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Three bodies of the Buddha (Skt. trikaya)

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Three bodies of the Buddha; (Skt. trikaya)

1. Dharmakaya: The Dharma-body, or the "body of reality", which is formless, unchanging, transcendental, and inconceivable. Synonymous with suchness, or emptiness.

2. Sambhogakaya: the "body of enjoyment", the celestial body of the Buddha. Personification of eternal perfection in its ultimate sense. It "resides" in the Pure Land and never manifests itself in the mundane world, but only in the celestial spheres, accompanied by enlightened Bodhisattvas.

3. Nirmanakaya: the "incarnated body" of the Buddha. In order to benefit certain sentient beings, a Buddha incarnates himself into an appropriate visible body, such as that of Sakyamuni Buddha.

The incarnated body of the Buddha should not be confused with a magically produced Buddha. The former is a real, tangible human body which has a definite life span, The latter is an illusory Buddha-form which is produced with miraculous powers and can be withdrawn with miraculous powers.

Source

www.ymba.org