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January 23, 2003
Vol. III, No. 3

"Calling All Students!"
I've been enjoying the book "Zen in the Art of Archery" by Eugen Herrigel. In a way, it actually has a lot to say about playing the organ. This morning I came across the following passages:

"Steep is the way to mastery. Often nothing keeps the pupil on the move but his faith in his teacher, whose mastery is now beginning to dawn on him. He is a living example of the inner work, and he convinces by his mere presence.

"How far the pupil will go is not the concern of the teacher and master. Hardly has he shown him the right way when he must let him go on alone. There is only one thing more he can do to help him endure his loneliness: he turns him away from himself, from the Master, by exhorting him to go further than he himself has done, and to 'climb on the shoulders of his teacher.'

"Wherever his way may take him, the pupil, though may lose sight of his teacher, can never forget him. With a gratitude as great as the uncritical veneration of the beginner, as strong as the saving faith of the artist, he now takes his Master's place, ready for any sacrifice. Countless examples down to the recent past testify that this gratitude far exceeds the measure of what is customary among mankind."

If you are an organist, then you have been a student and may recognize one (or more, if you're lucky) of your teachers in the words above. I did. Click the link below to read about some amazing teachers and perhaps tell a story of your own:

Click this link to read comments and offer your own:

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"So many books have been written about the meditation side of Zen and the everyday, chop wood/carry water side of Zen. But few books have approached Zen the way that most Japanese actually do--through ritualized arts of discipline and beauty--and perhaps that is why Eugen Herrigel's Zen in the Art of Archery is still popular so long after it first publication in 1953. Herrigel, a philosophy professor, spent six years studying archery and flower-arranging in Japan, practicing every day, and struggling with foreign notions such as 'eyes that hear and ears that see.' In a short, pithy narrative, he brings the heart of Zen to perfect clarity--intuition, imitation, practice, practice, practice, then, boom, wondrous spontaneity fusing self and art, mind, body, and spirit. Herrigel writes with an attention to subtle profundity and relates it with a simple artistry that itself carries the signature of Zen."

Have a great week!

Dan Long

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