"We don’t call Autumn the end of Summer, we don’t call Summer the beginning of Autumn (Genjo Koan)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Walking Memory, dancing against oblivion.

March 22-2002

(wrote-walked this in the past, my heart is the same today...


Friday 22 march. In front of the Central Post Office building at Cordoba City. 6 pm. March for the Memory, for the 30.000 disappeared, to repudiate the most terrorist, bloody and genocidal military dictatorship that began 26 years ago supported by the usa. March in Cordoba, two days before the actual date, the sadly unforgettable 24. Demonstration called by a red rainbow of organizations and groups, of human rights, left wing ones, anarchists, workers organizations, art groups, and of course, the Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo and the daughters and sons of the disappeared ones. But also and most important, called and walked by the disappeared sisters and brothers themselves.

Ghosts? Not at all! presence, powerful inspiring and dancing presence. And their daughters and sons too, the ones who died with their parents in the concentration camps and under torture, and the ones who were (together with their identity) appropriated by the military and the police, the ones that were able to recover their identity, and the ones that still are in doubt, knowingly or not. The ones that had to go to foreign lands, and the ones that had to stay in this land as a foreign one.

All the us which from the cradle of Memory walk the Identity that roots and en-brothers hearts and steps, and dances for a new world.

March for the Memory. This time not another one, this time under the call of: "Argentina is Moving, Towards a New Nation, march for Democracy, Justice and Work".

This time to reaffirm and recreate the "Argentinazo" of december 20.

This time not another one, this time gathering many different groups, groups and people that may have not participated before, like the Neighborhood Popular Assemblies, and groups, and entire families and common people that, in this very pregnant and vibrant moment and process of this Nation, have come to understand and embody finally that a people with Memory is a rebel people, and only a rebel people can reach the horizon of dignity for all, the many colors.

6 PM, waiting for the readiness of time that would make the march begin to walk, surrounded by the smoke coming from my warm pipe and by memories of fires and sparks, i look around searching for my partner, and i remember ......

I remember. (which in my tongue is "recordar", to pass again through the heart). The year of 1968, my first march, against another military dictatorship, and still marching, still saying no, and still the same unjustice and ignorant arrogance of the Power. I am not the same though, and the march is not the same, now drums accompany us all, besides the flags and the songs. We are more "we" than ever, we are more "us" than ever, the horizon calls louder and clearer, and the dance is more diverse, rich and effective. Now is not just activism, it is the people, going out into the streets reclaiming them, dancing them, and owning them.

And i can hear the voice of the streets calling for the people too. And believe me, it is a charming call.

7 PM, main Post Office Building, the group has grown and gathered from all directions, the drums have been joined by other sister drums and the flags seem to greet each other helped by the wind. The wind from below. The wind of Memory. The wind of the active pain, the wind of dignity, fueled by the need and cry for true justice and true democracy. For all.

The march begins, and after a short visit under the black flag of the anarchist brothers and sisters, i cannot find my own flag and group, the multitude is blooming, i realize when i am able to join the "Theatre For Identity" group, and the Grandmothers, with whom we are marching.

"Be realistic, ask for the impossible" says one of the flags, and i remember that May of 1968.....and my own first march....

Tuned with the chords of those years and struggles, graffiti from those days does come to my mind: "the red girls, every day even more beautiful...". True indeed!! And i look at those Mothers and Grandmothers, and i see them young.

Young and beautiful. Some people say that the thing is to become old and wise but i strongly disagree.

The thing is to become Young and wise! and those Old Ladies that were transformed by the struggle and transformed the struggle itself, look absolutely young and beautiful to me. Young and beautifully wise.

And i look to my partner and i see the same in her, and i see the same in the boys and the girls, and in all the ones that have no age because the struggle has no age, and maybe some sister or some brother is seeing also that in me. And i think so, because i can feel it in my steps. That is to say in my heart and love, another way to say in the struggle.

As we march toward the chosen square, words and paint come out from the people against Mc Donald's, banks, multinational companies, the military, the church, accused of being an accomplice of the dictators, the fake human rights secretariat of the government, the federal police building.......

And we finally reached the square and the stage.

The "we" now has grown to 10.000 people. Latino rap and socially engaged muzik is coming from the speakers, and the act unfolds. Many people spoke, many organizations sent their voice and their word, and also and mainly, this time, the voice and the presence of the ones who died during the brutal repression of late december had also a dign place.

