Once it happened that a layman was following Buddha on his footsteps. To the layman, the foot steps of the Buddha looked unusual. They were not looking like those of ordinary human beings. There were special marks in the foot prints. He got curious and wanted to find out who this person really was.
Knowing this Buddha sat under a tree and waited for the layman to join him.
The layman asked the Buddha, “Your foot prints look strange. Are you a Deva (heavenly being)?”.
Buddha replied, “No, I am not a Deva”.
The layman continued, “If not a Deva, are you an Asura? (demon)”.
To which Buddha replied, “No, I am not an Asura either”.
The layman then asked, “If not a Deva or an Asura, are you a Ghost?”.
Buddha said, “No, I am not a ghost”.
The layman got frustrated and asked again, “Does that mean you are a human being?”.
Buddha smiled and said, “I’m not a human being either”.
Now the layman is dumb founded. He didn’t want to go down this path further. Resigning himself from this conversation, he asked the Buddha, “Then just tell me who you are”.
The Buddha said, “I’m the awakened one from the dream of existence”.