Samantabhadra (Tib. Kuntuzangpo), meaning the ‘All Good’ or ‘Ever Perfect’, is the Adi or Primordial Buddha of the Nyingma or ‘ancient-school’ of Tibetan Buddhism, where he is recognized as the sublime source from which many of the Mahayoga, Anuyoga, and Atiyoga classes of the highest Tantras and Dzogchen transmissions originate. As such he represents the dharmakaya, the supreme buddha-body of absolute reality, as the innate or natural purity of consciousness itself. As the Adi Buddha, he is the source from which the forty-two peaceful and fifty-eight wrathful deities of the Zhitro (Zhi-khro) or Bardo-mandala originate. He is likewise regarded as the ‘Father of all Buddhas’ in the Mahayoga texts of the Guhyagarbha Tantra and in the Seventeen Tantras of the Great Perfection or Dzogchen cycle of transmissions.
Samantabhadra Buddha and Samantabhardra the Bodhisattva are unrelated and not the same subject or entity. The first is a special Buddha unique to the Nyingma Tantric Tradition. The second is a bodhisattva that arises from the Mahayana Sutra literature. In Tibet, according to the Nyingma or “Old Translation” school, Samantabhadra is the primordial Buddha who gave rise to all other Buddhas. He is often portrayed naked with a dark or bright blue body, to show nothingness and a lack of form. The woman sitting on him is Samantabhadri, Samantabhadra’s consort and female equivalent who is most often white, to represent wisdom. Neither are clothed to show the simplicity of the mind. The tantric embrace of Samantabhadri and Samantabhadra symbolizes the union of kindness and wisdom.
Samantabhadra is deep blue in color, naked and unadorned, symbolizing the space-like and indestructible reality of the dharmakaya as the natural purity of consciousness, or the innate awareness of Buddha-Mind. He sits in vajra-posture upon a white moon disc and a multicolored lotus, with his two joined hands resting upon his lap in the dhyana-mudra of meditative equipoise. He is endowed with the thirty-two major and eighty minor marks of an enlightened Buddha, and fine rays of golden light emanate from the pores of his body against the red expanse of his inner aura. His outer aura is composed of golden scroll segments with enclosed jewels and a narrow surrounding ring of rainbow light.
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