazuka, nobitsume,
| kuijime, gõjaku, hariai, murasame, asa arashi:
| nanni mo iranu to mi mõshi . (See footnote
| '[Footnote: Translator's Note: The translation
| of many of these technical terms is speculative.]'
| 'On first reading it appears to assert that
| one need not follow any of the techniques in the
| standard step-by-step sequence of shooting a bow.
| Immediately following the above sentence, however,
| the text goes on to say,'
| '"Not being needed" does not mean that
| they are unnecessary from the beginning. At
| the beginning when one knows nothing, if the
| beginner does not first completely learn the
| proper stance, then his torso and hips will
| not become settled (Kono iranu wa hajime kara
| iranu nite wa kore naki sõrõ. Hajime nani o mo
| zonzezu, totto shoshin no toki wa mazu
| ashibumi o narawaneba dõ koshi ga sadamari
| mõsazu sõrõ.'
| 'In short, Yoshida Toyokazu taught that in the
| beginning one must learn proper shooting
| technique, and then after sufficient skill is
| acquired one will be able to shoot naturally
| without thinking about it. Awa, however, extended
| the concept of "nothing is needed" to an extreme
| by interpreting it to mean that from the beginning
| no technique is necessary.'
| 'On the basis of his misunderstanding of
| "nothing is needed," Awa began to call kyûjutsu "a
| kind of hereditary disease (idenbyõ) that regards
| technical training as an art" and began to preach
| his own style of "shadõ" (the way of shooting),
| which he characterized as being "austere training
| in which one masters the study of humanity"
| (ningengaku wo osameru shugyõ). As a result, the
| kyûjutsu community treated him like a lunatic, and
| on occasion people even threw rocks at him when he
| went to places where traditional kyûjutsu was
| firmly entrenched. Honda Toshitoki, the grandson
| of Honda Toshizane and the person who later became
| headmaster of the Honda-ryû, harshly criticized
| Awa's style of shooting, saying that Awa shot
| merely as his whims and moods moved him. Õhira
| Zenzõ, who was Awa's senior among the disciples of
| Honda Toshizane, was just as critical. In
| reference to the doctrine of "putting an entire
| lifetime of exertion into each shot" (issha
| zetsumei; sometimes translated as "one shot, one
| life"), which Awa later expounded, Õhira said that
| it was idiotic to tell people to just persevere
| until they dropped dead (SAKURAI 1981, p. 162).
| Honda's other disciples were equally merciless in
| their criticism of Awa.'
As a tradition dies, the last proponents will search ever more desperately around for ways to save that tradition, and finally, only their piece of it.
If that tradition can be simplified, then perhaps the barrier to entry can be lowered so that a last few students can be acquired to support the teacher.
Even those who aren't Japanese and are hopelessly incapable of understanding a complex tradition, are acceptable.
As long as there are students with money, the school survives.
Unfortunately, the tradition of archery is complex for a reason: the objective is difficult. As Einstein stated when someone quoted Occam's Razor ("the simplest answer is best") to him: "Simple, but not too simple."
So, simplifying the discipline of archery to the point that the student cannot hit the target guarantees that the tradition will die out in the next generation. It is the ultimate in the teacher protecting himself at the expense of the culture that he is entrusted with: a treasonous act towards the teacher that taught him something to hand down. Hence the rock throwing incidents, above.
Sometimes, the new discipline is better than the old, and then the rocks are a parting gift. The results are determined by a series of hurdles: (1) if the new discipline works as an advantage [if the archery is accurate], (2) if it can be taught and the teacher gains adherants [if Awa gets and keeps more students], and finally, (3) if the charisma of the instructor can be converted into a teaching method and handed down as a codified scripture [if Awa's school survives, which it ultimately didn't on all three counts: it was transformed into Herrigel's distorted teaching].
