Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities.
Penetrating deep down into the center of one’s own being one finds a nameless transparency, an awake space filled by all the world, from one’s own thoughts and feelings and body to the stars in the heavens. This still, spacious no-thingness is the heart of everyone’s being. Thus to find this no-thingness is to see that one is fundamentally united with all beings. At root there is only one – the One.
The mind has first to be attuned to the Unconscious.
“Zen is emphatically a matter of personal experience; if anything can be called radically empirical, it is Zen. No amount of reading, no amount of teaching, no amount of contemplation will ever make one a Zen master.
Life itself must be grasped in the midst of its flow; to stop it for examination and analysis is to kill it, leaving its cold corpse to be embraced.
Therefore, everything in the Meditation Hall and every detail of its disciplinary curriculum is so arranged as to bring this idea into the most efficient prominence. The unique position maintained by the Zen sect among the other Buddhist sects in Japan and China throughout the history of Buddhism in the Far East is no doubt due to the institution known as the Meditation Hall, or Zendo.”
— D.T. Suzuki
“One of the most significant features we notice in the practice of archery, and in fact of all the arts as they are studied in Japan and probably also in other Far Eastern countries, is that they are not intended for utilitarian purposes only or for purely aesthetic enjoyments, but are meant to train the mind; indeed, to bring it into contact with the ultimate reality. Archery is, therefore, not practised solely for hitting the target; the swordsman does not wield the sword just for the sake of outdoing his opponent; the dancer does not dance just to perform certain rhythmical movements of the body. The mind has first to be attuned to the Unconscious.
“If one really wishes to be master of an art, technical knowledge of it is not enough. One has to transcend technique so that the art becomes an ‘artless art’ growing out of the Unconscious.
In the case of archery, the hitter and the hit are no longer two opposing objects, but are one reality. The archer ceases to be conscious of himself as the one who is engaged in hitting the bull’s-eye which confronts him. This state of unconsciousness is realized only when, completely empty and rid of the self, he becomes one with the perfecting of his technical skill, though there is in it something of a quite different order which cannot be attained by any progressive study of the art.”
– Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki (also transliterated as Daisetz; often abbreviated D. T.) in his introduction (Ipswich, Massachusetts: May 1953) to Eugen Herrigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery, (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982), p. 5. First published as Zen in der Kunst des Bogenschießens, (Konstanz Weller, 1948). First English translation from the German by R.F.C. Hull (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953).
In the working of the Eastern mind, there is something calm, quiet, silent, undisturbable, which appears as if always looking into eternity. This quietude and silence, however, does not point to mere idleness or inactivity. It is the silence of an ‘eternal abyss’ in which all contrasts and conditions are buried; it is the silence of God who, deeply absorbed in contemplation of his works past, present, and future, sits calmly on his throne of absolute oneness and allness. Woe unto those who take it for decadence and death, for they will be overwhelmed by an overwhelming outburst of activity out of the eternal silence.