True Buddha Dharma-character Treasury – Samantabhadra Bodhisattva
【Samantabhadra Bodhisattva Mudra :】
Put the palms together. Interlace the ring fingers inward while the little fingers are still touching each other. Point the two index fingers outward, and press the ring fingers with the thumbs while keeping the tip of the middle fingers touching.
【Samantabhadra Bodhisattva Seed Syllable :】
Sanskrit Seed Syllable Ah
【Samantabhadra Bodhisattva Mantra :】
【Samantabhadra Bodhisattva Dharmalakṣaṇa Brief Introduction】
Golden Samantabhadra wears a crown with his right hand holding a lotus flower or Ruyi while his left hand forms the Wish-granting Mudra. Golden Samantabhadra may also wear a Five-buddha Crown with his hands forming mudras or holding vajra scepters while sitting in the half-lotus position on a white elephant with six pairs of tusks. (The six pairs of tusks represent Six Paramitas.)
【Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-yen Lu Dharma Talk – Samantabhadra Bodhisattva Background and Key Cultivation Formula】
Samantabhadra is the Bodhisattva of great deeds. He rides a white elephant which has six pairs of tusks. He is the Dharma Prince transformed from tathagatas throughout kalpas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges River. He has passed down the Practices and Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. He uses the ear-consciousness to distinguish naturally. His wisdom light radiates universally on all sentient beings. Samantabhadra’s attainment is ”being profoundly natural.” He is the supreme bodhisattva with ultimate perfect penetration.
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva and Manjushri are the attendants of Shakyamuni. Together, these three constitute the Avatamsaka Trinity. Manjushri is in charge of the ”wisdom gate” while Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is in charge of the ”principle gate.”
In Sutrayana, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva rides on an elephant. In some depictions he holds a vajra scepter in each hand and he is thus regarded as a vajra holder. In fact, in Sutrayana the Vajrasattva of Vajrayana is considered the emanation of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. In other words, Vajrasattva of Vajrayana is actually the Samantabhadra Bodhisattva of Sutrayana. That is to say, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva emanated as Vajrasattva. Samantabhadra is also a vajra holder.
Therefore, Vajrasattva and Samantabhadra Bodhisattva are one and the same but with a different name. Because Samantabhadra Bodhisattva received empowerment from Vairocana, he holds a five-wisdom vajra scepter in each hand.
As time went on, all Acharyas who receive empowerment as ”masters entrusted to transmit Vajrayana,” and who accomplish the ”Five Stages in Vairocana Buddhahood” are considered to be the emanation body of Vajrasattva.
In the Diamond Realm, Vajrasattva is the 16th Bodhisattva. In the Womb Realm, Vajrasattva is the Samantabhadra Bodhisattva of the Center Eight Petal Hall and is the central deity of the first level of Vajrapani Hall.
Vairocana is the 1st Patriarch of Shingon Buddhism in Japan. Vajrasattva is the 2nd Patriarch.
Avalokiteshvara represents compassion; Manjushri represents wisdom; and Vajrapani, dharma power. The combination of these three is namely Vajrasattva. In fact, these three fundamental masters are the transformation of Vajrasattva. Vajrasattva is therefore the true patriarch of Vajrayana.
In the Great Sutra Compendium the Ten Vow Samantabhadra says, ”May I see Amitabha Buddha upon the moment of my death.”
Since Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is the Vajrasattva of Vajrayana, Samantabhadra and Vajrasattva are the principal masters of Sutrayana and Vajrayana respectively. Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times and ten directions consider Samantabhadra Bodhisattva and Vajrasattva’s merit in generating bodhicitta as the standard. Therefore, Amitabha is the master of the dharma gate.
The Ten Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva are: homage to all buddhas, praising tathagatas, widely engaging in making offerings, repenting karmic hindrances, performing meritorious deeds unconditionally, supplicating buddhas to turn dharma wheels, supplicating buddhas to remain in the world, consistently following buddhas to learn, accommodating sentient beings always, and dedicating all merits universally.
The Hizōki of the Japanese master Kobo Daishi explains that the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss is identical to the Pure Land of Mysterious Adornment. Since Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is the secret master of both Sutrayana and Vajrayana, it is through the power of his vows that all buddhas and bodhisattvas of three times and ten directions had the will to be reborn in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss and attain buddhahood. Therefore, as regards rebirth in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, there is no difference between Sutrayana and Vajrayana.
I am aware that Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is the patriarch of the Pure Land Sect, which is a school of Buddhism. The principle of Pure Land practice is to chant the buddha’s name and be reborn in the Pure Land. During the historical period of Jin, Master Huiyuen exclusively advocated Pure Land practice. Master Huiyuen’s monastery was on Mount Lu and his school came to be called the Lotus School because of the lotus pond located there.
In China, there are four famous mountains;
Mount Wutai, the cultivation venue of Manjushri, also called Mount Qingliang;
Mount Putuo, the cultivation venue of Avalokiteshvara;
Mount Jiuhua, the cultivation venue of Ksitigarbha; and
Mount Emei, the cultivation venue of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva.
I have cultivated unceasingly for decades on end. It is the same for my writing.
The Eight Great Bodhisattvas manifested to me and transmitted the following dharmas:
Manjushri transmitted wisdom dharma;
Avalokiteshvara, compassion dharma;
Vajrapani, transcendental power dharma;
Maitreya, continuation of transmission of Buddhist dharma;
Sarvanivaranavis Kambini, hindrance removing dharma;
Akasagarbha, purification dharma;
Ksitigarbha, keeping faith in attaining buddhahood dharma; and
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, great vows dharma.
The Cautionary Verse of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is:
”A day has passed and one’s lifespan has grown shorter, like a fish in evaporating water. Where is the pleasure or happiness in life? Sentient beings! Be as diligent as if one is putting out a fire on one’s head! Keep impermanence constantly in mind. Carefully avoid self-indulgence.”