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Three Buddha families

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Three Buddha families; An early classification of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with their associated qualities.

These were comprised of three groups or families known as the Tathāgata, Vajra, and Lotus Families, epitomized by Śākyamuni, Vajrapāṇi, and Avalokiteśvara.

This classification is also related to the Body, speech, Mind aspects of the Buddhas as well as to their ‘three bodies’ (Trikāya), namely Dharma-Kāya, saṃBhoga-Kāya and nirmāṇa Kāya. In the later Tantras from the Tattva-saṃgraha onwards, this set is supplanted by the system of Five Buddha Families formed by the addition of the Ratna (Jewel) and Karma families.

Source

dictionary.buddhistdoor.com