The Trikāya doctrine (Sanskrit : त्रिकाय, lit. "three bodies"; Chinese : 三身; pinyin : sānshēn; Japanese pronunciation : sanjin, sanshin; Korean pronunciation : samsin; Vietnamese : tam thân, Tibetan : སྐུ་གསུམ, Wylie : sku gsum) is a Mahayana Buddhist teaching on both the nature of reality and the nature of Buddhahood. The doctrine says that Buddha has three kāyas or bodies, the Dharmakāya (ultimate reality), the Saṃbhogakāya (divine incarnation of Buddha), and the Nirmāṇakāya (physical incarnation of Buddha).
The doctrine says that a Buddha has three kāyas or bodies:
The Dharmakāya doctrine was possibly first expounded in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā "The Perfection of Wisdom In Eight Thousand Verses", composed in the 1st century BCE.Mahayana Buddhism introduced the Sambhogakāya, which conceptually fits between the Nirmāṇakāya (the manifestations of enlightenment in the physical world) and the Dharmakaya. Around 300 CE, the Yogacara school systematized the prevalent ideas on the nature of the Buddha in the Trikaya or three-body doctrine.
Various Buddhist traditions have different ideas about what the three bodies are.
The Three Bodies of the Buddha consists of:
As with earlier Buddhist thought, all three forms of the Buddha teach the same Dharma, but take on different forms to expound the truth.
According to Schloegl, in the Zhenzhou Linji Huizhao Chansi Yulu (which is a Chan Buddhist compilation), the Three Bodies of the Buddha are not taken as absolute. They would be "mental configurations" that "are merely names or props" and would only perform a role of light and shadow of the mind.
The Zhenzhou Linji Huizhao Chansi Yulu advises:
Do you wish to be not different from the Buddhas and patriarchs? Then just do not look for anything outside. The pure light of your own heart [i.e., 心, mind] at this instant is the Dharmakaya Buddha in your own house. The non-differentiating light of your heart at this instant is the Sambhogakaya Buddha in your own house. The non-discriminating light of your own heart at this instant is the Nirmanakaya Buddha in your own house. This trinity of the Buddha's body is none other than here before your eyes, listening to my expounding the Dharma.
In Tendai and Shingon of Japan, they are known as the Three Mysteries (三密, sanmitsu).
The Three Vajras, namely "body, speech and mind", are a formulation within Vajrayana Buddhism and Bon that hold the full experience of the śūnyatā "emptiness" of Buddha-nature, void of all qualities (Wylie : yon tan) and marks (Wylie : mtshan dpe) and establish a sound experiential key upon the continuum of the path to enlightenment. The Three Vajras correspond to the trikaya and therefore also have correspondences to the Three Roots and other refuge formulas of Tibetan Buddhism. The Three Vajras are viewed in twilight language as a form of the Three Jewels, which imply purity of action, speech and thought.
The Three Vajras are often mentioned in Vajrayana discourse, particularly in relation to samaya, the vows undertaken between a practitioner and their guru during empowerment. The term is also used during Anuttarayoga Tantra practice.
The Three Vajras are often employed in tantric sādhanā at various stages during the visualization of the generation stage, refuge tree, guru yoga and iṣṭadevatā processes. The concept of the Three Vajras serves in the twilight language to convey polysemic meanings,[ citation needed ] aiding the practitioner to conflate and unify the mindstream of the iṣṭadevatā, the guru and the sādhaka in order for the practitioner to experience their own Buddha-nature.
Speaking for the Nyingma tradition, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche perceives an identity and relationship between Buddha-nature, dharmadhatu, dharmakāya, rigpa and the Three Vajras:
Dharmadhātu is adorned with Dharmakāya, which is endowed with Dharmadhātu Wisdom. This is a brief but very profound statement, because "Dharmadhātu" also refers to Sugatagarbha or Buddha-Nature. Buddha- Nature is all-encompassing... This Buddha-Nature is present just as the shining sun is present in the sky. It is indivisible from the Three Vajras [i.e. the Buddha's Body, Speech and Mind] of the awakened state, which do not perish or change.
Robert Beer (2003: p. 186) states:
The trinity of body, speech, and mind are known as the three gates, three receptacles or three vajras, and correspond to the western religious concept of righteous thought (mind), word (speech), and deed (body). The three vajras also correspond to the three kayas, with the aspect of body located at the crown (nirmanakaya), the aspect of speech at the throat (sambhogakaya), and the aspect of mind at the heart (dharmakaya)."
The bīja corresponding to the Three Vajras are: a white om (enlightened body), a red ah (enlightened speech) and a blue hum (enlightened mind).
Simmer-Brown (2001: p. 334) asserts that:
When informed by tantric views of embodiment, the physical body is understood as a sacred maṇḍala (Wylie: lus kyi dkyil).
This explicates the semiotic rationale for the nomenclature of the somatic discipline called trul khor.
