By – Paulo Coelho
The Archer is a magnificent book for a few reasons. It’s a delightful keepsake volume with illustrations by illustrator Christoph Niemann that are in flawless harmony with the subject of this book: uplifting meditations on Zen and the art of bows and arrows.
Zen Buddhism can be hard to get a handle on in it’s different paradoxes, yet this book slips the readers into the very substance of the way of thinking through the analogy of archery. As Paulo says in his blog, ‘It is a short book, you don’t have to confuse things.
For what reason did Paulo pick the art of archery as the analogy to uncover the life-art of Zen? Other than being a weapon of battle, in numerous old writings on Buddhism, recorded among the holy implements are the bow and arrow. The reason is straightforward; by understanding the speciality of archery, we can get familiar with the art of Zen – which is the art of life. Also, arrow based weaponry is Paulo’s number one pastime games, so he has information on the complexities of the abilities required.
What would we be able to gain from archery about Zen and the art of life? Through his beautiful and profound thoughts. Paulo offers experiences into various key lessons from Zen:
- Know and regard your partners in the challenge, while learning from their triumphs and failures.
- The bow is your most prominent resource and is the source of your energy.
- Your goal is inside the arrow.
- The object of your focus is the objective.
- How you execute a fruitful shot – from your posture, through letting fly the bolt, to hitting the objective – is equivalent to the abilities you need throughout everyday life.
The Archer won’t leave my bedside and my supposition is over many years. Regardless of whether I never become a full time student of Zen Buddhism, I will at least have figured out how to embrace it’s most fundamental life advancing exercises by making this book my daily companion.