Truth, Good and Beauty in Japanese Archery

Truth, good and beauty in Japanese archery

In the Japanese art of archery, Kyudo, the principal objectives of this traditional teaching are: virtue (善, zen), beauty (美, bi) and truth (真, shin).


Virtue implies good, goodness. To be in a state of equanimity in the face of any event, to be detached from feelings such as envy, anger, elation, joy. The objective is to manage the inner and outer conflicts in order to achieve the right shot in archery. Such an objective is attained thanks to kindness.


Beauty is the result of movement harmonized with breathing and with the optimum economy of force. The archer does not seem to make any effort when the string is drawn.


Truth is about the archetype of archery and about effortlessness in the effectuation of the shot by the archer. This becomes evident through the sound produced by the string, the bow and the impact of the arrow on the target; one feels the ‘limpidity of the shot’.
In Japanese archery, as with the ancient Greek philosophers right up to Ken Wilber and Integral philosophy, we should keep in mind only one fundamental secret for interpreting the world: beauty, goodness and truth.
I suggest we use this interpretation key to observe the world and its evolution and to act in it . For example, we can study the evolution of the human being and of our beliefs (beauty). We can also observe the evolution of relationships between human beings and cultures (goodness). And finally, we can see how our institutions and organizations (truth) evolve and can evolve in order to survive and develop in a turbulent and chaotic world.

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