[permaculture] Fukuoka saying about knowledge.

Dieter Brand diebrand at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 2 14:57:09 EST 2012

This is a recurrent theme with Fukuoka.  I translated a few lines from his last work, the Iroha Revolutionary Verses, which he wrote in the years before he passed away and in which he said he summarized his life’s experience.

Iroha Revolutionary Verses
by Fukuoka Masanobu

First of all, throw it all away,
the handcuffs of time and the shackles of money.
Too much wasted time,
too many useless things.
Knowledge is not wisdom,
collecting knowledge, we destroy wisdom.

The fruit from the tree of wisdom is the wisdom of the snake,
idly we are led astray.

Pointless reasons and arguments, like the straw shoes of a horse,
changed daily, they are discarded after use.
The cherry flowers blossom, still too early to scatter,
only humans regret the futility of flowers.

No ears to listen and no speech, mountains, rivers, grasses and trees,
the hidden language knows the heavens, knows Earth.

Coming and going, the passing birds don’t stay in one place,
freely, only living.

Don’t look around with two eyes, 
the one eye of the mind is enough.

The desire to see, listen and know will be your ruin,
an ocean of wisdom that gets weak and dies.
We only live once,
with a one-way ticket, whither do you go? whither do you return?
Don’t hurry, don’t get excited,
leave it to nature, leave behind human knowledge and human action.

After much fussing I finally passed my 90eth year,
after that there is only letting go, and be the Buddha.

I have lived my destiny, the life and destiny of the planet,
this instant only, the death of a beggar, all by myself.

Destiny has run its course, separating God, nature and humans,
with a crash, the Earth is annihilated.

The crow craws and returns to its nest, 
are the withered leaves scattered? has the sparrow flown?
a sunny spot in winter.

The day comes to an end, the sun takes its leave, 
the trees loose their leaves, the sparrow’s nest for the night.

Apparently there are thousands of these verses which he kept rewriting all the time.  A collection was published in Japanese a couple of years ago under the title of Iroha Kakumei-ka which I have rendered as Iroha Revolutionary Verses.  The Iroha is the Japanese system of phonetic writing symbols; hence it could also be interpreted as the ABC of Revolution or the A to Z of Revolution.  Kakumei or Revolution obviously was something dear to him since the term can be found in the title of 3 of his 9 works, most notably in the first and the last.


--- On Thu, 3/1/12, Lawrence F. London, Jr. <venaurafarm at bellsouth.net> wrote:

> From: Lawrence F. London, Jr. <venaurafarm at bellsouth.net>
> Subject: [permaculture] Fukuoka saying about knowledge.
> To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Thursday, March 1, 2012, 4:18 PM
> <found on another list>
> Fukuoka san's comment in an interview where Fukuoka san,
> Bill Mollison 
> and Wes Jackson were present
> "The confusion started when humans ate the Fruit of
> Knowledge. Adam and 
> Eve were thrown away from the Garden of Eden. The only way
> to get back 
> is to throw away the knowledge! Just become foolish like a
> bird or baby."
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