The essence of modern kyudo is said to be synonymous with the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth in kyudo is manifested in shooting that is pure and right-minded, where the three elements of attitude, movement, and technique unite in a state of perfect harmony. A true shot in kyudo is not just one that hits the center of the target, but one where the arrow can be said to exist in the target before its release. Goodness encompasses such qualities as courtesy, compassion, morality, and non-aggression.
In kyudo, goodness is shown by displaying proper attitude and behavior in all situations. A good kyudo archer is a person who maintains his or her composure and grace even in times of great stress or conflict. Beauty both enhances life and stimulates the spirit. In kyudo, truth and goodness, themselves, are considered beautiful. Beauty can also be found in the exquisite grace and artistry of the Japanese bow and the elegance of the traditional archer's attire. It is also present in the refined etiquette that surrounds the kyudo ceremony. Much has been written about the philosophical connections of kyudo.
In his book Mr. Herrigel sets forth his experiences with kyudo in the 's.
Japanese Archery: The Art of Kyudo
It was a beautifully written account that has been translated into many languages, giving people worldwide their first glimpse of the art. Unfortunately, the book was very one-sided in its description of kyudo as a Zen art and is responsible for a lot of the current misconception surrounding the practice of kyudo as a religious activity.
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