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Re:the need for guidance

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  • onestrawresolution
    Hello Bart, I m sorry but I m not sure I understand the point you re making here: are you saying all people or communities who aspire to NF must join either of
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 1, 2007
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      Hello Bart, I'm sorry but I'm not sure I understand the point you're
      making here: are you saying all people or communities who aspire to NF
      must join either of the two you mention below or that it is
      inappropriate to start any new NF community per se?

      My wife, Anne, has been deeply touched by Thay and we would both be
      upset if we felt that the establishment of a community would in some
      way be against his wishes.

      From our understanding, Thay's focus on 'interbeing' would seem to
      favour the creation of real community projects wherever they arise,
      even beyond the boundaries of Plum Village.

      Or are you again suggesting that all projects beyond the focus of
      spiritual masters are problematic?

      Fukuoka would say that it is nature that is the wise master,
      Jean-Claude has indeed already stated that in this thread. And I would
      agree, but know in doing so that within the seemingly obvious word
      'nature' lies all human wisdom and folly - it is only a word after all
      and all words are metaphors, coins we trade amongst ourselves whose
      embossing has long since been rubbed off.

      Therefore a reference toward nature is no answer. But, then, neither
      is the reference to any acknowledged master, because no master can
      guarantee enlightenment either!

      All insight is only ever personal, individual, its occurence is beyond
      'nature's' or a 'master's' power to give.

      NF is only one path amongst many, and each NF path is different again.

      If I understand the thrust of your email then I must express my
      concern: NF, Rinzai, Soto, Daoism, Interbeing, Hua-Yen, Advaita
      Vedanta, Eckhartian Gelassenheit...etc are all paths we might travel
      but I do not believe that any one must subsume the others - the point
      about any of these paths is that they must open up the way, not close
      it down to one alternative.

      We must become the clearing in which being can come to presence
      through enowning - attachment to any single path, any one word any
      unmoving point is to step of the path.

