Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SAMANTABHADRA the Practical Aspect of the Path

This is an icon of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva (Fugen Bosatsu, the All-Good Bodhisattva), along with his seed syllable (AN) and his mantra (OM SAMAYA SATOBAN). In the analogy of walking the Path to Bodhi with the two feet of study and practice, he represents the 'practice' aspect, the side woefully undervalued in Western culture.

Saicho, the Tendai founder in the 9th century AD, clearly saw Japan as a Mahayana nation, leading that country to benefit greatly by changing its form of Buddhism. Today we might see the US as a Hinayana nation with most followers seeking their personal benefit or the benefit of their local group while emphasizing the intellectual side of Buddhism. For those who wish to establish the altruism, compassion, and universal benefit of the Mahayana in this rocky ground, the diligence, ardent practice, and great vows of Samantabhadra should be quickly undertaken.

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