Fukuoka on Zen Farming

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People would ask: So tell us, Fukuoka sensei…is this Zen farming? He would say, No, no, no, it’s got nothing to do with religion, it’s just farming. It’s just farming. It’s a timeless understanding, and if I were to call it Zen farming, then right away you would take my farming and put it into your Zen file, and then that would be a way you could say, Oh I understand it because I can compartmentalize this whole thing and call it Zen. That would be playing into the need of our human intellect to try to understand things, and by doing that, gain control somehow.

[Fukuoka] didn’t want to do that, so he said: No, no, all I’m doing here is farming. But when you’re a farmer then you’re out in nature, and you see all of these wonderful dramas and these things of beauty, and you hear the wind blowing through the trees and so forth, and the farmer has many opportunites to break through and see God directly.

To him, the religions were an unnecessary structure that people have created to try to understand. And understanding is not part of this at all. If you really wanted to set him off, you would just say, Don’t you think people can understand nature? And he would say, People can’t really, truly understand anything.

From this interview with Larry Korn, long-time friend and student of Masanobu Fukuoka.

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