Several years before the Second World War the author, a German professor of philosophy, went to Japan to lecture and study. After many efforts he was fortunate enough to meet a genuine Zen master and to study as his pupil. Zen, often called ""the wordless philosophy"", is conveyed from master to pupil by a unique non-verbal method of instruction which can take almost any form from archery to the tea ceremony. Mr. Herrigel's teacher was an archer, and in a valuable earlier book Mr. Herrigel attempted to describe what he learned and how he learned. Alas, he has not been content to let well enough alone. Whatever there is in this present book that repeats or amplifies the other one is still valuable. But when he tries to put in Western philosophical terms things which even the greatest of Japanese masters would never dream of putting into their own language, he makes an irretrievable blunder. The book will be useful for cocktail party enthusiasts, but for more serious students it will prove to be sadly misleading.