      Jamie
      Souscayrous



      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Bart Van Audenhove
      <bartovan@...> wrote:
      >
      > We are also very interested in meeting like-minded people! That's
      why the next two weeks we are going to visit 2 communities in the
      south of France who dedicate themselves to mindfull living. One is the
      Kanshoji zen temple (http://www.kanshoji.org/) south of Limoges, the
      other is Plum Village inspired by buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat
      Anh (http://www.plumvillage.org/), about 85km east of Bordeaux.
      >
      > If I would not consider these as like-minded people, I think my
      natural farming could not be natural farming.
      > So not only is this kind of community possible: it already exists.
      There are already communities dedicated to natural farming, because
      they are dedicated to
      doing-nothing/mindfulness/awakaning/whateveryoucallit. Two of them are
      in the region of Bordeaux...
      > We think it better to strenghten these than to try to start new
      ones. How do we strenghten them? We have to go see, and ask them...
      >
      > See you there?
      > Bart
      >
      > ----- Mensaje original ----
      > De: Jamie Nicol <souscayrous@...>
      > Para: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
      > Enviado: viernes, 22 de junio, 2007 21:28:34
      > Asunto: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re:the need for guidance
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Dear All, I think many of us are concerned by the words
      we expend on this
      >
      > subject, knowing full well that we can never express what we mean. I
      agree
      >
      > with most of what has been expressed, even more with the way it's been
      >
      > expressed.
      >
      >
      >
      > I have an alternative I'd like to propose: that we all get together and
      >
      > real-ise these words. Chris and I are in the South of France,
      Stephane is
      >
      > off scouting in Portugal for his own place (though not before we had the
      >
      > chance to meet the other day) and we might even persuade Bart that
      such a
      >
      > community might be possible in Europe.
      >
      >
      >
      > Is this a possibility, of course!. Is it likely? No. But there is a
      meeting
      >
      > at Panos' new farm in Greece later this year (September I think) when
      >
      > perhaps such a proposal might draw others interested too.
      >
      >
      >
      > If there's any interest it might be possible to create another group to
      >
      > discuss the possibilities.
      >
      >
      >
      > I'm very interested in meeting like minded people (and yes,
      Jean-Claude, we
      >
      > did wonder about joining your interesting venture on Salt Spring
      Island!) to
      >
      > explore this possibility.
      >
      >
      >
      > Jamie
      >
      > Souscayrous
      >
      >
      >
      > On 6/20/07, steph_willems <steph_willems@ yahoo.fr> wrote:
      >
      > >
      >
      > > Dear Jamie and Bart,
      >
      > >
      >
      > > My lack of experience in natural farming makes me wonder whether I
      should
      >
      > > comment at
      >
      > > all. However, this discussion lies at the heart of my interest in
      NF. For
      >
      > > many years, I have
      >
      > > been interested both in "ecology" and in "spirituality" . I was,
      however,
      >
      > > surprised to see that
      >
      > > so few spiritual leaders, and particularly buddhist ones, are truly
      >
      > > interested in ecology (so
      >
      > > as to put it as the heart of their teachings). Real integration
      between
      >
      > > ecology and
      >
      > > spirituality only seems to exist in so-called "primordial"
      traditions. For
      >
      > > them, it seems
      >
      > > actually to be one and the same.
      >
      > > Maybe a simplistic way to explain this is that in the buddhist
      tradition
      >
      > > in particular, an
      >
      > > interest in ecology might hide an "attachment" to the world of
      >
      > > manifestation, to its survival
      >
      > > (as well as to our own survival), as if the "external world" was
      not as
      >
      > > important as the life
      >
      > > of the mind. But i think this very idea is still very dualistic.
      >
      > > I realise that my interest in NF is that indeed nature itself is a
      path
      >
      > > (or part of the path) to
      >
      > > enlightenment. Nature is a teacher. For thousands of years, spiritual
      >
      > > traditions have taken
      >
      > > nature for granted, so it may well be that nature had always been
      >
      > > considered as a teacher,
      >
      > > alongside official "masters" and gurus, but that was not really
      mentioned
      >
      > > (except in Zen
      >
      > > haikus, perhaps). Now, if nature is destroyed, it cannot be a teacher
      >
      > > anymore. This is
      >
      > > where I see the link between the need to protect nature and
      spirituality.
      >
      > > From a spiritual
      >
      > > point of view, the main reason for protecting nature may not be the
      >
      > > survival of our
      >
      > > species, but the need for an environment that can help reach
      enlightenment
      >
      > > or self-
      >
      > > realisation.
      >
      > > The link to nature indeed helps us to connect to a "more than human"
      >
      > > dimension of life, it
      >
      > > connects us to the mystery, it is a doorway to God, or whatever
      other word
      >
      > > our limited
      >
      > > human language creates. The biggest danger to spirituality is
      living in a
      >
      > > human-only
      >
      > > world, even if it is in a buddhist monastery. Wanting to protect
      nature is
      >
      > > therefore a sign
      >
      > > of "attachment" , but a healthy desire, just as looking for a
      spiritual
      >
      > > master (and
      >
      > > contributing to the conservation of spiritual traditions) is also
      healthy.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > The most difficult question perhaps is, however, whether nature
      can become
      >
      > > our only
      >
      > > teacher, as it may be the case for Fukuoka himself. Maybe this is not
      >
      > > possible for
      >
      > > everyone, maybe most people will also need to follow the path of a
      "human"
      >
      > > teacher. But
      >
      > > my point is that following the path of a spiritual master may also
      not be
      >
      > > sufficient if nature
      >
      > > all around us is destroyed.
      >
      > > Now I completely agree that NF is not about any technique, like
      seedballs,
      >
      > > and that in our
      >
      > > efforts to "green deserts", we do not forget the ultimate goal,
      that is
      >
      > > our own liberation.
      >
      > > This is related to "no-doing". For me, no-doing is not about doing
      nothing
      >
      > > in the
      >
      > > "external" world anyway. No-doing is an inner attitude. One can be
      active
      >
      > > in the world, but
      >
      > > be still inside. It may simply be that NF techniques, by the very fact
      >
      > > that they "let nature
      >
      > > be", are more "compatible with" (without being "a recipe to") this
      inner
      >
      > > stillness that is the
      >
      > > goal of spirituality.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > Stéphane (looking for a place to practice NF)
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com <fukuoka_farming%
      40yahoogroups. com>,
      >
      > > "Jamie Nicol" <souscayrous@ ...> wrote:
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Dear Bart, I would like to share JSENT's appreciation of your
      post, you
      >
      > > make
      >
      > > > many insightful points.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > I'd like to use some of the things you wrote to suggest my own
      >
      > > understanding
      >
      > > > regarding Fukuoka, clearly this is not to suggest right or wrong
      but to
      >
      > > > further the discussion of Fukuoka's work on this list.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > You write: " I for one cannot imagine anyone practicing natural
      farming
      >
      > > > without being (at least somewhat) awakened to the moment. And I can
      >
      > > hardly
      >
      > > > imagine anyone awakening to the moment without spiritual
      guidance from a
      >
      > > > true, living master, and without relentless practice. There are
      >
      > > exceptions,
      >
      > > > and maybe Fukuoka is one of them, but that is of little
      importance. What
      >
      > > is
      >
      > > > of importance is that Fukuoka, with all respect due to him, only
      >
      > > describes
      >
      > > > the experience without proposing a path - by path I mean a daily
      >
      > > practice of
      >
      > > > mindfulness "exercices". "
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > In reply to this I'd like to make a bold statement: NF is
      enlightenment!
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Now let me go back a bit:- I agree that no one can practice NF
      who is
      >
      > > not
      >
      > > > enlightened because NF is not about the growing of plants but the
      >
      > > > cultivation of human being. NF is not about agriculture
      (conventional,
      >
      > > > organic or other) at all. NF is not about any 'thing', as
      Fukuoka makes
      >
      > > > clear it is about no 'thing', which was his life changing
      experience at
      >
      > > the
      >
      > > > age of 25. It is no practice at all, a methodless method. It is the
      >
      > > > philosophy of no-philosophy, it is 'do-nothing' .
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Therefore, to practice NF is to already have experienced the felt
      >
      > > intensity
      >
      > > > of no-thingness which releases us into a world where we
      recognise that
      >
      > > we
      >
      > > > are already all that we can be and there is really no-thing that
      we have
      >
      > > to
      >
      > > > do.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Let me put it another way: to seek spiritual guidance or to
      begin the
      >
      > > > practice of NF is possible only to those who are already awakened.
      >
      > > Whether
      >
      > > > we practice a gurus method of mindfulness or the method of NF both
      >
      > > practices
      >
      > > > are themselves enlightenment if we make them our own. A teacher
      is can
      >
      > > not
      >
      > > > be a teacher to those who cannot hear and it is only the ability to
      >
      > > listen
      >
      > > > (hearken), to open ourselves to what is (Tathata), that can be
      >
      > > considered
      >
      > > > enlightenment - and we must already have some small part of this
      to even
      >
      > > > begin the search for a master.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Fukuoka does describe a path to follow and this path is NF
      itself. It is
      >
      > > > everchanging, as Fukuoka's life attests. A simple life lived
      close to
      >
      > > the
      >
      > > > soil might seem a small life, but within it the great way can be
      seen.
      >
      > > There
      >
      > > > is always the danger in monasteries and meditation that we only make
      >
      > > > concrete our modern separation of the human and natural worlds
      rather
      >
      > > than
      >
      > > > remembering that the earth is one.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > You write: " I consider that only walking on this path, one can cast
      >
      > > > seedballs. I think that otherwise, one just imagines being casting
      >
      > > > seedballs, while in reality one is using them to fill one's
      future (and
      >
      > > > therefore imaginary) stomach, or other people's future (and
      therefore
      >
      > > > imaginary) stomachs, or chasing after some other figment of
      imagination
      >
      > > (a
      >
      > > > better planet, for instance). And while this seedball-casting is
      a means
      >
      > > for
      >
      > > > obtaining a goal, however noble this goal may seem, I think it has
      >
      > > nothing
      >
      > > > to do with not-doing or natural farming."
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > With this I could not agree more. NF is not seedballs, it can be
      reduced
      >
      > > to
      >
      > > > no single technique, indeed, it can be reduced to no-technique
      at all!
      >
      > > NF is
      >
      > > > nothing other than the understanding of what to do, or perhaps more
      >
      > > > importantly in our busy culture, what not to do. There is
      no-thing that
      >
      > > must
      >
      > > > be done, including seedballing. All efforts after finding a way
      to feed
      >
      > > the
      >
      > > > world, revegetate deserts etc, however noble, as you say, will
      always
      >
      > > lose
      >
      > > > the now which is the only moment in which we can realise NF.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > The grass and the trees (things) may be God as Fukuoka says, but
      we must
      >
      > > not
      >
      > > > forget that beyond the grass and the trees there is no-thing of
      which we
      >
      > > can
      >
      > > > say nothing.
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > Jamie
      >
      > > > Souscayrous
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > On 6/15/07, JSENT <wegrow4@ > wrote:
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > > > Thanks Bart, for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate them.
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > >
      >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      > > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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    • Bart Van Audenhove
      Hello Jamie, in no way I wanted to suggest that a community aspiring to NF should first join whatever other community before starting, or that a new community
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 1, 2007
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        Hello Jamie,

        in no way I wanted to suggest that a community aspiring to NF should first join whatever other community before starting, or that a new community is inappropriate. I have no idea if a new community would be against Thay's wishes; as I understand the tiny bit of his teachings I read, he rather encourages sangha-building, the building of communities, as you say - wherever they are. What you can call a community, is the point of interest, I think - I come back to that later.

