Ādi Buddha

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Ādi Buddha (Skt.; Tib., dang.po'i.sangs.rgyas). Primordial Buddha, the highest being in Tibetan Buddhist cosmology. Although teachings regarding the Ādi Buddha existed in India at least as early as the 7th cent. CE, they did not enter Tibet until the arrival of Atiśa in 1042, after which the Ādi Buddha, known in India as Vajradhāra, became identified as Dorje Chang (Tib., rDor.rje.ch'ang., ‘Holder of the Thunderbolt’) by all schools except the Nyingma, who know him as Kuntu Zangpo (Tib. kun.tu. bzang.po., ‘Goodness in all Ways’; Skt.: Samantabhadra).

The Tibetan traditions have avoided the attribution to him of theistic qualities by stressing his nature as śūnyatā, and by seeing his purpose as essentially that of a device within the confines of tantric practice. His bīja mantra is OM.AH.HUM., which represents the body, speech, and mind of all buddhas.