The Earth Witness (Victory Over Mara)

I’ve always been very moved by the story of how, when the Buddha was sitting under the bodhi tree, he was assailed by the forces of Mara, delusion or self-doubt; and in response, he simply reached out and touched the earth. Then the earth goddess rose up, calling forth the waves of understanding and washing away the forces of delusion. Deeply unsure of himself, uncertain whether he was doing the right thing, whether he was on the right path, unsure even of what was real or unreal, the Buddha reached out and touched the earth, and instantly found his doubts dispelled, replaced by an unshakable certainty and joy. We too can touch the earth, at any time, just by opening ourselves to the boundless world: to the sound of the chickadees, the grain of the wood deck, the scent of the morning air, and also to everything else, including the many complexities of our lives. To be completely open is to be completely connected, and when we live like this we find our doubts are simply insignificant in the face of the grandeur of existence. Just touch the earth.

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