Yamada depicts the environment into which Awa will try to introduce his new school:
| 'Awa's advocacy that people convert "from
| kyûjutsu to shadõ" began during an intellectual
| climate when Kanõ Jigorõ (1860--1938) was enjoying
| great success with his Kõdõkan school of jûjutsu,
| which Kanõ referred to as "jûdõ". In one of the
| manuscripts that he left behind, Awa wrote, "To
| give the closest example, the reason why Kanõ
| Jigorõ's Kõdõkan school of jûdõ is praised not
| only in Japan but also in foreign countries is
| because, first of all, it is taught as a Way (dõ
| or michi), and rather than restricting its
| techniques to just one lineage or style alone it
| blends the strong points of all schools" (SAKURAI
| 1981, p. 145). In short, Kanõ's successful
| conversion of jûjutsu into jûdõ prompted Awa to
| come up with his own ideas for transforming
| kyûjutsu into shadõ. ...'
There were abundant and successful examples of how to simplify, re-package and market a tradition that wasn't generating profits. So Awa could see what to do. (This constitutes an early example of Zen in the Art of Marketing.)
Yamada describes Awa's mystical experience, the basis of the conversion of his new school of archery to a new sect:
| 'In 1920, during Awa's forty-first year, he
| had an "eccentric" experience that proved to be
| decisive. To borrow Sakurai's words, Awa
| experienced a "great explosion" (daibakuhatsu).
| Sakurai, using some short compositions and
| drawings left by Awa as clues, describes this
| experience as follows:'
| 'Late one evening, the family was fast
| asleep, all was wrapped in silence, and all
| that could be seen was the moon peacefully
| illuminating the evening darkness. Alone,
| Kenzõ went to the archery range and with his
| beloved bow and arrows quietly faced the
| target. He was determined. Would his flesh
| perish first? Would his spirit live on?'
| No release (muhatsu). Total focus
| (tõitsu). He was determined that with this
| shot there would be no retreat, not even so
| much as a single step.'
| The bitter struggle continued. His body
| had already passed its limit. His life would
| end here.
| Finally: "I have perished." Just as this
| thought passed through his mind, a marvelous
| sound reverberated from the heavens. He
| thought it must be from heaven since never
| before had he heard such a clear, high, strong
| sound from the twanging of the bowstring and
| from the arrow piercing the target. At the
| very instant when he thought he heard it, his
| self (jiko) flew apart into infinite grains of
| dust, and, with his eyes dazzled by a myriad
| of colors, a great thunderous wave filled
| heaven and earth.
| (SAKURAI 1981, pp. 159--60)'
. 'This kind of mystical experience very often
. forms the starting point for the founding of a new
. religion. For example, the story of the morning
. star flying into the mouth of Kûkai (774--835)
. during his religious austerities in Murotomisaki
. resembles Awa's experience.'
And now that Awa is armed with a mystical touchstone experience, he has the charisma required to do propagation and grow his new tradition.
Yamada describes the development of Awa's new sect of archery:
| 'After his "great explosion," Awa began to
| preach that one must "put an entire lifetime of
| exertion into each shot" (issha zetsumei) and that
| one can "see true nature in the shot" (shari
| kenshõ), the two ideas that later came to form the
| core of his teachings. Sakurai explains the
| essential point of these teachings as follows:'
| 'Even though we are speaking of the power
| of Nature, one must train one's mental energy
| (shinki) and generate spiritual energy (reiki)
| [in order to unite with this power]. In this
| way one enters the Absolute Way (zettaidõ)
| that eliminates all relativity (sõtai). Space
| (kûkan) is destroyed as one passes through it.
| Then for the first time one becomes wrapped in
| the radiance of the Buddha (Budda no kõmyõ)
| and can perceive the self (jiko), which
| reflects the radiance of the Buddha. At this
| moment the self is both the self yet not the
| (SAKURAI 1981, p. 164)'
| 'While kenshõ (see true nature; i.e., attain
| awakening) is a Zen term, it is practically
| impossible to detect any Zen elements in Awa's
| teaching. Surprisingly, it appears that Awa never
| practiced Zen even once in his life. SAKURAI
| (1981, p. 223), who has conscientiously studied
| Awa's life, wrote that "No evidence can be found
| that Kenzõ ever trained with a Zen priest."
| Moreover, SAKURAI (p. 266) also states that "While
| Kenzõ used the phrase 'the bow and Zen are one'
| (kyûzen ichimi) and used the philosophical
| language of Mahayana Buddhism in particular to
| describe shadõ, he did not approve of Zen
I would disagree to with Yamada in this point. There is a mixture of Japanese Buddhism present here: the typical mixture.