The father of the 13 years old kid that was murdered by the police with bullets in his back and neck, remembered his son and demanded with all of us justice and "never more, never again" to death and to unjustice.

And then the names, each single one of the names of the ones who died on the "Argentinazo" day were named and acclaimed by the present ones.

Did I say "the present ones" meaning just us? They were certainly present, as the 30.000 were, as each one of the 15.000 children that die every year in Argentina just because they are poor, this is to say, because of the Greed and the Ignorance and the Violence of the ones here and across the world who have no dign name.

And then the shout (from the Heart at the left) and the fist high in solidarity with the peoples in Latin America and the world who are fighting for Democracy, Justice and Freedom, and suffering and resisting the repression and murder of the Empire and its masks, lies and excuses for expanding death and greed as the mantle that tries to cover, utterly unsuccessfully, its fear and ignorance.

Then, muzik!! And the drums were still sounding, and the "we" was more "us" than ever.

It is late, 10.30 pm and i feel my feet are as tired as my heart is happy. A shared feeling i'm sure.

We walk backwards, after the act is over (for the moment...) searching for something to eat and drink with the sisters and the brothers. Hugging my partner, i feel the past is unpredictable, the future less cloudy.

As we talk and eat at the restaurant, we do not acknowledge that this march may have opened a door (as we ourselves were open by a door), a door that walked in Buenos Aires two days after ours did. A spark joining and joined by many sparks. Time and space, past and present, seem more than one feeding the heart with the sour bread of hope that is certainty itself.

"More Than Ever, Never More!" "Never Again!!"

Two days after Cordoba, the diversity of resistance, the diversity as resistance, marched and filled the famous and symbolic Plaza de Mayo, on the 24th of march, the infamous anniversary number 26th of the coming into power of the criminals (this word is too soft for it..) that unfolded a horizon of death, torture and misery that is still going on under a different face of the of the same obscure Power.

Resonating with all the marches and demonstrations that happened in the whole country, the net of resistances and proposals as tens of thousands of people, filled more than completely the square, and it was made very loud and clear that even though there is a tremendous crisis in the country, there is not any, and we really mean ANY, space for any authoritarian solution.

True Democracy, was the underground cry, because without it, there cannot be True Justice, and freedom and dignity can only bloom from there.

And this is the place of Identity as struggle and horizon. As Root, Heart and Struggle.

Like the owners of the streets. The ones that marched, and the ones that decided to support the march staying on the sidewalks. No one can know which one was the biggest multitude of both, and there is no need for that useless math’s exercise.

An Argentinean flag 150 meters long with the faces of four thousand disappeared people on her, in representation of the 30.000 ones, in black and white photos, was been carried by the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. Another flag was the Memory of the disappeared of japanese origin, another one of the Uruguayan people, advancing in accord with the rhythm of their drums.

Some media said there were 200.000 people, some said 100.000.....unimportant details after all when the one heart is presence.

This time there were no pots and pans beating, the cry of "More than Ever, Never More!" was the step herself as firm affirmation of the will for real change and the willingness to walk the necessary paths for a new, possible just world, a new, possible just Argentina.

Call this "hope" if you wish, i'll call her "certainty".

"All, absolutely all of them, all of them politicians, military, policemen, representatives of the Power should go down and away!" this mind and heart, the cry that was voiced at every single of the multiple and diverse pots and pans meetings and the picketers acts, was also being shouted and singed all along in this march.

Ten motorcycles with their riders, in representation of the courier bikers group that was so active in the rebellion for True Democracy, and left their blood during the brutal police repression of december the 20th, were marching opening the way for the Neighborhood Popular Assemblies' peoples.

And then, the ones carrying a giant pot with a huge slingshot inside were expressing the affinity and unity between the popular assembly people and the picketers.

And when the march reached the Square, the "Plaza", it was affirmed that today, as the product of politics of neoliberalism and the deepening of social exclusion, the universe of the victims has been expanded to almost the whole population of the Nation, while the visible faces of the authors of this crime and the ones that are extracting benefits of this situation and model, are enjoying in impunity.

An impunity that began with the amnesty to the genocides (under so-called democratic governments), and established the basis for the impunity of the promoters, direct authors, and accomplices of the economical extermination that we Argentineans (and the Third World peoples and species around the planet) are living today.

