The Buddha and the Earth Goddess, Luang Prabang, Laos.
After sitting for seven days under a Bodhi tree, some 2500 years ago, The Buddha was challenged by “Maras”, nightmarish demons questioning the authenticity of his realization. In response to the Mara’s attack the Buddha touched the earth asking for witness to his enlightenment.
In the mythology of Southeast Asia, when the Buddha touched the ground, the earth goddess rose up and wrung an ocean of water from her hair. The earth shook and the demons vanished.
He reconciled the demons of self doubt, perhaps his version of the inner critic. He was wrestling with his capacity to take what he had learned and communicate it effectively in the world. In his meditation, the Buddha discovered a path to relieve suffering in the world.
When we humbly touch the earth as our witness, we touch into the truth of our own being and discover confidence. We ground in the groundlessness of an ever shifting reality. We wring ourselves of illusion and allow the demons of our imagination to dissolve in the ground of awareness.
The earth goddess represents the “ground” of our experience in the here and now. She symbolizes the feminine principles of relationship, the cycles of life and humility. Humus is the root of the word humus, the fertile decaying material of the soil, not unlike the mud from which a lotus grows.
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