During the Tokugawa Shogunate's reign (1600CE-1867CE), all Japanese Buddhisms were mixed together (or exterminated) under the government temple system. Briefly, Nobunaga demilitarized the Buddhist sects, by using Jesuits in the late 1500s, and then Ieyasu Tokugawa and his descendents successively weakened the sects, finally forcing them into a temple hierarchy (hon-matsu ji), which was approved by the Shogun and under his control all the way down to parish temples (danka-dera), which issued each individual of the locality a certificate (tera-uke) proving that the individual had the right to continue breathing. Not having a tera-uke, was cause for immediate execution as a banned Christian. (Reference to Abukama's work, below)
All priests (Shinto, Tendai, Zen, Jodo, Shingon, Ritsu, AND Nichiren sects) had to pass the same tests to become priests. Eventually, temples and priests were only distinguishable by appearance, since they all collected taxes for the Shogunate, started getting married and having families, overcharged for weddings and funerals which were required to keep the tera-uke, and supported the local geisha house. They even had periodic conventions, where they were forced to spend their fortune in formal processions to Edo (Tokyo) to subjugate themselves to the Shogun, depleting their resources and the threat they might represent.
The people of Japan came to their current state of mass cynical disbelief in the Buddha's teachings, which were used to control the masses and force them to conform.
Hence, there were definitely undefined Zen influences present in the Shingon mysticism of Awa, along with everything else.
Yamada relates the decline and death of Awa:
| 'Why, then, did Herrigel associate Awa's
| teachings with Zen? Before getting to that
| question, let us follow Awa's life to its
| conclusion. Herrigel became Awa's student one year
| after Awa's "great explosion" and one year before
| Awa began to talk about founding Daishadõkyõ
| (Great Doctrine of the Way of Shooting) --- a
| proposal that provoked fierce opposition among
| Awa's students at the Number Two College and at
| Tõhoku Imperial University. In 1927, in his
| fortyeighth year, Awa overruled the bitter
| objections of his students and formally
| established a new organization named
| Daishadõkyõ.(See footnote below.) Awa's students
| at the Number Two College later testified that
| Daishadõkyõ consisted of "archery as a religion,"
| that "the founder [of this religion] is Master Awa
| Kenzõ," and that "the master described his rounds
| of travel to provide guidance (shidõ suru) in
| various regions not as [archery] lessons (keiko)
| or as instruction (kyõju); he said that he was
| doing 'missionary work' (fukyõ)" (SAKURAI 1981,
| pp. 210--11). Thus, it is clear that Awa's
| Daishadõkyõ possessed religious characteristics.'
| '[Footnote: Translator's Note: When HERRIGEL
| discusses the "Great Doctrine" in Zen in the Art
| of Archery (1953, pp. 19, 20, 27, etc.) the actual
| referent is Awa's Daishadõkyõ, not Zen. The name
| Daishadõkyõ might be more accurately translated as
| the "Doctrine of the Great Way of Shooting," but I
| have decided to follow the form found in the
| English language version of Zen in the Art of
| 'The year after Awa established Daishadõkyõ,
| however, he fell ill. Although at one point he
| appeared to recovery miraculously, from that time
| on he remained in a partially incapacitated
| condition until his death. Awa died of illness in
| 1939 during his sixtieth year. Today there are
| many practitioners of Japanese archery who are
| disciples or grand-disciples of Awa's disciples
| and who practice archery in the style of Awa's
| Daishadõkyõ. Nonetheless, as a religious
| organization, Daishadõkyõ died with Awa.'
Clearly, Awa misunderstood his audience, in regards to setting up a religion of archery.