And one of the communiqués said that: "Something great and new is fluttering in this square of the People where every year we get together to ratify our memory and our struggle. Because after the upheaval throughout the whole country of thousands of families in hunger, in the late hours of the night of dec. 19, the pots and pans bloomed through cities and towns, and fires were lighten illuminating all corners, the picketers walked across almost all the cities and thousands of people did congregate at the squares answering thus reversely to the 'State of Siege' declared by the then president.

Thus, it was embodied, (it was 'made intimate with the body') that word that last year was shouted, sung and walked in this very square: "The People has not been defeated and today is here standing firm on her feet to shout this toward all the winds'."

True indeed! Something great and at the same time ordinary like the morning toasts is fluttering in this huge and beautiful country and people.

Truly the People have not been defeated, how could she be? And is walking the Memory that is light and smoke that helps us to seek and find, that makes bridges of us and our walking.

So that we and all and every being from all worlds and all times can walk from night to day, bringing the fertility of the night to the horizon and rainbow of the day where the dign "no" that comes from the tomorrow is a crystal, not a mirror. And thus, born to be walked through.

All this walking and waking as a labor of birth, difficult and beautiful, a revolution that can make revolution possible.

A new revolution. A new kind of revolution.

Outside the state parties, outside of the struggle for Power, that by nature corrupts and molds the ones who "take" it, in the old dark magnifying glass of fear and ignorance, transforming revolutionaries into authoritarian burocrats that forget the horizon and the bird of many colors.

The struggle, as the life-death dance in multiple and many fronts and backs and corners and ups and downs with several and varied and creative ways, with diverse and different modes of engagement, dances, steps and degrees of participations.

True Democracy, True Freedom and Genuine Justice will be the womb and the baby.

An inclusive, non-vanguardist, communitarian, humble and listening womb and baby.

To walk this is to walk primal dignity, to walk a change that makes real change possible, and revolution is an unpredictable and moody animal.

She jumps, pretends to be dead or soundly sleep, dances and pretends to fail, but she is never a heart beat away from the morning toasts, the walk to work, the lover's hug, and the daughters and sons eyes.

True heroes do make this revolution possible, and they look completely ordinary. As a square filled with 200.000 people celebrating the Memory and Dignity of the struggle and the loss.

Revolution is an unpredictable animal, i've seen . I've sniffed her, glimpsed her as i walked with the Grandmothers and the drums and the smoke of my pipe and the hands of my love.

She's on the waylay willing to steal fear and greed.

She's on ambush from an unpredictable corner willing to steal the lie of the defeat and despair that the Power tries to sell.

Being completely available to her, this animal red as blood and life, with the steps of the dign heart and the homely smell of the morning toasts, we can walk, for us and for all, for the children and the many species and mountains and clouds and dreams and hands reaching for the pillow in deep sleep, for the horizon and the ways, for the future that we can find turning inside out the past and living fully and completely this present, the pre-scent, as dignity that is nothing else than primal Memory that lives and dances.

Rebel dignity.

This i saw today, march 22, Cordoba, Argentina, walking against oblivion, against death, for the Memory and for life, for not dying the death of oblivion.

This i saw today, tonight, friday 22 march 2002.

The Power, here and elsewhere, will never erase the dream.

The Peoples will keep on dreaming, will keep on dancing, keep on hugging the horizon.

Against oblivion.

Beginning, continuing, completing, the dream.

30.000 reasons.

One heart.

Will keep walking.

See you next year, next revolution, next dream, next toast.

Of course, we do not need to wait....

Augusto Al Q'adi Alcalde

March 22-2002


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A blade of grass is actualized

A blade of grass is actualized

On the Shobogenzo: “All-inclusive study”

Augusto Alcalde (Roshi)

“All-inclusive study is just single-minded sitting, dropping away body and mind.

At the moment of going there, you go there; at the moment of coming here, you come here.

There is no gap.

Just in this way, the entire body studies all-inclusively the great road’s [Tao’s] entire body. Stepping over the head of Vairochana is Samadhi without conflict.

To attain this firmly is to step over the head of Vairochana.

The complete practice of all-inclusive study by leaping out is gourd leaping out from gourd.

For a long time the gourd’s head has been the practice place.

Its vital force is vines.

Gourd studies gourd all-inclusively. In this way a blade of grass is actualized.

This is all-inclusive study”.

Please sit comfortably, if you wish.

This chapter is the last one of Dogen’s essay called “All-inclusive study”, and points to very interesting qualities of our practice and realization.