        For me (too) nature is a word which I find hard to use. A spiritual master is nature. A forest is nature. People are. A gun is. And concerning what in this universe can be a spiritual teacher: the sound of passing cars can be the voice of the buddha, a man slaughtering an animal can be your teacher. "Therefore a reference toward nature is no answer," you say. I agree totally.
        "But, then, neither is the reference to any acknowledged master, because no master can guarantee enlightenment either!" There I would answer: who wants guarantees? To speak about my proper experience: one day I acknowledged in myself my destructive sides, my stupidity, my blindness. At the same time I met a person who apparantly managed his well, who lived in peace. So I turned to him, and asked: please teach me. No need for guarantees of enlightenment, whatever tiny bit you can teach me, is already great.
        Thay does not give guarantees, but he inspires and guides. He inspires your wife more than any other person (I imagine) and that is the answer to the question what a master can do and why he may be necessary. To put it a bit sloganesk: If the forest doesn't inspire you (suficiently) into awakening, into acting like a buddha (please translate into your spiritual vocabulary), then look for a human master.

        I also agree totally with what you say next: "NF, Rinzai, Soto, Daoism, Interbeing, Hua-Yen, Advaita

        Vedanta, Eckhartian Gelassenheit. ..etc are all paths we might travel

        but I do not believe that any one must subsume the others - the point

        about any of these paths is that they must open up the way, not close

        it down to one alternative." If I focus on one path, it is only because I don't want to speak of things outside my proper experience. As I said in one of my earlier mails: please translate into whatever spiritual practice or tradition you know or like. Any way, these are just other names for the same path.

        So I think we agree on most basic things. Where we might disagree, is on what kind of community is necessary, and how it should come about.
        Concerning the kind of community needed: I think that whatever new community that comes into being, should have mindfulness at its heart - not farming. I don't know if the world needs natural farming. I do know with profound, heartfelt conviction that it needs mindfulness. And someone like Thich Nhat Anh inspires more faith in me than Fukuoka. So I follow his guidelines, and not Fukuoka's - meaning that NF still captures a lot of my interest, but is in a way secondary practice.
        And about how it should be formed: in my experience and understanding, a community that does not form around a respected and capable human spiritual master or elder, fails. I remember Thay writing about the fact that traditionally for any Buddhist community to start, there have to be at least four monks who have mastered the necessary techniques and understandings for community building - and that it takes five years of study to master them. If you go with this literally or not doesn't matter, at least it is a sound warning that community-building is not to be taken lightly. I do not mean to say that this master or elder should be resident in the community - only that he should be the reference, and that everybody in the community, without exception, should be able to accept his guidance, or leave the community.

        I feel that if we are not able to join an existing community - this can be as a "satellite community", as a "sister"- or "daughter"-community (geographically apart but spiritually very closely linked) - we are even less able to form a new one. I would feel we would just be setting up a battlefield, each one with his own ideals (which can be buddhist, or Fukuokist, or Bartist or Jamie-ist), which would be no more than battle positions, trenches to defend. So I do suggest that all COMMUNITY-projects beyond the focus of spiritual masters are problematic, I'm afraid :)
        So if someone would propose me to join a sister-community of Plum Village (for example), I would consider it very thoroughly. Because there would be a strong reference and inspiration accepted by all: Thich Nhat Anh. When a conflict would arise, we would all know what to do, how exactly to handle it. Or we would feel that this way of handling doesn't become us, and know that we should leave the community. And if we would be unable to handle the conflict ourselves, we would know where to turn.
        Joining a community without such a reference (which can be any true master, buddhist or not), is out of the question for me. This is a question of humility, of knowing one's limitations. I know I am very very limited in my community-building capacities, and I think this goes for the most of us. I would probably be more of a destructive than a constructive element - if I don't follow the guidance of a master.

        Maybe this is another point where the need for a human master arises. It is very difficult, I think, to learn from "nature" how to live in peace as humans.

        In this respect, for me Fukuoka doesn't qualify as a master. I could imagine him being the responsable person in the community for everything concerning the garden - I couldn't imagine anyone better. But as the spiritual master, to take the role Thay has for instance in Plum Vllage, I think he doesn't qualify - and I think he has never proposed himself as such.

        Maybe your concern about doing something against Thay's wishes, expresses best your need of a human, spiritual master. Or more exactly: it expresses the fact that you already have one, that he IS your spiritual master - otherwise his opinion would be of no special interest...

        Maybe it is time to choose? I remember a zen master in mexico (Tesshin Sanderson) with whom I went a few times saying that the most important is not the content of the teachings, but the ability to accept them. He laughed and said: "I should have to say to you all to go vote for Lopez Obrador (presidential candidate) the day of the elections, and to vote twice. It would be very interesting to see what you would do." Having more than one master at the same time CAN be a way of escaping this acceptation, of picking and choosing. I chose my Buddhist master - and see Fukuoka as an inspiring, elder co-disciple, a very respected dharma-brother, but not my teacher.

        I'll be incomunicado the next two weeks, because of my stay at Kanshoji (2-6/7) and Plum Village (6-13/7).

        Be well and all the best,
        Bart


        ----- Mensaje original ----
        De: onestrawresolution <souscayrous@...>
        Para: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
        Enviado: domingo, 1 de julio, 2007 10:51:05
        Asunto: [fukuoka_farming] Re:the need for guidance













        Hello Bart, I'm sorry but I'm not sure I understand the point you're

        making here: are you saying all people or communities who aspire to NF

        must join either of the two you mention below or that it is

        inappropriate to start any new NF community per se?


        My wife, Anne, has been deeply touched by Thay and we would both be

        upset if we felt that the establishment of a community would in some

        way be against his wishes.



        From our understanding, Thay's focus on 'interbeing' would seem to

        favour the creation of real community projects wherever they arise,

        even beyond the boundaries of Plum Village.



        Or are you again suggesting that all projects beyond the focus of

        spiritual masters are problematic?



