Samantabhadra's Seed Syllable
copyright Dale Goodyear 2011
My seed-syllable for Samantabhadra is the first 3 sounds of his name: SAM (pronounced "sum" or
"sung" in Sanskrit, with a short "a" sound)
This is appropriate, for the root sam in Sanskrit means "with , together with , along with , together"--
and as we know, Samantabhadra is the bodhisattva of the Sangha, the Community, and of all
communion between hearts. Samantabhadra brings all of us together, fastens us together with good
will and word and work, bonds us together joyfully heart to heart to establish the Dharma, the Tao, on
earth--to save the earth, and humanity and all life, for the Good Things that Buddhahood has to offer.
In Chinese Seng (Sang in Cantonese) 僧 means "Sangha". (Again, Sanskrit Sam with short "a" and
nasalized "m" will sound like Chinese seng "sung").
What other mystical significance is hidden in these 3 letters, S-A-M?
Let's briefly leave our Buddhist moorings and go West, to Jewish letter mysticism, where we find that the 3 letters Shin/Sin, Aleph, and Mem are called the "Mother Letters."
Samantabhadra is essentially Lord of the Yin polarity and current of life, in that he rules the region
called the "Lower Dantian" in Chinese meditation and healing, the Yin portion of the body which
provides the nurturing womb for the evolving self or "soul." He rules Freedom, which is in
to the + polarity of Truth which Manjushri rules in the "Upper Dantian." And Samantabhadra purifies
from Below while Manjushri illumines from Above.
So here is a case where mystics in both East and West have had a similar intuition about sound and
The Hebrew letter Sin (and Shin--it has two sounds) represents primordial Fire, Aleph primordial Air,
and Mem primordial Water. In S-A-M, the Fire of Samantabhadra's enlightened Being flows into the
Water, creating Freedom and Joy in the self (or soul), mystically and yogically considered to have an
In Taoist and other yogic traditions, the rainbow-red of Fire meshes with the rainbow-blue of Water
and produces a rainbow-violet (or royal-purple) Steam which sets free our souls and bodies. We can
see the red S and blue M, producing the violet/purple A which represents the Liberated self or soul re-
created, re-conceived and re-birthed by this alchemical steam.
So, SAM is indeed a power-syllable that can help transform us by Samantabhadra's saving power,
expressed so eloquently in his famous "Aspiration" from the Avatamsaka Sutra