All-inclusive study is just single-minded sitting, dropping away body and mind, says the first phrase. Yesterday we were talking about the three bodies of the Buddha, talking about Dharmakaya as the body of emptiness; Sambhogakaya as the body of fullness in which every single being, every single thing is complete in itself; and the Nirmanakaya, the body of uniqueness.

When Dogen is saying here all-inclusive study, that all-inclusive refers to the quality of completeness, totally including everything, “all-inclusive study”.

Thus here we are talking about Sambhogakaya practice, the quality of completeness and joy, the quality of nothing lacking at all.

He said that all-inclusive study is just single-minded sitting. “Single-minded sitting” we can wonder about the meaning of that phrase, but how many minds do we have?

Single-minded sitting: with just this mind, whatever the form that mind is having at this very moment. Sitting with that mind, in our very body, is just single-minded sitting.

All-inclusive study is just single-minded sitting, dropping away body and mind, said our text.

That is a very interesting phrase: “dropping away body and mind”.

But, as we said in the first Teisho of our Sesshin, quoting Keizan Zenji, there is no body or mind to be dropped, from the very beginning, as his poem was saying.

So here, dropping away body and mind is just dropping away limits, those concepts of limited body or limited mind encapsulating ourselves into this skin-bag, not paying attention to the living fact that Dogen is pointing to when he says the true body is the wholeness of all forms, all living beings existing right here now.

And true mind is the wholeness of space, sky, stones, clouds, everything.

So we drop away body and mind, we shed off body and mind, we drop away concepts of limited body and mind; and we enter into timeless life, timeless Heart, which is a possible translation of “Enmei Jikku”, the Sutra dedicated to Kanzeon, limitless life.

In that way, all-inclusive study is just single-minded sitting, dropping away body and mind.

All-inclusively open and intimately one with the “sparky” quality of life in each moment; all-inclusively open and one with the energy of change and transformation that abides everywhere, with the aliveness, constantly reborn life, of our own body and mind, our own practice, and the practice of the universe.

Our text continues, saying: At the moment of going there, you go there. At the moment of coming here, you come here. There is no gap.

Going there, we just go.

Coming here, we just come here.

Probably “going there” can refer, in our own context of practice, to when we go away from our Mu, our particular Koan we are working with at the moment, or we go away from renewing shikantaza.

Dogen is saying: when you go there, just go there, because, you already know, it can’t be helped anyway. We just let it go.

But when we come here, just come here, just coming home, moment by moment.

That is the practice in which we learn how to use distractions, how to return home, how to start the process of zazen and trust that very process in such a way that we don’t feel the need to control it.

If we go there, falling into distraction, into fantasy, we just go there; and we take the vow that when we really know that we have been going astray, we come back home.

Every time we go away. Every time we dive into the Koan.

We open completely our shikantaza, open to this very moment.

And once we have started zazen, just let it be.

Let us trust the Dharma.

Zazen teaches zazen, this is an old saying in Zen.

So we start the process and trust the process, no need to direct it in any particular direction or way.

Our brothers and sisters in Dignity say:

“Do we know where we are going? yes.

Do we know what awaits us? Yes.

Is it worth it? Yes.

Who can answer the previous three questions with a yes and remain still and do nothing without feeling that something deep inside is tearing apart?”

There is no division, no gap, says Dogen.

So we sit there, into this very no gap.

Not in the self, not in others, not in oneself, not in Mu, but just in the fact of no gap, no division, going beyond oneself, beyond the Koan, beyond shikantaza itself.

Just in this way, the entire body studies all-inclusively the Great Road’s [Tao’s] entire body, continues our text.

“The entire body of the great Tao” the great Way, the Great Life.

“Just in this way”, Dogen is saying then that those sparks, the energy and aliveness of the Great Tao’s body that is our very life, this very moment, our Sesshin right here, and everything that comes forth from this, are just that. And the form and function they assume are beyond names and evaluation at all.

And if we find our self putting names and evaluating, that very naming and that very evaluating is beyond naming and evaluation!!!

Just in this way, the entire body studies all-inclusively the entire body of the great Tao.

So this study, this practice, is like surfing with no body, no board, all-inclusively personalizing the Great Ocean’s Tao.

The text continues, saying: Stepping over the head of Vairochana is Samadhi without conflict. To attain this firmly is to step over the head of Vairochana.

