Interpreting Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Buddha
Samantabhadra is known as Universal Worthy is a Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism associated with Buddhist practice and meditation. Samantabhadra is most commonly described as a bodhisattva himself, although some Vajrayana Buddhist traditions, namely the Nyingmapa, regard him as a primordial Buddha in indivisible Yab-yum union with his consort Samantabhadri.
Table of Contents
- 1 - The Life of Samantabadra Buddha
- 2 - Iconography of Samantabhadra Buddha
- 3 - Depicting Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Buddha thangka
- 4 - 10 Vows of Samantabhadra Buddha
- 5 - Esoteric traditions of Samantabhadra
The Life of Samantabadra Buddha
In this section, we are going to learn about the life of Samantabhadra Buddha. After that, we will learn the short etymological description of the word Samantabhadra Buddha itself.
Samantabhadra is associated with action whereas the bodhisattva Manjusri is associated with wisdom In China. This bodhisattva is often worshipped by the Tendai and Shingon sects, and as the protector of the Lotus Sutra by the Nichiren sect in Japan.
Etymology of Samantabhadra Buddha
Previously, we learn about the life of Samantabhadra Buddha.Now, we are going to learn the iconography of Samantabhadra buddha.
Iconography of Samantabhadra Buddha
Posture of Samantabhadra Buddha
Samantabhadra is blue in color with one face and two hands. The two hands of Samantabhadra Buddha is placed in the lap in the gesture of meditation. The two-leg of Samantabhadra Buddha is folded together in vajra posture.
Samantabhadra is embraced by the consort Samantabhadri who is peaceful in appearance with a pale complexion. Samantabhadra Buddha is surrounded by a yellow nimbus and green aureola they are seated atop a moon disc and multi-colored lotus blossom cushion above a decorative snow lion supported throne.
Previously, we learn about the life of Samantabhadra Buddha and the iconography of Samantabhadra Buddha. Now, we are going to learn about depicting Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Buddha.
Depicting Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Buddha thangka
The thangka of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Buddha is from Tibet. The thangka is made between 1600 – 1699 AD. Samantabhadra Buddha is from Nyingma and Kagyu lineages. The size of the painting is 85.09×71.12cm. The base of the painting is Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton. Currently, this painting is in the Rubin Museum of Art.
By depicting this thangka, we will learn about the presentation of Samantabhadra with different deities such as Six Buddhas, Padmasambhava with wrathful Guru Dragpo, Vajravarahi, lay practitioner, Vajrasattva, and Yellow Jambhala.
Padmasambhava with wrathful Guru Dragpo
Padmasambhava with wrathful Guru Dragpo is at the top center of the thangka. Padmasambhava with wrathful Guru red in color.
Vajravarahi is in the left corner of the thangka. Vajravarahi is surrounded by four retinue attendants identical to herself.
The lay practitioner is directly below Padmasambhava in the thangka. The lay practitioner has long black hair tied up on the crown of the head.
Vajrasattva is at the bottom center of the thangka. Vajrasattva is the meditational deity of purification embracing the consort Vajragarvi.
Previously, we learn about the life of Samantabhadra Buddha and the iconography of Samantabhadra buddha and depicting Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Buddha. Now, we are going to learn about 10 Vows of Samantabhadra Buddha.
10 Vows of Samantabhadra Buddha
Now, we will learn about the Vows of Samantabhadra Buddha.
In the Flower Garland Sutra, the Buddha states that Bodhisattva Samantabhadra made ten great vows in his path to full Buddha-hood which have been listed below:
- To pay homage and respect to all Buddhas.
- To praise all the Buddhas.
- To make abundant offerings. (i.e. give generously)
- To repent misdeeds and evil karmas.
- To rejoice in others’ merits and virtues.
- To request the Buddhas to continue teaching.
- To request the Buddhas to remain in the world.
- To follow the teachings of the Buddhas at all times.
- To accommodate and benefit all living beings.
- To transfer all merits and virtues to benefit all beings
The ten vows have become a common practice in East Asian Buddhism, particularly the tenth vow, with many Buddhists traditionally dedicating their merit and good works to all beings during Buddhist liturgies.
Previously, we learn about the life of Samantabhadra Buddha and the iconography of Samantabhadra Buddha, depicting Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Buddha, and 10 Vows of Samantabhadra Buddha. Now we are going to learn about Esoteric traditions of Samantabhadra Buddha.
Esoteric traditions of Samantabhadra
Now, we will learn about the esoteric traditions of Samantabhadra.
Samntabhadra is also known as Vajradhara and Visvabhadra, the different names are also foregrounded in different attributes and essence-qualities. Samantabhadra appears in the Vajrayana tantric text the Kunjed Gyalpo Tantra, as the Primordial Buddha the embodiment or field of timeless awareness, gnosis awakened since before the very beginning.
In Tibetan Buddhism, the Nyingma, or Old Translation school, the Sakya and the Bon schools view Samantabhadra as the Primordial Buddha. However, the Kagyu is the Gelug schools that have use Vajradhara to represent the Primordial Buddha. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche following the Nyingmapa Dzogchen tradition qualifies the nature and essence of Samantabhadra are listed below:
- The Primordial Buddha
- The origin-less wellspring of the timeless
- Unbounded Atiyoga teachings,
He has honored the converse view entertained by some interested parties which hold that the Dzogchen teachings originated with either the Bonpo tradition or the Chinese monk Moheyan Samantabhadra who is not subject to limits of time, place, or physical conditions.
Samantabhadra is not a colored being with two eyes, etc. Samantabhadra has also known as the unity of awareness and emptiness the unity of appearances and emptiness the nature of mind, natural clarity with unceasing compassion that is Samantabhadra from the very beginning.
Previously, we learn about the life of Samantabhadra Buddha and the iconography of Samantabhadra Buddha, depicting Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Buddha, and 10 Vows of Samantabhadra Buddha. And finally, we learn about the Esoteric traditions of Samantabhadra Buddha.