George Ohsawa was a pioneer far ahead of his time. He created models for understanding, interpreting, and living all aspects of life. Ohsawa’s expressions may be awkward-sounding today, such as “The Order of the Universe”. Out of respect, we have decided to keep his terms, with modern interpretations. His teachings eventually lead to the creation and development of the natural food movement, the ecology movement, and the ideas and practices that enable us create our own health.
George Ohsawa‘s ’Order of the Universe’
The most important of his teachings was what he referred to as “The Order of the Universe.” The Order of the Universe clearly demonstrates why food is so important, and how it connects us to Nature and all of life. In essence, the Universe condenses itself into food quite uniquely in each environment. Through eating that food, we connect not only with the food, but the environment, and in turn, with Nature.
The practical applications of his work were based on the Oriental concept of Shindo Fuji— Body and Earth are not two. It can also be re-interpreted as: We are one with, a reflection of, inseparable from Nature, the environment and each other.
George Ohsawa encouraged relying on indigenous, local, and seasonal foods. Indigenous foods can be considered those that have grown and adapted in a certain climatic region over the last 10-12,000 years. Eating indigenous, local, and seasonal foods creates a more clear and strong connection to our immediate environment, in the same way that eating together creates a stronger and healthier connection among family members.
The Unique Principle
George Ohsawa outlined what he called The Unique Principle, which is composed of seven principles and twelve laws of change of the infinite universe. The Unique Principle explains the workings and relationships between yin and yang, and can be applied to create balance, harmony, and change in all aspects of life. This principle has the ability to endlessly adapt and bring maximum benefit to any circumstance or topic to which it is applied be it a vegan diet, sustainable farming, or physical training.
Ohsawa changed the metaphysical application of yin and yang to a physical application. I think it was one of his most brilliant insights because the physical interpretation of yin and yang was immediately practically applied to all aspects of life, especially Western science and medicine. The physical classification of yin and yang was the guide for the many dramatic recoveries that macrobiotics is so well known for.
The Seven Conditions
Ohsawa also developed a unique definition of health based on 7 conditions showing the relationship between physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. He defined spiritual health as the endless appreciation for all of life, and of living our lives to their fullest extents in accordance with what is most meaningful to us.
George Ohsawa taught that healthy, peaceful people would naturally embody and create healthy and peaceful families, society and world. Even though many of these terms may be awkward-sounding, the ideas and practical applications are foundational for creating personal, social, and environmental health.
George Ohsawa’s Zen Macrobiotics
George Ohsawa is well known for developing the practice and appreciation of food, connecting diet to physical and spiritual health – this is called Zen Macrobiotics. We’ve evolved his practice, further developing and modifying principles with The Strengthening Health Institute’s mission and goal in mind. You may read more about this in our featured blog post or contact us for questions about Zen Macrobiotics and the teachings of George Ohsawa.