Friday, December 3, 2010


Question : (Unedited)
hey justinchoo,

What is the Mayayana teaching about the three Bodies of Buddha?  How does it compare with the Theravadin notion of Buddha?  



My comment :
Hi Mk,

Thank you for asking me.

I shall answer your question by referring to my revered teacher's book "What Buddhists Believe".  You can click here to read it:

Briefly it states that the Buddha was the embodiment of three aspects:  He was the physical Buddha, he was the enlightenened one who proclaimed the universal truths (Dhamma), and thirdly, he was the teacher of the Dhamma, teaching with joy or bliss.

These three bodies became known as the Trikaya ("tri" is "three" and "kaya" is "body").
Dharma kaya (Truth Body)
Sambhoga kaya (Preaching or Enjoyment or Bliss Body)
Nirmana kaya (Physical or Manifestation Body)
Although the Buddha is dead, the Dharma kaya is eternal.

Sambhoga kaya was a later Mahayana concept depicting the Buddha rejoicing in the preaching of the truths (Dhamma).
In Mahayana temples you would find three similar Buddha Images depicting the three meanings of Trikaya.  

In Theravada, the Buddha is The Buddha.  There was only one Gotama Buddha, the historical Buddha (Although there were countless other Buddhas).  He preached the Dhamma, and he was the Fully Enlightened One.  These are the three aspects of the Buddha.  His teachings are universal truths and are eternal. When one practices the Dhamma, the Dhamma protects one. When one sees the Dhamma, one sees the Buddha.  When one fully realizes the Dhamma, one is the Buddha.

Hope the answer is sufficient.

Smile from justinchoo :-)

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