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Masanobu Fukuoka diet? Vegan? Vegetarian?

 
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Hi there,

I am researching the topic, but found nothing really tangible. I found out that Masanobu Fukuoka applied his "origins" (e.g. Buddhism) to his life work.
And I may be mistaken, but to me Buddhists are vegans.
But nothing really clear like "Masanobu Fukuoka did not eat animals" or "Masanobu Fukuoka did not eat animals nor dairy products"
I did read, though, in another topic, that the students were mainly vegetarians, and that cows were forbidden to be killed and that dairy products were not really available (or even "a thing") back then.

So, what is it then? Is there a reliable information on the topic, about Masanobu Fukuoka's diet (and/or Bill Mollison and David Holmgren)?
I am looking for a solid proof (or testimony) that Masanobu Fukuoka was vegetarian (maybe he was eating eggs?) or vegan (or even if he was not, actually)

Thank you kindly

Best,
 
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Hi Ren,

I highly recommend you reading his book, not only to find out about his diet :) but the entire philosophy.
My copy is a rather poor translation to Polish, and not from the original text I believe, but still well worth the read.

I think Fukuoka's philosophy is beyond such categories like vegetarianism or veganism. I don't recall the details about his method or Buddhist rules right now; but by the end of his book, he quotes the Heart Sutra:

"Buddha said - Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Matter and Spirit are one, but everything is emptiness. A human being is not alive, nor is dead. Isn't born and doesn't die, is beyond aging and illness, beyond development and fall."

That is my translation of course. There is a lot more inspiration from the Heart Sutra out there!
 
Ren Lid
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Thank you Flora

However, I don't own his book (yet).

Would you mind enlightening me about his diet? Whether he ate animals or eggs or insects or something?

Thank you kindly

Best,
 
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"Crops which have evolved over thousands and tens of thousands of years by dwelling together with human beings are not products born entirely from the discriminating knowledge of the farmer, and can be thought of as naturally occurring foods. But the instantly altered varieties which have not evolved under natural circumstances, but rather have been developed by an agricultural science which has drawn far away from nature, as well as mass-produced fish, shellfish, and domestic animals, fall outside that category." page 127 of his book 'The One Straw Revolution'.

I don't see in this particular book, the only one I'm familiar with, him expressly criticizing the eating of animals. But rather the unnatural manipulation of any food, causing people to be out of balance with nature, and this will always lead away from health, which he touches on lots of times. I think it looks like he saw the eating of animals as perhaps being natural, but not in the mass produced agribusiness way we started to do, getting away from just looking for what our body tells us it wants, and can obtain.

He stresses 'not working', not encouraging laziness but being more natural rather than driven for monetary success and 'hard work' to 'make' nature fit some framework that serves you. Working within the framework that already exists.

A lot of Buddhists are lacto-vegetarian, but I think it's something like 90% of the Asian population that are lactose intolerant, and it was never a big part of Japanese life (til modern times). Considering how violent and unnatural the dairy industry has become, you see more Buddhists and Hindus who used to use ghee and milk going vegan due to this. IMO one could obtain ethical dairy if they do it themselves, but it's harder to do going to a major grocery store and buying mass produced goods (almost impossible). It's what prompts some of the vegans to take the 'abolitionist' approach to diet, partaking in nothing that could potentially give profit to those industries. I agree with this to a point, but if a personal homestead or smaller farm can ethically give you animal foods that you think you need or that you want, I don't see this in the same light as large producers who are committing atrocities. Even hunting/small scale homestead meat production is different than confining, abusing, and killing for meat en masse in farrowing sheds and windowless barns, too. I think there are clear abuses and then the 'spectrum' of what we think is natural or right starts to become a little different from there for different people/cultures/individuals based on perception of what is natural and what we need. Are we obligate carnivores? Maybe. But which meat would we be likely to kill out there on our own if so? IMO fish and similar, would be the easiest thing for a human to get. We could get eggs, but rarely. That brings in the other question, since we developed farms that gave rise to the ability to house and keep animals and have an abundance of food regularly in exchange for caring for them. IMO if that is how it's done it's not such a problem. It's not a part of the way back machine as far as 'what is natural' is concerned though, but maybe everything doesn't have to be to be healthy. When greed and unnatural practices come into play, there's the problem, IMO, because then you view the animal not as something sentient, but a number, a statistic in your business plan. Same thing happens in businesses that only deal with people, and view them that way.

