“But if you can’t avoid it, you should practice archery,” Confucius continues. This is because he saw archery as more of a ritual discipline than a mere contest. Hitting the center of the target requires a calm and concentrated inner state rather than physical power and strength. Trying to compete with other participants will only serve to detract from this focus, and more likely than not cause you to try too hard and lose your accuracy. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 3: Confucius on archery and leadership
The Analects of Confucius Book 3 features some quite astonishing tirades from Confucius against the Three Families, the real power behind the throne of his home state of Lu, for what he saw as their shameless violations of the ancient ritual ceremonies and proprieties that he believed were essential for a civilized society. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 3: overview
Confucius said: “In archery, it does not matter whether you pierce the target, because some archers are stronger than others. This was the view of the ancients.”
While Confucius may have taken archery seriously as a ritual practice, there were no doubt many others who saw it as a trial of power and strength even when practiced as part of a ceremony. By repeating this ancient saying, he is calling – no doubt in vain – for participants to observe the true spirit of the ritual rather than treat it as a contest of manliness. Continue reading A trial of strength?