the foot feels the foot when it feels the ground

I see this in a book. I cannot understand exactly what it means. what is the deep meaning of this Buddha's quotes.

  • Its sounds like walking meditation to me. Jun 30, 2018 at 18:40
  • mokakda potha..man nan kalin ahala na Jun 30, 2018 at 23:59
  • Yep, do walking meditation and you'll know.
    – user13579
    Sep 1, 2018 at 18:04

2 Answers 2


Although the quote is fake, the idea behind it is real. As @Friedrick Nietzsche correctly pointed out, it refers to the reality of co-arising. Here is an explanation by Nalin Swaris in his "The Buddha's way to Human Liberation":

A verse in the Samyukta Nikaya draws attention to this primacy of cotouching, which escapes the average person's awareness:

Who touches not is not touched. Touching he is touched (K.S.I.19).

The seemingly enigmatic Zen koan, "What is the sound of one clapping hand?" statement bears on this necessity of co-touching. There is no arising of any type of sensation without co-touching. The feeling and the felt are conditioned-conditioning factors. This is expressed in a terse formulation phassa-phuttha -“touched by touch” (Thag vs.783). The ‘toucher’ is not an autonomous subject touching a passive object - ‘out there,’ or a transcendental ‘idea’ in the head. The ‘toucher’ is touched in the very act of touching. This emphasis on mutual touching is of utmost importance.


A form 'as such' does not pre-exist the act of perception; it arises when there is contact, feeling and perception. The proposition that subjects and objects exist prior to the act of perception is a falsification of the factual situation. Without the friction produced by counter-flows ‘nothing’ could be sensed - through friction a form is felt and perceived - rūpasaññā. Mutual contact is the genetic moment of consciousness. Thus the belief that consciousness and thoughts exist before contact with an appropriate stimulus of the senses is fallacious.


The development of ego consciousness coincides with a sensation of difference, or of the otherness of the other. The attention is fixed on the sense of difference evoked by touching and is conceptualized as a difference between two ‘things’ - the Self and an 'other.' The growing child becomes ignorant (ignore-ance) of the touch which unites and splits experience up into differences of 'this' and 'that' and 'yours' and 'mine.' It forgets that the sense of 'I' and 'Not-I' is a co-arising experience. It falls into the delusion that these perceived differences are substantial differences between separate ‘things’ which existed before they interacted with each other. Consciousness, which initially arises through contact between a sense organ and its connatural stimuli begins to imagine it is an unconditioned subject of thought.


The growing child begins to differentiate between different sense impressions registering them as pleasant and unpleasant. Contacts which do not impinge consciousness as pleasant and unpleasant are ignored as the child oscillates between the pleasant and the unpleasant. As result, it begins to live without mindfulness as to the body which registers these multiple sensations, that is to say, mindless of the frictional co-touching - patigaha samphasso - which conditions feeling and engenders consciousness. The self fixes its attention on the source of the pleasant, delights in them and clings to them as if they are external things-in-themselves. The notion of a self as the subject of these feelings co-arises with the notion of other-others as objects of pleasure or pain. The infant’s attraction to the pleasant and repulsion from the painful becomes attachment to the pleasant and antipathy for the unpleasant. The child delights in the pleasant and clings to it. Clinging gives rise to becoming, the process of becoming conditions the birthing and rebirthing of the clinger as well as the objects it clings to. This fixation on the self and the other, as the Buddha puts it, limits the mind; the range of consciousness is circumscribed. Its imaginations about reality are conditioned by a mind that is limited to inputs registered in terms of pleasant/unpleasant. A desire arises to rebirth the pleasant which is experienced as the very condition or foothold of its sense of self as the subject of experience and knowledge. The child is no longer aware that subject and the object of craving are mutually conditioned-conditioning relationships.


[Buddha] is describing a conditioned-conditioning process that culminates in consciousness of a separate self existing independent of conditions. Initial instinctive, reflexive physical reactions of attraction and repulsion becomes transformed into conditioned psychic reactions of lust and hatred and take on a moral character. The illusion of duality originates with contact and feeling. As the infant begins to differentiate itself from ‘others,’ - initially the (m)other who suckles it. It becomes ignorant that consciousness of the ‘I’ and the ‘other’ co-arose through touch and feeling. The ‘I’ and the ‘other’, the ‘this’ and ‘that’ take on the appearance of separate forms which it learns to name.

  • According to this it was coined/intended as an explanation of "Naturalness" in Zen.
    – ChrisW
    Jun 30, 2018 at 19:52
  • 2
    Yes, here's the anecdote: "An instance of this came out when Buddha asked the monks to step on the ground and tell him what they felt. The monks described the earth, the gravel etc. and were surprised when the Buddha exclaimed: 'What! Did you not feel the foot?' Carrying the system further we realize that in all experience we should be able to realize our essential self-nature not as an object among objects, nor as a subject among objects, but just as it is." - The Dictionary of Zen by Ernest Wood (emphasis mine).
    – Andriy Volkov
    Jun 30, 2018 at 21:31
  • Wow, awesome reference!
    – user13375
    Aug 30, 2018 at 10:55

It is a fake Buddha quote. Check it here. He never said that.

But still, if you want to interpret it, this profound wisdom might suggest that, "only an uninstructed human will not understand dependent origination".

Only an uninstructed human will need ground to know the truth that she has a feet. Doesnt sound buddhist to me at all.


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