As the main bodhisattva of the Flower Ornament Sutra, Samantabhadra represents this teaching's exalted, visionary approach to enlightening awareness, and he expresses this vision through concentrated states of mind called samadhis. These are meditation instructions that demonstrate the dynamic, dialectical interplay between the universal and all phenomena. They reveal Samantabhadra as a visionary bodhisattva who unveils the integration of all beings with the totality of the universe.
The "ocean seal" or "ocean reflector" samadhi illuminates consciousness like the surface of the ocean, fully reflecting everything in the cosmos, confirming and sealing it with authenticity. The winds of delusion cause the waves of phenomena to arise on the surface of the ocean, forming thoughts and perceptions. But as soon as the mind settles and the water is calm and clear, this ocean-mirror awareness again reflects perfectly. The mutual interpenetration of all things with totality, and of all things with each other, is the essential nature of reality. Although this is a description of a buddha's consciousness, it is also the inherent quality of the consciousness we all share.
In the Flower
Ornament Sutra, Samantabhadra enters the samadhi called "the immanent
body of the illuminator of thusness." This samadhi is characteristic
of all awakened ones. It contains the teachings and liberations of
all buddhas and the knowledge of all bodhisattvas, and it develops
enlightened virtues and vows.
As Samantabhadra arises from that samadhi, all the Universal Virtue Bodhisattvas arise in every world, and all the worlds tremble. Gentle rains of beautiful clouds and jewels then fall profusely upon all bodhisattvas everywhere, bestowing enlightening knowledge, techniques for teaching, and splendid illumination.
This description illuminates the holographic quality of the bodhisattva realm. As the panoramic awareness of various samadhis of Samantabhadra are presented in detail in the sutra, students can participate in this intoxicating and elevating consciousness.