- First Buddha - Ãdi means "first", such that the ādibuddha was the first to attain Buddhahood.
- Primordial Buddha - Ādi can also mean “primordial,” not referring to a person but to an innate wisdom that is present in all sentient beings.
When referring to the "primordial buddha," the term refers not so much to a person, but rather to a state of innate buddhahood or innate wisdom present in the mind of all sentient beings (sattva).
The 14th Dalai Lama states:
- I understand the Primordial Buddha, also known as Buddha Samantabhadra, to be the ultimate reality, the realm of the Dharmakaya-- the space of emptiness--where all phenomena, pure and impure, are dissolved. This is the explanation taught by the Sutras and Tantras.
Karl Brunnhölzl states:
- Longchenpa's Treasure Trove of Scriptures...explains that Samantabhadra—one of the most common Dzogchen names for the state of original buddhahood—is nothing other than the primordial, innate awareness that is naturally free, even before any notions of "buddhas" or "sentient beings" have emerged.
- Brunnhölzl, Karl (2018), A Lullaby to Awaken the Heart: The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra and Its Commentaries, Simon and Schuster
- Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. (2014), The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, Princeton University
- Wayman, Alex (2013), The Buddhist Tantras: Light on Indo-Tibetan Esotericism, Routledge, p. 53, ISBN 1-135-02922-9