I have not been writing much lately, but the five words in the title of this post are haunting me. They demand to be shared and commented on.
Everything has already been accomplished.
The words come from the Six Vajra Verses, some of the earliest writings in the Dzogchen practice of Buddhism, which has become my spiritual home. The verses may go back as far as the first century in the Common Era. And they’re startling both in their truth and in their impossibility.
Let’s take the impossible part first. We modern homo sapiens tend to think that much more needs to be accomplished in our world. We haven’t ended wars, hunger, poverty, homelessness, bigotry, global climate change, disease and so on. We see those as huge problems, calling on us to work with governments, scientists and nongovernmental organizations to find the solutions, and yet we don’t seem to make any real progress.
But those five words words of wisdom — everything has already been accomplished — remind me that I know how to end wars. I know how to feed the hungry. I know how to end poverty. I know how to end homelessness. I know how to end bigotry and global climate change. I may not know how to end disease, but I know how to comfort the suffering. You know how to solve those problems, too: Live peacefully and generously. Problems solved.
Our modern culture seems to believe that knowledge is the key to the future, and we must achieve it. But in order for a future to be possible, we need wisdom — the wisdom we already have but fail to employ. The never-ending quest for more knowledge entangles us in anxiety. Do I know enough? Am I qualified? Who has the right answer? The anxiety drives us further and further from relaxing into the wisdom we already possess — the Buddha within.
Dzogchen literally means “great perfection” — the perfection that’s already at the core of each of us. We need not look anywhere else to find it.
When we classify problems as too big for any one individual, we are reinforcing a false dualism. The “other” is not solving them fast enough. So we write letters demanding more action, send money to our favorite charity, vote for the right leaders.
But everything has already been accomplished. That was true in the first century and it’s true now.
— Mel Pine (Urgyen Jigme)
Copyright 2016 © Mel Harkrader Pine