The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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This aspect of a buddha represents the mind of a buddha or the truth of the universe and is experienced by those who obtain the direct realization of emptiness. It has no form, does not come or go, is boundless.
- The first of the Three Kayas, which is devoid of constructs, and space-like as this nature of all things. The basic and all-pervasive nature of all phenomena.
- Four Kayas: the svabhavikakaya, or essential body, is to be added to the three kayas and represents their inseparability (dbyer med).
- Five kayas: to the three kayas one adds the avikaravajrakaya, the "unchanging vajra body," and the abhisambodhikaya, "body of total enlightenment." Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Tibetan: chos sku "Chos" (Tibetan) can be glossed as "Dharma" (Sanskrit). "Sku" has the meanings: "Body, Form, image, bodily Form, figure". Thondup & Talbott (1996, 2002: p. 48) render it as the "ultimate Body".
In a key scholarly collaborative Nyingmapa translation work published in 2005, furthermore notable as the first complete rendering of the Bardo Thodol into the English Language from the Tibetan, this technical term was configured into English as "Buddha-Body of Reality".
Origins and development
In the Pali Canon The Buddha tells Vasettha that the Tathagata (The Buddha) is Dhamma-kaya, the "Truth-Body" or the "Embodiment of Truth", as well as Dharmabhuta, "Truth-become", that is, "One who has become Truth" (Digha Nikaya).
- The Nirmana-kaya, or Transformation-Body,
- The Sambhogakaya, or Enjoyment-Body,
- The Dharmakāya, or Dharma-Body.
- Great purity (Wylie: sPang Pa Chen Po),
- Great realization (Wylie: rTogs Pa Chen Po),
- Great Mind (Wylie: Sems Pa Chen Po).
Interpretation in Buddhist traditions
Predominantly, Theravada Buddhism views the Dhammakaya (Dharmakaya) as a figurative term relating to the manner in which The Buddha exemplifies or embodies the Dharma. Theravada Buddhism does not usually invest the term Dhammakaya with a metaphysical connotation.
The Thai Meditation masters, pre-eminently of the Dhammakaya Movement, who teach of a true Self of which they claim to have gained Meditative experience, are not rejected by Thai Buddhists in general, but tend, on the contrary, to be particularly reverered and worshipped in Thailand as Arhats or even Bodhisattvas, far more so than more 'orthodox' Theravada Monks and scholars.
"These terms are found in sutras such as the Lankavatara, Gandavyuha, Angulimaliya, Srimala, and the Mahaparinirvana, where they are used to describe The Buddha, the Truth Body (dharmakaya) and the Buddha-nature."
- The ultimate nature or essence of the Enlightened Mind (byang-chub sems), which is uncreated (skye-med), free from the limits of conceptual elaboration (spros-pa'i mtha'-bral),
- The Body of reality itself, without specific, delimited Form, wherein The Buddha is identified with the spiritually charged nature of everything that is.
According to Jamgon Kongtrul, the founder of the Rime movement, in his 19th century commentary to the Lojong slogan, "To see confusion as the four kayas, the Sunyata protection is unsurpassable" (as translated by Ken McLeod) when one meditates on ultimate Bodhicitta and rests in a state where Appearances simply appear but there is no clinging to them, the dharmakaya aspect is that all Appearances are empty in nature, the Sambhogakaya is that they appear with clarity, the nirmanakaya is that this Emptiness and clarity occur together, and the svabhavikakaya aspect is that these are inseparable.
Recently, Dharmakaya has also become the name for an organization founded by H. E. the 4th Trungram Gyaltrul Rinpoche, and is affiliated with his global organization the United Trungram Buddhist Fellowship (UTBF).
Gyaltrul Rinpoche's Dharmakaya organization was founded for the specific purpose of bringing the teachings and Meditation practices from the Trungram Tradition of the Karma Kagyu lineage to North America.
This is a worthy visual device to draw attention to the 'absence' and 'Emptiness' of "thus gone" (Sanskrit: Tathāgata) and the Doctrine of Śūnyatā and represent whilst not representing. Later representations of The Buddha were introduced as "skillful means" (Sanskrit: upāya).
- In Nyingma icons, Dharmakāya is symbolized by a naked, sky-coloured (light blue) male and female Buddha in union Kāmamudrā, called Samantabhadra [and Samantabhadri).
- Space is simultaneously the first and the last of the great elements. It is the origin and precondition of the other four, and it is also their culmination...
The conceptually bridging and building poetic device of analogy, as an exemplar where Dharmakaya is evocatively likened to 'sky' and 'space', is a persistent and pervasive visual metaphor throughout the early Dzogchen and Nyingma literature and functions as a linkage and conduit between the 'conceptual' and 'conceivable' and the 'ineffable' and 'inconceivable' (Sanskrit: acintya).
- The looking glass/mirror (T. me-long, Skt. adarsa), which represents the dharmakaya or Truth Body, having the aspects of purity (a mirror is clear of pollution) and wisdom (a mirror reflects all phenomena without distinction)