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Samantabhadra

Samantabhadra. The word Samanta means, "universally extending." Bhadra means "great virtue." The word samantabhadra means as Universal Virtue and Universal Worthy. This bodhisattvas usually rides on a six-tusked white elephant. The six tusks represent overcoming attachment to the six senses. They also represent the Six Perfection's (paramitas)- charity, morality, patience, diligence, contemplation, and wisdom - or the six ways in which the bodhisattvas pursue their spiritual cultivation so that they may attain enlightenment and save other living creatures. Those who frequently worship Bodhisattva Samantabadhra would gradually receive his blessing and would become energetic and persistent in their practice of the six paramitas.

Like Manjushri, Samantabhadra was an assistant to Sakyamuni Buddha. Historically, there are four famous bodhisattva in the East Asia; each symbolizes the Buddha's emphasis on different aspects of Dharma practices. They are Avalokitesvara's compassion, Manjushri's wisdom, Samantabhadra's practice, and Ksitigarbha's vow. Samantabhadra is also called the Great Conduct Bodhisattva, a name that reflects his practice of Buddhism through his famous Ten Great Vows.

Samantab is a cosmic entity embodying all the bodhisattva practices and merits which must be fulfilled in order to attain Buddhahood. According to the Flower Garland Sutra, bodhisattva practitioners must dedicate all of their efforts to the enlightenment of all sentient beings and sacrifice everything for the welfare of all. In this way, the boundaries of selfhood and the limitation of self-effort are transcended, and one enters into the ocean of merits of all beings, an ocean of merits which is the Samantabhadra's omnipresent body of virtue.

In the Avatamaska Sutra it is recorded that Bodhisattva Samantabadhra makes 10 great vows concerning his Buddhist practice which becomes the leading guidelines of all Bodhisattvas. They are:

1.To venerate all buddhas.

2.To make praises to the infinite number of buddhas.

3.To make offerings to buddhas, the most meaningful offering is to practice the Buddhist teachings so as to benefit oneself and others.

4.To repent and reform all karmic hindrance, accumulated from our thoughts, words, or actions throughout our past reincarnations.

5.To rejoice and join other's merit and virtue.

6.To pray that the Dharma wheel (Buddha's teachings) will be turned (passed on).

7.To petition that the Buddhas remain in the world to benefit more people.

8.To always follow the Buddha's path (teachings) in order to attain enlightenment.

9.To live harmoniously with all living beings. I.e., to respect all sorts of beings, and be as attentive to them as he would to his own parents or even to the buddhas.

10.To reflex all accumulating merits and virtue back to all living beings for their salvation.

The above ten vows conclude the combination of seeking enlightenment for themselves (the first eight vows) and saving others (the last two vows) by helping them attain enlightenment is typical of the vows of bodhisattvas.

A Chines Buddhist monk named Hui-Chih went to O-Mei Mountain in China's Xhsi-Thuan Province in 399 A.D. and built a temple devoted to Samantabhadra. Since then O-Mei Mountain becomes the sacred site of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. In Japan, Samantabhadra is known as Fugen.



According to the Tibetan Nyingma tradition, the Vajrayana Samantabhadra (Tibetan: kun tu zang po) is a primordial (Adi) buddha. With his naked deep blue body in union with his white consort, he represents the symbol of dharmakaya and is of central significance in the Mahamudra teaching.



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