We say in our meal sutras: “Vairochana, pure and clear Buddha”, and this is the Buddha of Emptiness, pure and clear emptiness herself.

But here Dogen is saying we should step over the head of Vairochana: walk through that emptiness, walk over that emptiness itself.

So stepping over this, the natural question is: “Who is stepping?”

There is no person, only that very stepping itself, only that Koan going beyond the Koan, only that shikantaza beyond shikantaza itself.

This, Dogen says, is Samadhi without conflict; and that’s a very interesting phrase: “Samadhi without conflict”.

So when we see the fact of everything being complete, nothing lacking, dancing in joy in the whole universe, that is the natural coming forth of Samadhi.

And there is no conflict there, because there is no struggle.

Thus we touch there Sambhogakaya practice, which is, as the practice of Zen, the practice of wonder.

And we can say fascination is another word for Samadhi, and wonder another words for Great Inquiring.

Samadhi without conflict: in the same essay, Dogen says elsewhere: flying high with no strings attached or like clouds shooting below your feet.

No conflict at all.

Without conflict, we abide in the midst of wonder and fascination, as the living fact that we have no skin and that in this permeability all beings throughout space and time live, play and practice with us, as ourselves.

The text continues, saying: The complete practice of all-inclusive study by leaping out is gourd leaping out from gourd.

So that very dropping away of body and mind, that shedding off, comes from the very body and mind-heart itself, and that dropping away of body and mind is happening in the midst of the same, the very same, old body and heart-mind.

So nothing is lost there at all. How can it be? Where will it go???

And from there, the body mind and heart that have been dropped away do come forth and liberate the many beings.

For a long time the gourd’s head has been the practice place, says our text. We know that, huh?

The head has been the practice place, we know that.

We are in the fourth day of the Sesshin, and we know that, our head being the place of the practice.

He said for a long time it has been like that, but its vital force is vines.

Here we are touching the reality that is shown with the metaphor of Indra’s Net, in which every being, every single thing, in all time and all space, is so interrelated with all the others that there are really no others.

This is what we can call “vines”: such a deep intimacy with every moment, every being, every thing, that really there are no others, there is no self.

Here we find its vital force is vines.

There is an old saying in Chinese Zen pointing to this interrelation of Indra’s Net, that says: “When Chang drinks, Li gets drunk”.

Chang is always drinking, and we are always drunk.

Our vital force is always coming.

The only thing we can do is really to be available to that fact, so that we can allow the blood of life to go through those living vines.

When Dogen says all-inclusively here, let us be clear that that means that includes all: when earth practices earth, our body heart and mind practice our body heart and mind, all-inclusively, just the practice of the great Bodhisattva, this wonderful, mysterious living being that pervades all time and all space.

Gourd studies gourd all-inclusively.

And then it says: In this way a blade of grass is actualized.

Gourd studies gourd inclusively. In this way a blade of grass is actualized.

It’s very interesting, the outcome of that practice: a blade of grass is actualized.

Nothing to do with the gourd itself.

Gourd studies gourd, and something happens that has apparently nothing to do with that, a blade of grass comes forth and is perfectly actualized.

This is the fact of the outcome of practice, totally beyond cause and effect.

So please, let us give space to the mystery, give way to the unexpected Tathagata: true intimate with the Koan, true intimate with shikantaza, completely available to the mystery.

I remember a phrase by my Aitken Roshi saying: “Our task is not to clear up the mystery; it is to make the mystery clear”.

True indeed! Make the mystery perfectly clear, shining forth, and sit there, as the very mystery itself.

At that point, Dogen says: flying high with no strings attached or like clouds shooting below your feet. This being so, the world of blossoming flowers arises.

The world of blossoming flowers arises; this is the most wonderful expression of the realization experience, as far as I can see.

The world of blossoming flowers arises.

We said the vast sky does not hinder the white clouds from flying.

Let us become completely intimate with the Koan, completely intimate with this unique moment of life.

Dropping away body and heart-mind, shedding them off, and not hinder the actualization of that blade of grass.

Is there any other way to liberate the many beings?

Walking Words, from my Latino Land says:

“The church says: the body is a sin

Science says: The body is a machine.

Advertizing says: the body is a business.

The body says: I am a fiesta!!!”

True indeed!

The shed off body-heart-mind dancing as the white clouds flying and dancing.

The world of blossoming flowers arise,

want to join the dance?

Augusto Alcalde