“One grass, one word covers the whole world.”
Vanja Palmers Roshi, of Switzerland and beyond, sent me those words last week.
Now I send them to you.
As I see it this little phrase means that wherever you are, this is it. And somehow this is enough. You’ve heard this teaching? The fish doesn’t swim around saying, where is the water? Could this be a kind of inclusivism where I am saying others’ beliefs are included in my great one? As I see it, the simple quote doesn’t own anyone. You know how the snow covers everything on it’s way down and the things take the shape of themselves but they are all covered in snow.
This weekend the word in any language : women.
“Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not be suspicious of the true dragon.” Dogen says.*
Speaking of groping…
Women in hand- knit hats, everywhere. Pink hats with ears…It came to me slowly that the theme was PUSSY HATS! Ha! Ha! Take it back with humor. That all these people had a kind and subtle humor! The first cheer went up in a wave and our hearts flocked; we turned to each other, realizing the scope of the march. Not only here, in Denver, but actually everywhere. A girls’ sign said, “kitty power.” Chants wave through the crowd. The walk, slow and bold, buildings skyrocket, cover the sun. Then we turn a corner and the street beams.
One grass, one word covers the whole world.
Sangha is us—
In a close- knit way Sangha is our group of people who practice exactly the form I am practicing. The larger Sangha holds our smaller one. And goes bigger and bigger, includes all beings for no time and no place. Then Sangha zips small, like the one grass … If I am practicing and we are breathing the same ringtones then I could say you are practicing too. Why would it stop there? The Sangha goes as far as the imagination can throw it.
Joanna got me a seat on the eco bus, with people I have known in my deeps. They have led me before, and sat down beside me, in dance and marriage and funerals.
Climbing down bus steps onto the street I had no idea where I was in the sea. Denver felt like India. I didn’t actually arrive here with some one. I crouched for the picture, felt out whom I would cling to, and then we took over the men’s room:
Sorry guys, you’ll have to wait your turn.
Hey, it’s your day.
That’s why we march.
That’s where I bumped into Liz, on the sofa outside the bathrooms,
and Laura Ann and Emily.
I said bye to the deeps and changed course to join this small group, art tribe.
Laura Ann had a special phone so she could call without worrying the cell towers. (I guess then everyone who lived in Denver couldn’t call either.?). “This is what democracy looks like…” “my body, my choice…” Then the men: Her body her choice!” This march is for all people, all beings. Then it would become quiet and we talked about our days and pointed to people in the buildings, in the window. We could see this guy, in his window, in his tan building, fourth floor up, in tan pajamas, behind a tan window. Looking, brushing his teeth. We pointed to things, in the thin strip of sky between buildings. Where they were. What they were. The girls chanted fast and pitched.
Laura Ann, on the phone, directed Kate who was way far away in another crowd. We all tried to jump up at once so she could see us. That might work in a hallway but this was a deluge. String of signs led her to us. “Can you see the pillars, Can you see the sign that says, Pussy grabs back, scorpions for choice, can you see the build bridges not walls.” …(Emily was like, “Can you see a pink hat. Can you see another woman?”) And we started to move and we stretched out our arms not to lose her. And people around us helped find Kate. And then there she was.
One of us worked in a city building so we went for the bathroom. The guard gave us the drill, If you work for the city you may come inside here to work, and that was that. The guard was kind of funny too, like the masses brightened everyone up. Sangha. No one knew it would be 100 thousand. Then they were saying 200 hundred thousand. One woman just walked around informing us, 200 thousand. Repeat. Another walked around saying there are thousands in front of you.
When it was over we went to the hotel lobby. We were led down escalators to the bathrooms and we sat on the floor with our almonds and figs and thermos tea.
Walking, standing, sitting, and lying down.
One grass, one word covers the whole world.