Nature Farming

Nature Farming in France
The teachings of Meishu-Sama and Nature Farming

A central aim of Meishu-Sama's philosophy can be summarized by what he called the "creation of a true civilization" in which all the world's people would participate. On a more abstract and philosophical level, Meishu-Sama's vision is based on two cosmological principles: (a) the spiritual realm predominates over the physical, and (b) the spiritual and physical realms are inherently indivisible. Meishu-Sama intended that his philosophy should be more than mere rhetoric, and, consequently, he aimed to implement it through specific means.

Above all, Meishu-Sama believed that human health, the protection of all life on the planet, and the integrity of the natural world are the roots of a true civilization. In addition, balancing the duality of materialism and spirituality is a cornerstone of Meishu-Sama's thought. Once this dualism has been brought into harmony, a "world of beauty," as Meishu-Sama referred to it, would result. In order to bring about true civilization, Meishu-Sama advocated, as well as personally implemented, a variety of practices. He accorded particular importance to Nature Farming.

The rise of materialism occurred rapidly in the West under the philosophical assumption that nature exists for humans to dominate--an outgrowth of Cartesian thought, which conceives of a dualism between human beings and nature. The heirs of this tradition have not only equated materialism with "progress," but have also believed that humankind can achieve continuous and unlimited material development by using scientific means to exploit nature. These notions have helped to create a world in which harmony with nature has been ignored and the environmental conditions necessary to sustain the ecosystem, and all forms of life within it, have been given short shrift.

These attitudes have influenced the sphere of agriculture as well. From time immemorial, cultivated crops have been relying on the natural benefits of sunlight, water, and the nutrients in the soil. But with the appearance of technologies capable of increasing crop yields, societies adopted agricultural practices aimed at producing high yields. As a result of this shift, conventional agriculture requires enormous inputs of petroleum-based energy and the use of large volumes of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Agriculture practiced in this way depletes the soil and contaminates water resources, thereby severely damaging the natural environment and threatening human health and all forms of life. This kind of agriculture has come to dominate, while little attention has been paid to the havoc that has followed.

Meishu-Sama, in line with his aim of creating a true civilization, issued a stern warning: if human beings continued to use modern agricultural methods there would not only be a decline in agricultural productivity--reversing whatever productivity gains had been achieved--but human life itself would eventually be destroyed. As an alternative to imminent crisis, Meishu-Sama strongly advocated using age-old agriculture practices, which had been carried out in accordance with a holistic view of nature. These practices protect the natural environment, sustain human health and security, and contribute to harmony between the human and non-human worlds.

Nature Farming is derived from Meishu-Sama's philosophy. From the perspective of the predominance of the spiritual over the physical, occurrences in the physical realm are the result of spiritual causes. The belief that the spiritual and physical realms are indivisible rests on the axiom that the universe is composed of three primary elements: fire, water, and earth. These elements correspond to spirit, air, and matter, which are elicited by the Sun, Moon, and Earth, respectively.
When these elements fuse, they produce the primordial energy that animates all forms of life. In specific terms, these elements occur as infinitesimally small particles that combine harmoniously to create life. According to this view, all life forms exist in the cosmos, but do not physically manifest until spirit animates them. In short, life appears when the spiritual and physical realms join through the fusion of these three primary elements. Meishu-Sama's Nature Farming rests on this understanding of how life is generated.
The theory of Nature Farming, as Meishu-Sama expounded it, rests on a belief in the universal life-giving powers that the elements of fire, water, and earth confer on the soil. According to Meishu-Sama, the planet Earth, which sustains our existence, is itself a living being. The planet's soil, created over a span of eons, has acquired life-sustaining properties, in accordance with the principle of the indivisibility of the spiritual and the physical realms, which in turn provide the life-force that enables plants to grow. To utilize the inherent power of the soil is the underlying principle of Nature Farming.

In this regard, the essence of a particular crop is not a collection of material substances, but the life-giving spiritual energy that the crop has received from the soil. Similarly, it is this energy that makes human beings healthy and enhances their vitality.

Meishu-Sama rejected agricultural practices that ignored these principles. As a result, Nature Farming abandons the use of all chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and uses neither human nor unprocessed animal feces. Nature Farming uses organic matter only when doing so enhances the vitality of the soil and facilitates its inherent power.

Because Nature Farming does not rely on commercial fertilizers, it was initially called "fertilizer-free cultivation." The name was later changed to "Nature Farming," in order to make clear that this approach is based on a comprehensive theory of agriculture and an underlying philosophy that views the life-sustaining powers of the soil as integral to the workings of the universe.