        Fukuoka would say that it is nature that is the wise master,

        Jean-Claude has indeed already stated that in this thread. And I would

        agree, but know in doing so that within the seemingly obvious word

        'nature' lies all human wisdom and folly - it is only a word after all

        and all words are metaphors, coins we trade amongst ourselves whose

        embossing has long since been rubbed off.



        Therefore a reference toward nature is no answer. But, then, neither

        is the reference to any acknowledged master, because no master can

        guarantee enlightenment either!



        All insight is only ever personal, individual, its occurence is beyond

        'nature's' or a 'master's' power to give.



        NF is only one path amongst many, and each NF path is different again.



        If I understand the thrust of your email then I must express my

        concern: NF, Rinzai, Soto, Daoism, Interbeing, Hua-Yen, Advaita

        Vedanta, Eckhartian Gelassenheit. ..etc are all paths we might travel

        but I do not believe that any one must subsume the others - the point

        about any of these paths is that they must open up the way, not close

        it down to one alternative.



        We must become the clearing in which being can come to presence

        through enowning - attachment to any single path, any one word any

        unmoving point is to step of the path.



        Jamie

        Souscayrous



        --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com, Bart Van Audenhove

        <bartovan@.. .> wrote:

        >

        > We are also very interested in meeting like-minded people! That's

        why the next two weeks we are going to visit 2 communities in the

        south of France who dedicate themselves to mindfull living. One is the

        Kanshoji zen temple (http://www.kanshoji .org/) south of Limoges, the

        other is Plum Village inspired by buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat

        Anh (http://www.plumvill age.org/), about 85km east of Bordeaux.

        >

        > If I would not consider these as like-minded people, I think my

        natural farming could not be natural farming.

        > So not only is this kind of community possible: it already exists.

        There are already communities dedicated to natural farming, because

        they are dedicated to

        doing-nothing/ mindfulness/ awakaning/ whateveryoucalli t. Two of them are

        in the region of Bordeaux...

        > We think it better to strenghten these than to try to start new

        ones. How do we strenghten them? We have to go see, and ask them...

        >

        > See you there?

        > Bart

        >

        > ----- Mensaje original ----

        > De: Jamie Nicol <souscayrous@ ...>

        > Para: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com

        > Enviado: viernes, 22 de junio, 2007 21:28:34

        > Asunto: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re:the need for guidance

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        > Dear All, I think many of us are concerned by the words

        we expend on this

        >

        > subject, knowing full well that we can never express what we mean. I

        agree

        >

        > with most of what has been expressed, even more with the way it's been

        >

        > expressed.

        >

        >

        >

        > I have an alternative I'd like to propose: that we all get together and

        >

        > real-ise these words. Chris and I are in the South of France,

        Stephane is

        >

        > off scouting in Portugal for his own place (though not before we had the

        >

        > chance to meet the other day) and we might even persuade Bart that

        such a

        >

        > community might be possible in Europe.

        >

        >

        >

        > Is this a possibility, of course!. Is it likely? No. But there is a

        meeting

        >

        > at Panos' new farm in Greece later this year (September I think) when

        >

        > perhaps such a proposal might draw others interested too.

        >

        >

        >

        > If there's any interest it might be possible to create another group to

        >

        > discuss the possibilities.

        >

        >

        >

        > I'm very interested in meeting like minded people (and yes,

        Jean-Claude, we

        >

        > did wonder about joining your interesting venture on Salt Spring

        Island!) to

        >

        > explore this possibility.

        >

        >

        >

        > Jamie

        >

        > Souscayrous

        >

        >

        >

        > On 6/20/07, steph_willems <steph_willems@ yahoo.fr> wrote:

        >

        > >

        >

        > > Dear Jamie and Bart,

        >

        > >

        >

        > > My lack of experience in natural farming makes me wonder whether I

        should

        >

        > > comment at

        >

        > > all. However, this discussion lies at the heart of my interest in

        NF. For

        >

        > > many years, I have

        >

        > > been interested both in "ecology" and in "spirituality" . I was,

        however,

        >

        > > surprised to see that

        >

        > > so few spiritual leaders, and particularly buddhist ones, are truly

        >

        > > interested in ecology (so

        >

        > > as to put it as the heart of their teachings). Real integration

        between

        >

        > > ecology and

        >

        > > spirituality only seems to exist in so-called "primordial"

        traditions. For

        >

        > > them, it seems

        >

        > > actually to be one and the same.

        >

        > > Maybe a simplistic way to explain this is that in the buddhist

        tradition

        >

        > > in particular, an

        >

        > > interest in ecology might hide an "attachment" to the world of

        >

        > > manifestation, to its survival

        >

        > > (as well as to our own survival), as if the "external world" was

        not as

        >

        > > important as the life

        >

        > > of the mind. But i think this very idea is still very dualistic.

        >

        > > I realise that my interest in NF is that indeed nature itself is a

        path

        >

        > > (or part of the path) to

        >

        > > enlightenment. Nature is a teacher. For thousands of years, spiritual

        >

        > > traditions have taken

        >

        > > nature for granted, so it may well be that nature had always been

        >

        > > considered as a teacher,

        >

        > > alongside official "masters" and gurus, but that was not really

        mentioned

        >

        > > (except in Zen

        >

        > > haikus, perhaps). Now, if nature is destroyed, it cannot be a teacher

        >

        > > anymore. This is

        >

        > > where I see the link between the need to protect nature and

        spirituality.

        >

        > > From a spiritual

        >

        > > point of view, the main reason for protecting nature may not be the

        >

        > > survival of our

        >

        > > species, but the need for an environment that can help reach

        enlightenment

        >

        > > or self-

        >

        > > realisation.

        >

        > > The link to nature indeed helps us to connect to a "more than human"

        >

        > > dimension of life, it

        >

        > > connects us to the mystery, it is a doorway to God, or whatever

        other word

        >

        > > our limited

        >

        > > human language creates. The biggest danger to spirituality is

        living in a

        >

        > > human-only

        >

        > > world, even if it is in a buddhist monastery. Wanting to protect

        nature is

        >

        > > therefore a sign

        >

        > > of "attachment" , but a healthy desire, just as looking for a

        spiritual

        >

        > > master (and

        >

        > > contributing to the conservation of spiritual traditions) is also

        healthy.

        >

        > >

        >

        > > The most difficult question perhaps is, however, whether nature

        can become

        >

        > > our only

        >

        > > teacher, as it may be the case for Fukuoka himself. Maybe this is not

        >

        > > possible for

        >

        > > everyone, maybe most people will also need to follow the path of a

        "human"

        >

        > > teacher. But

        >

        > > my point is that following the path of a spiritual master may also

        not be

        >

        > > sufficient if nature

        >

        > > all around us is destroyed.

