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Samantabhadra

Amongst the Bodhisattvas of the high rank Samantabhadra stands prominent. His activities are mentioned in Gandavyuha sutra. His most popular practice, known as Samantabhadra Charya, is a household name for the Nepalese Buddhist.

Samantabhadra is represented with a crown, ornaments and princely garments of a bodhisattva typical of Sambhogakaya aspect. Samantabhadra holds Chintamani in his left hand and supports a blue lotus at his left shoulder. His right hand displays Vitaraka Mudra. His posture may be either seated or standing. In Nispannayogavali, he is described as yellow in color, showing the Varada Mudra in his right hand and holding the sword on lotus on his left hand.

Samantabhadra is also depicted as golden-yellow in color. Samantabhadra holds a bunch of jewels in the right hand and the left hand rests on the hip. According to a legend concerning Samantabhadra, it is said that Kathmandu valley was once a great lake measuring 14 km by 14 km in size. At the center of this lake blossomed a thousand petalled lotus where there was a flame of self-existing wisdom i.e. Swayambhu. Many sages and devas used to bathe in this lake and pay homage to Lord Swayambhu. Knowing that a self-existing Buddha had appeared in the lake Lord Manju Deva Acharya, an emanation of Bodhisattva Manjushree, from Wu-tai-shan mountain of Great China, came to Kathmandu to drain water from the lake so as to make it a habitable land as the legend narrates. This act of Manju Deva Acharya enraged Kulika Nagaraja who began to obstruct its outlets thus pouring water once again into the lake. As a result, many people suffered due to floods and destruction of houses. The people began to take refuge in Lord Avalokiteshvara for protection. In the mean time Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva sent Samantabhadra Bodhisattva for the purpose of relieving the sufferings of the people in Kathmandu. Samantabhadra subdued Kulika Naga and also inspired him to practice dharma and gave many blessings.

In Buddhist practice Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is very famous for his extensive ten great vows and sevenfold worship. His grandeur is well presented in the Lotus sutra and Gandavyuha sutra.

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