Kanjuro Shibata Sensei is a national treasure of Japan. Twentieth in a line of bowmakers and kyudo (Japanese archery) masters, Sensei served for many years as the official bowmaker to the Emperor. He was invited to the United States for the first time by Trungpa Rinpoche in 1980. At that time, Sensei was disillusioned with much of kyudo practice in Japan and was profoundly affected by Trungpa Rinpoche’s deep understanding of kyudo as a path of meditation. Together they established a kyudo practice hall in Boulder, Colorado now known as Zenko Iba. This remains Sensei’s primary practice hall and his year round residence. Sensei has often said that “Kyudo and Ashe practice are the same.” His loyalty to Trungpa Rinpoche and the Shambhala community have been unwavering during his thirty years in the West. At the age of 89, he continues to travel and teach throughout North America and Europe and to serve our community in many subtle ways.
In this interview, Sensei emphasizes the unique qualities of Trungpa Rinpoche, the importance of form, and the power of meditation practice. For more information about Shibata Sensei visit zenkoiba.org, and zenko.org.
Thank you to Vajra Rich for interviewing Sensei for the Chronicles, Carolyn Kanjuro for interpreting their conversation, and Michael Rich for recording this interview.