Shin, Zen, Bi.
Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
This is one of the cardinal concepts of kyudo.
Truth is utilized to shoot a straight arrow.
Goodness is in the physical effects of Truth on the outside world. It is hitting the mark.
And there is Beauty,
the untouchable result of Truth and Goodness.
Or at least that’s what I’ve thought until now.
I’ve always thought of Beauty as somehow separate from our will, just an effect of the earlier stages of Truth and Goodness.
But I believe there is something profound in our direct connection to Beauty.
I believe there is something Beauty can teach us that is not necessarily found in Truth and Goodness.
I believe that something is relaxation.
We can obey the rules of Truth and send the arrow straight,
and we can realize Goodness by hitting the mark,
but if we are not relaxed,
how can we realize Beauty?
What is beautiful that is also not relaxed?
A lion’s fierce attack may inspire greatness, but I would argue its greatest beauty can be found when simply lying upon a rock.
A tree or flower’s beauty is not brought about by furious action, but by it’s invincible relaxation planted into the ground.
An archer with wide eyes, shaking under the might of the strongest bow known to man, shocking the world with the impact of a bullseye,
can they possibly compare to the realization of perfection in relaxation, eyes relaxed, arrow flowing into the target, warm reverberation enveloping the world?
We can create beauty with our direct non-efforts of relaxation.
It is in our hands.
Or rather, in our eyes.
Deep in our hearts,
our rested hearts.
Without beauty, without relaxation, what is the purpose of our shooting?
To hit the target?
To be strong?
These are small knives in the crust of the Earth.
I want to be big, and float this planet in an ocean.
The key is in relaxation.
Give it all up, and everything will fall into place on its own.
But then again these are just words. Images arranged to affect the juices of our bodies and minds.
What is Beauty to you?
Could it possibly be the same as mine?