Dharmapala Thangka CentreIconography

Tibetan Iconography


In the tantric traditions of Buddhism, such as the Nyingma and Kagyu schools, Samantabhadra is considered not only a bodhisattva, but additionally an adibuddha. In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, he is described as the Buddha who appears to the deceased during their journey through the intermediate realm to free them from their remaining karmic bonds and remind them of their original origin and destiny.

Samantabhadra [Tibetan: Guntu Sangpo or Kun tu bzang po, Chinese: "P'u-hsien, Japanese "Fugen"] is the primordial Buddha associated with compassion and is known as a protector of the sutra. He is the antecedent of all and the expanse of reality. He holds sway over existence and quiescence in their entirety. He is naked and blue in color, and is most often pictured embracing his white consort Samantrabhhadri [Tibetan: "Kun tu bzang mo"]. They are another emanation of Adibuddha, the ever-present potential for Buddhahood, that has always been and always be.

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.