Kyudo – The Way of the Bow

The way of the bow is a living tradition of meditative archery, rooted in the warrior traditions of Japan. Kyudo was recognized as the highest discipline of Samurai warriors. Over time, it has become a contemplative practice of the spirit.

Kyudo is an art form with no other goal than the highest experience of the present moment beyond the strategies of thought and concept. Working with the precision of form, a natural process gradually unfolds through which direct experience of the essential nature of mind is realised. This is the target.

In 1980 the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche invited Onyumishi Kanjuro Shibata XX to come and teach Kyudo to his students. Sensei taught within our community until his death in 2013, and a thriving Kyudo practice group continues within Shambhala.

One is not polishing one’s shooting style or technique, but the mind. The dignity of shooting is the important point. This is how Kyudo differs from the common approach to archery. In Kyudo there is no hope. Hope is not the point. The point is that through long and genuine practice your natural dignity as a human being comes out. This natural dignity is already in you, but it is covered up by a lot of obstacles. When they are cleared away, your natural dignity is allowed to shine forth.

-Shibata Sensei