His students were thorough disbelievers in religion, after two centuries of the Tokugawas, but after a half century away from the Tokugawas, under the Meiji regime, they were no longer feeling like they had to be subjugated to it.
Figuratively speaking, they discarded their Awa tera-uke(s). It must have disturbed Awa greatly, who by the traditions of his youth expected to secure obedience just by virtue of inculcation.
Yamada (and his translator) turn to Herrigel's story:
| 'The discussion can now return to Eugen
| Herrigel, the author of Zen in the Art of Archery.
| Herrigel was born near Heidelberg in 1884. At the
| University of Heidelberg he first studied theology
| but later switched to philosophy. Academically he
| belonged to the Neo-Kantian school of philosophy.
| At the same time Herrigel confessed: "Even as a
| student I had, as though propelled by some secret
| urge, been preoccupied with mysticism" (HERRIGEL
| 1953, p. 29; 1956, p. 56).'
| '[Footnote: Translator's Note: In his original
| essay Yamada cites only Japanese translations of
| Herrigel's works. In preparing this version I have
| added references to the English-language
| translations of Herrigel's works (if available).]'
| 'The mysticism to which Herrigel referred was
| that of the German mystic Meister Eckhart (1260--
| 1327). As a result of his interest in mysticism
| Herrigel became interested in Zen, which he
| thought to be the most mystical of religions, and
| through Zen he developed an interest in Japanese
| culture. In 1924 Herrigel obtained a position as a
| lecturer at Tõhoku Imperial University in Sendai,
| where he taught philosophy until 1929. (See
| footnote below.)'
| '[Footnote: Translator's Note: The statement
| in the 1953 English-language translation of Zen in
| the Art of Archery (p. 31) that Herrigel taught at
| the University of Tokyo is incorrect.]'
| 'After he returned to Germany, he took a
| professorship at [Friedrich-Alexander] Erlangen
| University, retired in 1951 (See footnote below.),
| and died in 1955 in his seventy-first year.'
| '[Footnote: New Note for the English
| Translation: My recent research has revealed that
| Herrigel's retirement was in 1948.]'
Why did Herrigel lie about teaching at Tokyo University?
Sounds more impressive to the European audience, I guess. Perhaps Herrigel thought that after the War, he could get away with it, in the chaos and confusion, it would be hard to know. He underestimated the Japanese penchant for keeping good records, and Yamada's investigative determination, clearly.
The University of Tokyo and Tohoku University are quite distinct institutions and Herrigel was clearly aware of the difference.
The University of Tokyo has 3 major campuses in Tokyo, and currently 43 facilities outside of Tokyo, none of which are at Tohoku University. It's a huge and world-renowned institution. See map at: (http://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/eng/gaiyou/55outside.html
Tohoku University at Sendai is 300 km North of Tokyo, which is one-sixth of the length of Japan. It's neither huge nor world-renowned. See map at: (http://web.bureau.tohoku.ac.jp/international/Map/Map.html
I wonder if he lied to Erlangen University when he went for his initial interview? Maybe we'll never know the true extent of his lying. But we know Herrigel is clearly a liar about important things, about issues that are central, to build up his story and image.
end of part 1, continued in part 2 of 2 ...
. The full 28 Chapters of the Lotus Sutra,
. Nichiren Daishonin's Gosho volumes I and II,
. the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings
. (Gosho Zenshu, including the Ongi Kuden) and the
. SGI Dictionary of Buddhism are located at:
. To find an SGI Community Center:
LS Chap. 16 .....
At that time the World-Honored One, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:
Since I attained Buddhahood
the number of kalpas that have passed
is an immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands,
millions, trillions, asamkhyas.
Constantly I have preached the Law, teaching, converting
countless millions of living beings,
causing them to enter the Buddha way,
all this for immeasurable kalpas.
In order to save living beings,
as an expedient means I appear to enter nirvana
but in truth I do not pass into extinction.
I am always here preaching the Law.
I am always here,
but through my transcendental powers
I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement
do not see me even when close by.
When the multitude see that I have passed into extinction,
far and wide they offer alms to my relics.