Description Of Form
In his left hand, Samantabhadra holds a lotus blossom. The lotus represents the basic underlying nature of mankind which is pure and undefiled. He sometimes rides on top of an elephant, one of the largest of animals. While it is gentle, the elephant has a strength that exceeds even that of a lion, and thus expresses the compassion of Samantabhadra.
Purpose and Vow
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva can be said to be the buddha of compassion, the counterpart to the wisdom of Mañjusri. As it also is in general Buddhism, Shingon Buddhism strongly emphasizes wisdom and compassion as the life force of the Buddha, and Samantabhadra is the Buddhist deity that manifests a powerful mind of compassion. This mind of compassion is known as the Practices and Vows of Samantabhadra that encourage us to engage in the practices by which everyone can become a buddha and carry out that vow everywhere.
These Practices and Vows are given in the Ten Vows:
1. to respect all buddhas,
2. to praise the benevolence of the buddhas,
3. to refrain from doing evil,
4. to make widespread offerings,
5. to take delight in the virtues of the buddhas,
6. to seek the teachings of the buddhas,
7. to aspire to the eternal world of the buddhas,
8. to learn from the buddhas,
9. to give benefit to all living beings, and
10. to transfer merit to the buddhas world.
On sanmaya satôban (Jpn.)
Om sammaya sat tvam (Om samayas tvam) (Skt.)
Om I am (you are) an embodiment of the pledge
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