Some Extracts from: ‘Zen in the Art of Archery’

Paulo Coelho. Pertama terkesan, oleh keindahannya bertutur dan kepandaiannya meramu kata. Sastra banget… Dalam dan indah. Apalagi setelah membaca versi aslinya—yang berbahasa Inggris tentunya, bukan yang berbahasa Portugis sebagaimana Coelho menulis.

Dibawah ini adalah bagian yang diambil dari buku Like the Flowing River: Thoughts and Reflections, di bagian dengan subjudul The Third Passion di halaman 207 (Harper Collins Publishers, 2006).

Some extracts from Zen in the Art of Archery, Coelho’s fascinating book by Eugen Herrigel, which can be applied to various activities in daily life.


When you apply tension, focus it solely on the thing that you require the tension for; otherwise, conserve your energies, learn (with the bow) that in order to achieve something, you do not need to take a giant step, but simply to focus on your objective.

My teacher gave me a very stiff bow. I asked why he was starting to teach me as if I were a professional. He replied: ‘If you begin with easy things, it leaves you unprepared for the great challenges. It’s best to know at once what difficulties you are likely to meet on the road.’

For a long time, I could not draw the bow correctly, until, one day, my teacher showed me a breathing exercise, and it suddenly became easy. I asked why he had taken such a long time to correct me. He replied: ‘If I had shown you the breathing exercises right from the start, you would have thought them unnecessary. Now you will believe what I say and will practise as if it were really important. That is what good teachers do.’

Releasing the arrow happens instinctively, but first you must have an intimate knowledge of the bow, the arrow and the target. When it come’s to life’s challenges, making the perfect move also involves intuition; however, we can only forget technique once we have mastered it completely.

After four years, when I hade mastered the bow, my teacher congratulated me. I felt pleased and said that I was now halfway along the road. ‘No,’ said my teacher. ‘To avoid falling into treacherous traps, it is best to consider that you have covered half your journey only when you have walked ninety percent of the road.’


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