        >

        > > Now I completely agree that NF is not about any technique, like

        seedballs,

        >

        > > and that in our

        >

        > > efforts to "green deserts", we do not forget the ultimate goal,

        that is

        >

        > > our own liberation.

        >

        > > This is related to "no-doing". For me, no-doing is not about doing

        nothing

        >

        > > in the

        >

        > > "external" world anyway. No-doing is an inner attitude. One can be

        active

        >

        > > in the world, but

        >

        > > be still inside. It may simply be that NF techniques, by the very fact

        >

        > > that they "let nature

        >

        > > be", are more "compatible with" (without being "a recipe to") this

        inner

        >

        > > stillness that is the

        >

        > > goal of spirituality.

        >

        > >

        >

        > > Stéphane (looking for a place to practice NF)

        >

        > >

        >

        > >

        >

        > > --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com <fukuoka_farming%

        40yahoogroups. com>,

        >

        > > "Jamie Nicol" <souscayrous@ ...> wrote:

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > Dear Bart, I would like to share JSENT's appreciation of your

        post, you

        >

        > > make

        >

        > > > many insightful points.

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > I'd like to use some of the things you wrote to suggest my own

        >

        > > understanding

        >

        > > > regarding Fukuoka, clearly this is not to suggest right or wrong

        but to

        >

        > > > further the discussion of Fukuoka's work on this list.

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > You write: " I for one cannot imagine anyone practicing natural

        farming

        >

        > > > without being (at least somewhat) awakened to the moment. And I can

        >

        > > hardly

        >

        > > > imagine anyone awakening to the moment without spiritual

        guidance from a

        >

        > > > true, living master, and without relentless practice. There are

        >

        > > exceptions,

        >

        > > > and maybe Fukuoka is one of them, but that is of little

        importance. What

        >

        > > is

        >

        > > > of importance is that Fukuoka, with all respect due to him, only

        >

        > > describes

        >

        > > > the experience without proposing a path - by path I mean a daily

        >

        > > practice of

        >

        > > > mindfulness "exercices". "

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > In reply to this I'd like to make a bold statement: NF is

        enlightenment!

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > Now let me go back a bit:- I agree that no one can practice NF

        who is

        >

        > > not

        >

        > > > enlightened because NF is not about the growing of plants but the

        >

        > > > cultivation of human being. NF is not about agriculture

        (conventional,

        >

        > > > organic or other) at all. NF is not about any 'thing', as

        Fukuoka makes

        >

        > > > clear it is about no 'thing', which was his life changing

        experience at

        >

        > > the

        >

        > > > age of 25. It is no practice at all, a methodless method. It is the

        >

        > > > philosophy of no-philosophy, it is 'do-nothing' .

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > Therefore, to practice NF is to already have experienced the felt

        >

        > > intensity

        >

        > > > of no-thingness which releases us into a world where we

        recognise that

        >

        > > we

        >

        > > > are already all that we can be and there is really no-thing that

        we have

        >

        > > to

        >

        > > > do.

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > Let me put it another way: to seek spiritual guidance or to

        begin the

        >

        > > > practice of NF is possible only to those who are already awakened.

        >

        > > Whether

        >

        > > > we practice a gurus method of mindfulness or the method of NF both

        >

        > > practices

        >

        > > > are themselves enlightenment if we make them our own. A teacher

        is can

        >

        > > not

        >

        > > > be a teacher to those who cannot hear and it is only the ability to

        >

        > > listen

        >

        > > > (hearken), to open ourselves to what is (Tathata), that can be

        >

        > > considered

        >

        > > > enlightenment - and we must already have some small part of this

        to even

        >

        > > > begin the search for a master.

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > Fukuoka does describe a path to follow and this path is NF

        itself. It is

        >

        > > > everchanging, as Fukuoka's life attests. A simple life lived

        close to

        >

        > > the

        >

        > > > soil might seem a small life, but within it the great way can be

        seen.

        >

        > > There

        >

        > > > is always the danger in monasteries and meditation that we only make

        >

        > > > concrete our modern separation of the human and natural worlds

        rather

        >

        > > than

        >

        > > > remembering that the earth is one.

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > You write: " I consider that only walking on this path, one can cast

        >

        > > > seedballs. I think that otherwise, one just imagines being casting

        >

        > > > seedballs, while in reality one is using them to fill one's

        future (and

        >

        > > > therefore imaginary) stomach, or other people's future (and

        therefore

        >

        > > > imaginary) stomachs, or chasing after some other figment of

        imagination

        >

        > > (a

        >

        > > > better planet, for instance). And while this seedball-casting is

        a means

        >

        > > for

        >

        > > > obtaining a goal, however noble this goal may seem, I think it has

        >

        > > nothing

        >

        > > > to do with not-doing or natural farming."

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > With this I could not agree more. NF is not seedballs, it can be

        reduced

        >

        > > to

        >

        > > > no single technique, indeed, it can be reduced to no-technique

        at all!

        >

        > > NF is

        >

        > > > nothing other than the understanding of what to do, or perhaps more

        >

        > > > importantly in our busy culture, what not to do. There is

        no-thing that

        >

        > > must

        >

        > > > be done, including seedballing. All efforts after finding a way

        to feed

        >

        > > the

        >

        > > > world, revegetate deserts etc, however noble, as you say, will

        always

        >

        > > lose

        >

        > > > the now which is the only moment in which we can realise NF.

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > The grass and the trees (things) may be God as Fukuoka says, but

        we must

        >

        > > not

        >

        > > > forget that beyond the grass and the trees there is no-thing of

        which we

        >

        > > can

        >

        > > > say nothing.

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > Jamie

        >

        > > > Souscayrous

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > On 6/15/07, JSENT <wegrow4@ > wrote:

        >

        > > > >

        >

        > > > > Thanks Bart, for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate them.

        >

        > > > >

        >

        > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        >

        > > > >

        >

        > > > >

        >

        > > > >

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > >

        >

        > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        >

        > > >

        >

        > >

        >

        > >

        >

        > >

        >

        >

        >

        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

        >

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      • Jamie Nicol
        Dear Bart, we agree on so much, so let me waste no more words and just say this: I do not believe that nature or a master move us one step further toward
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 2, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Bart, we agree on so much, so let me waste no more words and just say
          this:

          I do not believe that nature or a master move us one step further toward
          enlightenment, only we are responsible for ourselves. As you say clearly; "
          And concerning what in this universe can be a spiritual teacher: the sound
          of passing cars can be the voice of the buddha, a man slaughtering an animal
          can be your teacher. "Therefore a reference toward nature is no answer," you
          say. I agree totally."