Fukoka lived to be 95 so he definitely was on to something. He had many books. 'Sowing Seeds in the Desert' and 'The Road Back to Nature' look like good reads. Not sure if they'd have the info you are looking for re specifically veganism/vegetarianism. As for Buddhists though, some will not eat meat and some will eat meat so long as it was not slaughtered for them. They do intermittent fasting and do not consume alcohol either. Some will keep away from certain spices, same as Hindus, such as too much garlic or turmeric. They use those medicinally but don't believe it's healthy to load your dishes with them. I'd venture to say that many, if not most, Japanese Buddhists have been vegan, but used to simply call it vegetarian, since in that region milk wasn't much of a 'thing' in their natural diet and the term wasn't used widely either.

 
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there is a post in this very interesting thread by someone who went there and what they ate. https://permies.com/t/17865/Fukuoka-diet-philosophy-wild-food
Fukuoka lived during a time of extreme scarcity in Japan (pre and post war), when very few people had any access to meat, and cattle were not common at all, dairy products almost unheard of. Cattle slaughter and leather work was only relegated to a lower caste (burakumin)-- who bear stigma even today, along with their descendants. Regardless of religion, the cultural experience had a lot to bear on diet.
 
Flora Eerschay
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Ren Lid wrote:
Would you mind enlightening me about his diet? Whether he ate animals or eggs or insects or something?



I think he was a flexitarian. There were "free range" chickens in his rice fields, if I remember correctly, but I'm not sure if people ate only the eggs or also the chickens.

Also, I remember reading somewhere that Buddhists couldn't refuse food that was offered to them as a gift, so if it was meat, they would eat it. I guess it also depends on specific Buddhist tradition, of which there are many.

Permaculture is like a domesticated version of hunters-gatherers, so Bill Mollison and David Holmgren would be omnivores/flexitarians too (to answer your question from the first post).
 
Ren Lid
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Thank you all for your kind replies!

@Emily, I am actually not vegan. I do not mind eating eggs (for example) when they imply NO butchery or mistreatment of any sort. There are some brands who sell such eggs (at least in France, where I used to live, I don't know about other countries ; the brands were "poule house" and "poule d'or", to name a few). I also do not mind a win-win cohabitation with animals, as long as they are treated (very) well. But, I confess, even though I am not vegan, 99% of my food is still plant-based.

Thank you for the enlightenment about buddhists, it is much appreciated! I indeed saw Korean movies (yeah because I love them so much!!) where buddhists were vegan. But I never lived as a buddhist myself, so I was not sure if that was true.

From what you say, Fukuoka seemed to be flexitarian: he seemed to accept to eat meat, but did not organize everything around it... Did I understand well?

@Tereza thank you, that is precisely the other thread I was talking about in my first post. It was not clearly stated there whether Fukuoka was vegetarian / vegan / flexitarian / other. There were other information, interesting information, but not this specific one. From what I did read, and this concurs with what Emily said, Fukuoka seemed to be flexitarian, and eat meat/fish only when it happened "on its own" (or something). The fact that "more than half the students were vegetarians" unfortunately does not imply that Fukuoka ever was...

@Flora thank you for this concise but efficient summary. Indeed everyone seems to think he was flexitarian, even though his students were mostly vegetarians and his philosophy was imbued with buddhism (which means no meat if I'm not mistaken -- except in the scenario that you described). Thank you also for telling me the diet of Mollison and Holmgren.

If some of you are wondering why I am asking about their diet, it's because an anti-vegan youtuber in my country stated (vigorously) that permaculture could never be vegan, and even though I am not vegan myself (as stated earlier) I began researching it because the guy was too belligerent and dishonest (I will probably look more deeply into it though, because now I have a garden, and I would love to grow my own food! and the permaculture principles -- with a vegan touch -- seem very nice )

I found examples of successful vegan permaculture farms, and I wanted to look into the roots of permaculture as well

Thank you again for your kind replies!

Best,
 
Flora Eerschay
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Ren Lid wrote:From what you say, Fukuoka seemed to be flexitarian: he seemed to accept to eat meat, but did not organize everything around it... Did I understand well?



You're right, he did not organize everything around eating (or not eating) meat.
Cool that you have your own garden. You can start growing something edible right away, or let it be for a year and just observe it (Buddhists would appreciate!), while reading the books by Mollison, Holmgren, Fukuoka and others. I would also recommend "The Vegetarian Myth" by Lierre Keith. She's omnivore but she used to be vegan for a long time.
 
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Masanobu Fukuoka wrote about raising ducks and chickens, particularly their value for fertilization and control of crop eating organisms. I would be very surprised if eggs and meat were not harvested. He also wrote about diverse sea animal products as part of a natural and healthy diet. It seems to me that the living conditions were of paramount importance to him, plants and animals alike. All living things consume other living things, even plants consume protozoa and other microbes, and this is simply an inevitable part of the living cycle. He was very adept at figuring out how to work within this cycle.
 
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