Why did the Buddha touch the Earth following his enlightenment experience? When I was speaking to David Loy a few weeks ago he reminded me that the Buddha touched the Earth in response to Mara’s question, “Who confirms your awakening?”
Who confirms our awakening, I wondered. I remembered my Acharya ceremony a couple of years ago, when my own teacher confirmed me as a teacher. I remembered my ordination when he confirmed my faith, I remember the refuge ceremonies I have done – confirming people into the family of Buddhism.
Our teachers and preceptors confirm our awakening. In the act of touching the Earth, the Buddha recognises the Earth as a teacher.
What a powerful moment.
Those who follow his teachings trace our traditions disciple, to teacher, to disciple, right back to the Buddha. If the Buddha made homage to the Earth as teacher, all of us Buddhists are in traditions that recognise the Earth as a teacher.