          Just so.

          Jamie
          Souscayrous

          On 7/1/07, Bart Van Audenhove <bartovan@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hello Jamie,
          >
          > in no way I wanted to suggest that a community aspiring to NF should first
          > join whatever other community before starting, or that a new community is
          > inappropriate. I have no idea if a new community would be against Thay's
          > wishes; as I understand the tiny bit of his teachings I read, he rather
          > encourages sangha-building, the building of communities, as you say -
          > wherever they are. What you can call a community, is the point of interest,
          > I think - I come back to that later.
          >
          > For me (too) nature is a word which I find hard to use. A spiritual master
          > is nature. A forest is nature. People are. A gun is. And concerning what in
          > this universe can be a spiritual teacher: the sound of passing cars can be
          > the voice of the buddha, a man slaughtering an animal can be your teacher.
          > "Therefore a reference toward nature is no answer," you say. I agree
          > totally.
          > "But, then, neither is the reference to any acknowledged master, because
          > no master can guarantee enlightenment either!" There I would answer: who
          > wants guarantees? To speak about my proper experience: one day I
          > acknowledged in myself my destructive sides, my stupidity, my blindness. At
          > the same time I met a person who apparantly managed his well, who lived in
          > peace. So I turned to him, and asked: please teach me. No need for
          > guarantees of enlightenment, whatever tiny bit you can teach me, is already
          > great.
          > Thay does not give guarantees, but he inspires and guides. He inspires
          > your wife more than any other person (I imagine) and that is the answer to
          > the question what a master can do and why he may be necessary. To put it a
          > bit sloganesk: If the forest doesn't inspire you (suficiently) into
          > awakening, into acting like a buddha (please translate into your spiritual
          > vocabulary), then look for a human master.
          >
          > I also agree totally with what you say next: "NF, Rinzai, Soto, Daoism,
          > Interbeing, Hua-Yen, Advaita
          >
          > Vedanta, Eckhartian Gelassenheit. ..etc are all paths we might travel
          >
          > but I do not believe that any one must subsume the others - the point
          >
          > about any of these paths is that they must open up the way, not close
          >
          > it down to one alternative." If I focus on one path, it is only because I
          > don't want to speak of things outside my proper experience. As I said in one
          > of my earlier mails: please translate into whatever spiritual practice or
          > tradition you know or like. Any way, these are just other names for the same
          > path.
          >
          > So I think we agree on most basic things. Where we might disagree, is on
          > what kind of community is necessary, and how it should come about.
          > Concerning the kind of community needed: I think that whatever new
          > community that comes into being, should have mindfulness at its heart - not
          > farming. I don't know if the world needs natural farming. I do know with
          > profound, heartfelt conviction that it needs mindfulness. And someone like
          > Thich Nhat Anh inspires more faith in me than Fukuoka. So I follow his
          > guidelines, and not Fukuoka's - meaning that NF still captures a lot of my
          > interest, but is in a way secondary practice.
          > And about how it should be formed: in my experience and understanding, a
          > community that does not form around a respected and capable human spiritual
          > master or elder, fails. I remember Thay writing about the fact that
          > traditionally for any Buddhist community to start, there have to be at least
          > four monks who have mastered the necessary techniques and understandings for
          > community building - and that it takes five years of study to master them.
          > If you go with this literally or not doesn't matter, at least it is a sound
          > warning that community-building is not to be taken lightly. I do not mean to
          > say that this master or elder should be resident in the community - only
          > that he should be the reference, and that everybody in the community,
          > without exception, should be able to accept his guidance, or leave the
          > community.
          >
          > I feel that if we are not able to join an existing community - this can be
          > as a "satellite community", as a "sister"- or "daughter"-community
          > (geographically apart but spiritually very closely linked) - we are even
          > less able to form a new one. I would feel we would just be setting up a
          > battlefield, each one with his own ideals (which can be buddhist, or
          > Fukuokist, or Bartist or Jamie-ist), which would be no more than battle
          > positions, trenches to defend. So I do suggest that all COMMUNITY-projects
          > beyond the focus of spiritual masters are problematic, I'm afraid :)
          > So if someone would propose me to join a sister-community of Plum Village
          > (for example), I would consider it very thoroughly. Because there would be a
          > strong reference and inspiration accepted by all: Thich Nhat Anh. When a
          > conflict would arise, we would all know what to do, how exactly to handle
          > it. Or we would feel that this way of handling doesn't become us, and know
          > that we should leave the community. And if we would be unable to handle the
          > conflict ourselves, we would know where to turn.
          > Joining a community without such a reference (which can be any true
          > master, buddhist or not), is out of the question for me. This is a question
          > of humility, of knowing one's limitations. I know I am very very limited in
          > my community-building capacities, and I think this goes for the most of us.
          > I would probably be more of a destructive than a constructive element - if I
          > don't follow the guidance of a master.
          >
          > Maybe this is another point where the need for a human master arises. It
          > is very difficult, I think, to learn from "nature" how to live in peace as
          > humans.
          >
          > In this respect, for me Fukuoka doesn't qualify as a master. I could
          > imagine him being the responsable person in the community for everything
          > concerning the garden - I couldn't imagine anyone better. But as the
          > spiritual master, to take the role Thay has for instance in Plum Vllage, I
          > think he doesn't qualify - and I think he has never proposed himself as
          > such.
          >
          > Maybe your concern about doing something against Thay's wishes, expresses
          > best your need of a human, spiritual master. Or more exactly: it expresses
          > the fact that you already have one, that he IS your spiritual master -
          > otherwise his opinion would be of no special interest...
          >
          > Maybe it is time to choose? I remember a zen master in mexico (Tesshin
          > Sanderson) with whom I went a few times saying that the most important is
          > not the content of the teachings, but the ability to accept them. He laughed
          > and said: "I should have to say to you all to go vote for Lopez Obrador
          > (presidential candidate) the day of the elections, and to vote twice. It
          > would be very interesting to see what you would do." Having more than one
          > master at the same time CAN be a way of escaping this acceptation, of
          > picking and choosing. I chose my Buddhist master - and see Fukuoka as an
          > inspiring, elder co-disciple, a very respected dharma-brother, but not my
          > teacher.
          >
          > I'll be incomunicado the next two weeks, because of my stay at Kanshoji
          > (2-6/7) and Plum Village (6-13/7).
          >
          > Be well and all the best,
          > Bart
          >
          > ----- Mensaje original ----
          > De: onestrawresolution <souscayrous@... <souscayrous%40gmail.com>>
          > Para: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
          > Enviado: domingo, 1 de julio, 2007 10:51:05
          > Asunto: [fukuoka_farming] Re:the need for guidance
          >
          >
          > Hello Bart, I'm sorry but I'm not sure I understand the point you're
          >
          > making here: are you saying all people or communities who aspire to NF
          >
          > must join either of the two you mention below or that it is
          >
          > inappropriate to start any new NF community per se?
          >
          > My wife, Anne, has been deeply touched by Thay and we would both be
          >
          > upset if we felt that the establishment of a community would in some
          >
          > way be against his wishes.
          >
          > From our understanding, Thay's focus on 'interbeing' would seem to
          >
          > favour the creation of real community projects wherever they arise,
          >
          > even beyond the boundaries of Plum Village.
          >
          > Or are you again suggesting that all projects beyond the focus of
          >
          > spiritual masters are problematic?
          >
          > Fukuoka would say that it is nature that is the wise master,
          >
          > Jean-Claude has indeed already stated that in this thread. And I would
          >
          > agree, but know in doing so that within the seemingly obvious word
          >
          > 'nature' lies all human wisdom and folly - it is only a word after all
          >
          > and all words are metaphors, coins we trade amongst ourselves whose
          >
          > embossing has long since been rubbed off.
          >
          > Therefore a reference toward nature is no answer. But, then, neither
          >
          > is the reference to any acknowledged master, because no master can
          >
          > guarantee enlightenment either!
          >
          > All insight is only ever personal, individual, its occurence is beyond
          >
          > 'nature's' or a 'master's' power to give.
          >
          > NF is only one path amongst many, and each NF path is different again.
          >
          > If I understand the thrust of your email then I must express my
          >
          > concern: NF, Rinzai, Soto, Daoism, Interbeing, Hua-Yen, Advaita
          >
          > Vedanta, Eckhartian Gelassenheit. ..etc are all paths we might travel
          >
          > but I do not believe that any one must subsume the others - the point
          >
