Meditation, regardless of level or style, requires the combination of only two skills: abiding in tranquility and the ability to correctly push or penetrate to a new state of meditation, then to establish tranquility and abide again. Each level of refinement is an emptying with an increase of translucence and radiance,* and a stability that evolves to be like tempered steel. The translucent radiance ultimately empties leaving a black-hole-infinitude with a blazing corona of undulating flames. The experience is of Awareness dancing as the emptiness. Void of mitigating thoughts and arisings, Awareness abides in its own nature – a dynamic which is like careening nowhere at the speed of light. And the stability and peace locks in so completely as to be rapacious, a devouring state of non-deviating meditative absorption.
Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri represent all this as well as everything stated in the previous posts while also describing the realizations that lead up to the gnosis that is the ultimate Nature of Reality-As-Awareness. These two skills, represented by Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri, become a new state depicted by the pair in embracing union. Thus, said again, all levels and states of meditation, accompanying insights and realizations up to and including enlightenment, amount to the correct and effective combination and then rarification of the skills of tranquil abiding (shamatha) and clear seeing or penetrating insight (vipassana).
Shamatha is a phonetic rendering of the Sanskrit word samatha which means tranquility. In meditation training, one learns to establish a lordly state of calm. The Sanskrit word samadhi is a furthering of this concept. Samadhi – meditative absorption – combines tranquil abiding with the knowing, noetic, or gnosis quality and capacity of Awareness. Samadhi, then, is to abide in and as the calm bliss of Awareness itself. Samantabhadra/dri has the same beginning letters, therefore has something to do with calm, peace, and bliss. Bhadra is a combination and derivation of two other Sanskrit words. The first is bhava meaning a pure or wholesome state of being plus the Sanskrit word dhi, defined above as the gnosis quality and capacity of Awareness. Put these meanings or ideas together and whole concepts of Reality begin to emerge, as well as how to engage meditation training and practice so as to awaken to the true nature of Reality. And it is this that is the most important reason to cultivate a meditation practice.
Along the way, will the practitioner gain mental clarity, creativity, greater effective reasoning capacity? Yes. And along the way of meditation practice, will the practitioner experience an automatic increase of patience, empathy, equanimity, and a desire to care for others genuinely? Yes. Will the practitioner also discover that his or her relationship to body, personal environment, and planetary environment become more thought-full, mindful, respectful, and honorable? Yes. At every step of the way, meditation and meditation practice is of benefit, leading ultimately to a profound result: the omniscient understanding of Reality and the fully awakened state of Compassionate Wisdom.
Samantabhadri (female) is white representing the ability to pacify errant desires and untrained activity of a mental and emotional kind. Her white color also signifies the ongoing purification and refinement of our thoughts and beliefs, and of illumination and insight. With this, she is the experience of light in the mind, an ah-ha, or a revelation. In previous levels of meditative training, Samantabhadri represented the errant thoughts and desires that now her energy purifies and tames. This is the mastery of this art and teaching form. A thangka presents all levels of understanding and wisdom on a particular subject plus depicts the very methods to achieve those layers of meditation and realization.
On this level, Samantabhadra depicts a matured state and ability. He, now, represents vipassana or clear seeing. If you have read this entire series, you are scratching your head. Do you mean they switch roles? Yes and. In part 1 & 2, he stood for shamatha – tranquility and peaceful abiding and she represented dynamism, the wiggling untrained mind, emotions, and body that needed taming and the insight to do it. Now, his steady gaze is depicting samadhi: meditative absorption. Samadhi has a particular highly refined quality within its state, that of dynamic unrelenting clarity. For the meditator, all appearances dissolve in this inner gaze; thus an apparent condition or impasse melts in this refined clarity of mind, in this samadhi. Samantabhadra conveys that through non-movement of the mind toward any apparent convention the mind can be rendered pure, pacified, and clear.
Now, the two (Samantabhadra/dri) are in union within the practitioner. The meditator is now skilled in how to use the natural arising (she) as the slight lift or subtle awareness to exert or open like the micro adjustments of a hawk on the wing. And the meditator knows first-hand how to also exert and then abide in non (non movement, non deviation, not chasing after or repulsing anything in the mind). With these skills, the practitioner can sustain a samadhi of refined Awareness-as-Itself represented by the two in union.
* sometimes as non-light like a black hole radiance