How many Fukuokas?

images (8)I wonder if there are others who have noticed that there is more than one Fukuoka?

The one known to most is from the era of The One-Straw Revolution, but there is a very distinct change in the 1990s, expressed first in his Recapitulation and then in the video of his visit to India and then finally in his last book published in English, Sowing Seeds in the Desert.

Of course, there is also the young scientist, the insight-inspired, and the beginning natural farmer Fukuoka who wrote the 3 ‘Mu’ books, as well.

Which is the real Fukuoka? One, none or all of them?

Fukuoka’s life falls easily into 3 stages; when the world is the world, when the world is not the world, and when the world is really the world – or the scientist, the farmer/philosopher of nothing, and finally the strident old man telling us to stop everything and seedball the earth!

For anyone who has delved into Japanese culture a little will recognise such a schema. Although such things remain unspoken there, it might be well to clarify further just what this schema suggests for us in the West without such a cultural background: They are 1) ordinary life, 2) a deep experience often referred to as the insight into our true selves and 3) finally – for Fukuoka it took exactly 50 years – grasping the root.

From the perspective of the 75 year old, the young man thought he knew everything but knew nothing, and the middle age man wasted 50 years in the vain pursuit of meaning when it was right there all the time.

Of course it is the Middle Fukuoka everyone knows and respects, the natural farmer who lives by his 4 principles, quietly going about his life. But Fukuoka is damning of this man’s life and his loss of what was vouchsafed to him at 25 in his youthful confusion – see Fukuoka’s Fulfilment earlier in this blog.

Zen also recognises such a progression making its initial focus that of insight into true self; kensho. I have a simple faith that it is the commitment to the discipline of zen meditation, zazen, which can develop the inherent powers of human beings into seeing true nature and that the work of life after this insight is its embodiment in our everyday practice.

Please join with me to be part of this movement in your own lives, taking the time to stop and deepen the appreciation of your true self in meditation and then uncovering ways to help all things in the way you then live your lives.

The following vows help to orientate us as we begin our journey. Though it may begin with but a faltering step, these vows will help strengthen our resolve along the way:

Beings are numberless, I vow to save them all.
Delusions are endless, I vow to cut through them all.
Reality’s gates are infinite, I vow to master them all.
The way is inconceivable, I vow to become it.

images (7)


About Jamie Nicol

Living in the forested hills of Catalonia, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Zen teacher, recovering philosopher, small-scale natural farmer. Writing just what comes.
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