… When my life approaches its end, may all obstructions be fully eradicated, may I see Amitabha Buddha [Amituofo] in person, may I be instantly born in his World of Peace and Bliss [Pure Land]… These Samantabhadra’s supreme practices, these boundless supreme blessings, I transfer them all, universally wishing that all beings drowning [in the sea of Samsara] swiftly advance towards the Buddha world of immeasurable light [Pure Land].
– Vow #10 of Samantabhada Bodhisattva (Excerpt)
Samantabhadra, or the Bodhisattva of ‘Universal Virtue’ (大行普贤菩萨), who is the foremost in great practice, embodies the perfect practice of all Bodhisattvas, as defined by his 10 great universal vows. The elephant, which is his vehicle, symbolises the taking of firm, strong and steady steps towards the perfection of compassion and wisdom, the twin peaks of Buddhahood. To faithfully aspire and practise for birth in Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land is seen as one such giant step towards Buddhahood, as attested by his famous 10th Vow in the Avatamsaka Sutra, that cross-references with the 22nd Vow of Amitabha Buddha in the Infinite Life Sutra.
In his 10th Vow, not only does Samantabhadra Bodhisattva state that he will guide beings to reach Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land, he also vowed to reach it personally, for perfecting his own practice. This is so as Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land is so excellent that even while great Bodhisattvas like Samantabhadra make it a point to tirelessly guide other beings to it for their spiritual training, they also recognise that it offers the most conducive conditions (as listed in Amitabha Buddha’s 48 vows) for themselves to perfect the Bodhisattva path.
In his 22nd Vow, Amitabha Buddha states that Bodhisattvas who reach his Pure Land will be able to fulfill all the 10 vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, as his Pure Land is precisely for training beings to be perfect like Samantabhadra Bodhisattva in terms of these 10 vows, which form the path to Buddhahood. Fulfilling the 10th Vow itself guides more beings to Pure Land, for training them to become equally perfect. Likewise, we should emulate Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, the model example for all, via seeking birth in Pure Land while guiding others to do so – by aligning ourselves to the vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva and Amitabha Buddha.
… They [Bodhisattvas in Pure Land] transcend the ordinary practices of Bodhisattvas of all grounds, manifest the practices of all the Bodhisattva stages, and cultivate the merits of Samantabhadra [Bodhisattva]…
– Vow #22 of Amitabha Buddha (Excerpt)
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s Connection to Amitabha Buddha
The 10 Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva
The 48 Vows of Amitabha Buddha