          > about any of these paths is that they must open up the way, not close
          >
          > it down to one alternative.
          >
          > We must become the clearing in which being can come to presence
          >
          > through enowning - attachment to any single path, any one word any
          >
          > unmoving point is to step of the path.
          >
          > Jamie
          >
          > Souscayrous
          >
          > --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com, Bart Van Audenhove
          >
          > <bartovan@.. .> wrote:
          >
          > >
          >
          > > We are also very interested in meeting like-minded people! That's
          >
          > why the next two weeks we are going to visit 2 communities in the
          >
          > south of France who dedicate themselves to mindfull living. One is the
          >
          > Kanshoji zen temple (http://www.kanshoji .org/) south of Limoges, the
          >
          > other is Plum Village inspired by buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat
          >
          > Anh (http://www.plumvill age.org/), about 85km east of Bordeaux.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > If I would not consider these as like-minded people, I think my
          >
          > natural farming could not be natural farming.
          >
          > > So not only is this kind of community possible: it already exists.
          >
          > There are already communities dedicated to natural farming, because
          >
          > they are dedicated to
          >
          > doing-nothing/ mindfulness/ awakaning/ whateveryoucalli t. Two of them are
          >
          > in the region of Bordeaux...
          >
          > > We think it better to strenghten these than to try to start new
          >
          > ones. How do we strenghten them? We have to go see, and ask them...
          >
          > >
          >
          > > See you there?
          >
          > > Bart
          >
          > >
          >
          > > ----- Mensaje original ----
          >
          > > De: Jamie Nicol <souscayrous@ ...>
          >
          > > Para: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
          >
          > > Enviado: viernes, 22 de junio, 2007 21:28:34
          >
          > > Asunto: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re:the need for guidance
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > Dear All, I think many of us are concerned by the words
          >
          > we expend on this
          >
          > >
          >
          > > subject, knowing full well that we can never express what we mean. I
          >
          > agree
          >
          > >
          >
          > > with most of what has been expressed, even more with the way it's been
          >
          > >
          >
          > > expressed.
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > I have an alternative I'd like to propose: that we all get together and
          >
          > >
          >
          > > real-ise these words. Chris and I are in the South of France,
          >
          > Stephane is
          >
          > >
          >
          > > off scouting in Portugal for his own place (though not before we had the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > chance to meet the other day) and we might even persuade Bart that
          >
          > such a
          >
          > >
          >
          > > community might be possible in Europe.
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > Is this a possibility, of course!. Is it likely? No. But there is a
          >
          > meeting
          >
          > >
          >
          > > at Panos' new farm in Greece later this year (September I think) when
          >
          > >
          >
          > > perhaps such a proposal might draw others interested too.
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > If there's any interest it might be possible to create another group to
          >
          > >
          >
          > > discuss the possibilities.
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > I'm very interested in meeting like minded people (and yes,
          >
          > Jean-Claude, we
          >
          > >
          >
          > > did wonder about joining your interesting venture on Salt Spring
          >
          > Island!) to
          >
          > >
          >
          > > explore this possibility.
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > Jamie
          >
          > >
          >
          > > Souscayrous
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > On 6/20/07, steph_willems <steph_willems@ yahoo.fr> wrote:
          >
          > >
          >
          > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > Dear Jamie and Bart,
          >
          > >
          >
          > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > My lack of experience in natural farming makes me wonder whether I
          >
          > should
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > comment at
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > all. However, this discussion lies at the heart of my interest in
          >
          > NF. For
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > many years, I have
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > been interested both in "ecology" and in "spirituality" . I was,
          >
          > however,
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > surprised to see that
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > so few spiritual leaders, and particularly buddhist ones, are truly
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > interested in ecology (so
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > as to put it as the heart of their teachings). Real integration
          >
          > between
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > ecology and
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > spirituality only seems to exist in so-called "primordial"
          >
          > traditions. For
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > them, it seems
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > actually to be one and the same.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > Maybe a simplistic way to explain this is that in the buddhist
          >
          > tradition
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > in particular, an
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > interest in ecology might hide an "attachment" to the world of
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > manifestation, to its survival
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > (as well as to our own survival), as if the "external world" was
          >
          > not as
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > important as the life
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > of the mind. But i think this very idea is still very dualistic.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > I realise that my interest in NF is that indeed nature itself is a
          >
          > path
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > (or part of the path) to
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > enlightenment. Nature is a teacher. For thousands of years, spiritual
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > traditions have taken
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > nature for granted, so it may well be that nature had always been
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > considered as a teacher,
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > alongside official "masters" and gurus, but that was not really
          >
          > mentioned
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > (except in Zen
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > haikus, perhaps). Now, if nature is destroyed, it cannot be a teacher
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > anymore. This is
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > where I see the link between the need to protect nature and
          >
          > spirituality.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > From a spiritual
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > point of view, the main reason for protecting nature may not be the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > survival of our
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > species, but the need for an environment that can help reach
          >
          > enlightenment
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > or self-
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > realisation.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > The link to nature indeed helps us to connect to a "more than human"
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > dimension of life, it
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > connects us to the mystery, it is a doorway to God, or whatever
          >
          > other word
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > our limited
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > human language creates. The biggest danger to spirituality is
          >
          > living in a
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > human-only
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > world, even if it is in a buddhist monastery. Wanting to protect
          >
          > nature is
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > therefore a sign
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > of "attachment" , but a healthy desire, just as looking for a
          >
          > spiritual
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > master (and
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > contributing to the conservation of spiritual traditions) is also
          >
          > healthy.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > The most difficult question perhaps is, however, whether nature
          >
          > can become
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > our only
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > teacher, as it may be the case for Fukuoka himself. Maybe this is not
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > possible for
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > everyone, maybe most people will also need to follow the path of a
          >
          > "human"
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > teacher. But
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > my point is that following the path of a spiritual master may also
          >
          > not be
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > sufficient if nature
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > all around us is destroyed.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > Now I completely agree that NF is not about any technique, like
          >
          > seedballs,
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > and that in our
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > efforts to "green deserts", we do not forget the ultimate goal,
          >
          > that is
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > our own liberation.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > This is related to "no-doing". For me, no-doing is not about doing
          >
          > nothing
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > in the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > "external" world anyway. No-doing is an inner attitude. One can be
          >
          > active
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > in the world, but
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > be still inside. It may simply be that NF techniques, by the very fact
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > that they "let nature
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > be", are more "compatible with" (without being "a recipe to") this
          >
          > inner
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > stillness that is the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > goal of spirituality.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > Stéphane (looking for a place to practice NF)
          >
          > >
          >
          > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com <fukuoka_farming%
          >
          > 40yahoogroups. com>,
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > "Jamie Nicol" <souscayrous@ ...> wrote:
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > Dear Bart, I would like to share JSENT's appreciation of your
          >
          > post, you
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > make
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > many insightful points.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > I'd like to use some of the things you wrote to suggest my own
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > understanding
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > regarding Fukuoka, clearly this is not to suggest right or wrong
          >
          > but to
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > further the discussion of Fukuoka's work on this list.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > You write: " I for one cannot imagine anyone practicing natural
          >
          > farming
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > without being (at least somewhat) awakened to the moment. And I can
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > hardly
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > imagine anyone awakening to the moment without spiritual
          >
          > guidance from a
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > true, living master, and without relentless practice. There are
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > exceptions,
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > and maybe Fukuoka is one of them, but that is of little
          >
          > importance. What
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > is
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > of importance is that Fukuoka, with all respect due to him, only
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > describes
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > the experience without proposing a path - by path I mean a daily
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > practice of
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > mindfulness "exercices". "
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > In reply to this I'd like to make a bold statement: NF is
          >
          > enlightenment!
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > Now let me go back a bit:- I agree that no one can practice NF
          >
          > who is
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > not
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > enlightened because NF is not about the growing of plants but the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > cultivation of human being. NF is not about agriculture
          >
          > (conventional,
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > organic or other) at all. NF is not about any 'thing', as
          >
          > Fukuoka makes
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > clear it is about no 'thing', which was his life changing
          >
          > experience at
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > age of 25. It is no practice at all, a methodless method. It is the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > philosophy of no-philosophy, it is 'do-nothing' .
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > Therefore, to practice NF is to already have experienced the felt
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > intensity
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > of no-thingness which releases us into a world where we
          >
          > recognise that
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > we
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > are already all that we can be and there is really no-thing that
          >
          > we have
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > to
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > do.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > Let me put it another way: to seek spiritual guidance or to
          >
          > begin the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > practice of NF is possible only to those who are already awakened.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > Whether
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > we practice a gurus method of mindfulness or the method of NF both
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > practices
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > are themselves enlightenment if we make them our own. A teacher
          >
          > is can
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > not
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > be a teacher to those who cannot hear and it is only the ability to
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > listen
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > (hearken), to open ourselves to what is (Tathata), that can be
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > considered
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > enlightenment - and we must already have some small part of this
          >
          > to even
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > begin the search for a master.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > Fukuoka does describe a path to follow and this path is NF
          >
          > itself. It is
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > everchanging, as Fukuoka's life attests. A simple life lived
          >
          > close to
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > soil might seem a small life, but within it the great way can be
          >
          > seen.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > There
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > is always the danger in monasteries and meditation that we only make
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > concrete our modern separation of the human and natural worlds
          >
          > rather
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > than
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > remembering that the earth is one.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > You write: " I consider that only walking on this path, one can cast
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > seedballs. I think that otherwise, one just imagines being casting
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > seedballs, while in reality one is using them to fill one's
          >
          > future (and
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > therefore imaginary) stomach, or other people's future (and
          >
          > therefore
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > imaginary) stomachs, or chasing after some other figment of
          >
          > imagination
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > (a
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > better planet, for instance). And while this seedball-casting is
          >
          > a means
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > for
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > obtaining a goal, however noble this goal may seem, I think it has
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > nothing
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > to do with not-doing or natural farming."
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > With this I could not agree more. NF is not seedballs, it can be
          >
          > reduced
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > to
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > no single technique, indeed, it can be reduced to no-technique
          >
          > at all!
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > NF is
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > nothing other than the understanding of what to do, or perhaps more
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > importantly in our busy culture, what not to do. There is
          >
          > no-thing that
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > must
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > be done, including seedballing. All efforts after finding a way
          >
          > to feed
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > the
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > world, revegetate deserts etc, however noble, as you say, will
          >
          > always
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > lose
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > the now which is the only moment in which we can realise NF.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > The grass and the trees (things) may be God as Fukuoka says, but
          >
          > we must
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > not
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > forget that beyond the grass and the trees there is no-thing of
          >
          > which we
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > can
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > say nothing.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > Jamie
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > Souscayrous
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > On 6/15/07, JSENT <wegrow4@ > wrote:
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > > Thanks Bart, for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate them.
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          > >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > >
          >
          > > <!--
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