The triple continua of body-voice-mind are intimately related to the Dzogchen doctrine of "sound, light and rays" (Wylie : sgra 'od zer gsum) as a passage of the rgyud bu chung bcu gnyis kyi don bstan pa ('The Teaching on the Meaning of the Twelve Child Tantras') rendered into English by Rossi (1999: p. 65) states (Tibetan provided for probity):
Barron et al. (1994, 2002: p. 159), renders from Tibetan into English, a terma "pure vision" (Wylie : dag snang) of Sri Singha by Dudjom Lingpa that describes the Dzogchen state of 'formal meditative equipoise' (Tibetan: nyam-par zhag-pa) which is the indivisible fulfillment of vipaśyanā and śamatha, Sri Singha states:
Just as water, which exists in a naturally free-flowing state, freezes into ice under the influence of a cold wind, so the ground of being exists in a naturally free state, with the entire spectrum of samsara established solely by the influence of perceiving in terms of identity.
Understanding this fundamental nature, you give up the three kinds of physical activity--good, bad, and neutral--and sit like a corpse in a charnal ground, with nothing needing to be done. You likewise give up the three kinds of verbal activity, remaining like a mute, as well as the three kinds of mental activity, resting without contrivance like the autumn sky free of the three polluting conditions.
Vajrayana sometimes refers to a fourth body called the svābhāvikakāya (Tibetan : ངོ་བོ་ཉིད་ཀྱི་སྐུ, Wylie : ngo bo nyid kyi sku) "essential body", and to a fifth body, called the mahāsūkhakāya (Wylie : bde ba chen po'i sku, "great bliss body"). The svābhāvikakāya is simply the unity or non-separateness of the three kayas. The term is also known in Gelug teachings, where it is one of the assumed two aspects of the dharmakāya: svābhāvikakāya "essence body" and jñānakāya "body of wisdom". Haribhadra claims that the Abhisamayalankara describes Buddhahood through four kāyas in chapter 8: svābhāvikakāya, [jñāna]dharmakāya, sambhogakāya and nirmāṇakāya.
In dzogchen teachings, "dharmakaya" means the buddha-nature's absence of self-nature, that is, its emptiness of a conceptualizable essence, its cognizance or clarity is the sambhogakaya, and the fact that its capacity is 'suffused with self-existing awareness' is the nirmanakaya.
The interpretation in Mahamudra is similar: When the mahamudra practices come to fruition, one sees that the mind and all phenomena are fundamentally empty of any identity; this emptiness is called dharmakāya. One perceives that the essence of mind is empty, but that it also has a potentiality that takes the form of luminosity.[ clarification needed ] In Mahamudra thought, Sambhogakāya is understood to be this luminosity. Nirmanakāya is understood to be the powerful force with which the potentiality affects living beings.
In the view of Anuyoga, the Mind Stream (Sanskrit: citta santana) is the 'continuity' (Sanskrit: santana; Wylie: rgyud) that links the Trikaya.The Trikāya, as a triune, is symbolised by the Gankyil.
A ḍākinī (Tibetan : མཁའ་འགྲོ་[མ་], Wylie : mkha' 'gro [ma]khandro[ma]) is a tantric deity described as a female embodiment of enlightened energy. The Sanskrit term is likely related to the term for drumming, while the Tibetan term means "sky goer" and may have originated in the Sanskrit khecara, a term from the Cakrasaṃvara Tantra .
Ḍākinīs can also be classified according to the trikāya theory. The dharmakāya ḍākinī, which is Samantabhadrī, represents the dharmadhatu where all phenomena appear. The sambhogakāya ḍākinī are the yidams used as meditational deities for tantric practice. The nirmanakaya ḍākinīs are human women born with special potentialities; these are realized yogini, the consorts of the gurus, or even all women in general as they may be classified into the families of the Five Tathagatas.
Dzogchen, also known as atiyoga, is a tradition of teachings in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism aimed at discovering and continuing in the ultimate ground of existence. The primordial ground is said to have the qualities of purity, spontaneity and compassion. The goal of Dzogchen is knowledge of this basis, this knowledge is called rigpa. There are numerous spiritual practices taught in the various Dzogchen systems for awakening rigpa.
Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche and the Lotus from Oḍḍiyāna, was a tantric Buddhist Vajra master from India who may have taught Vajrayana in Tibet. According to some early Tibetan sources like the Testament of Ba, he came to Tibet in the 8th century and helped construct Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet. However, little is known about the actual historical figure other than his ties to Vajrayana and Indian Buddhism.
The dharmakāya is one of the three bodies (trikāya) of a buddha in Mahāyāna Buddhism. The dharmakāya constitutes the unmanifested, "inconceivable" (acintya) aspect of a buddha out of which buddhas arise and to which they return after their dissolution. Buddhas are manifestations of the dharmakāya called the nirmāṇakāya, "transformation body".
Buddha-nature is a doctrine in Mahayana Buddhism that ordinary people are in some way inherently the same as a Buddha. Many other schools of Buddhism have related doctrines but the precise interpretations vary widely, even within the various Mahayana traditions. Buddha-nature refers to several related Buddhist terms, most notably tathāgatagarbha and buddhadhātu. Tathāgatagarbha means "the womb" or "embryo" (garbha) of the "thus-gone" (tathāgata), or "containing a tathāgata", while buddhadhātu literally means "Buddha-realm" or "Buddha-substrate".
Nyingma is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It is also often referred to as Ngangyur, "order of the ancient translations". The Nyingma school is founded on the first lineages and translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Tibetan in the eighth century, during the reign of King Trisong Detsen.
In Tibetan Buddhism, Ngöndro refers to the preliminary, preparatory or foundational practices or disciplines common to all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and also to Bon. They precede deity yoga.
Vajradhara is the ultimate primordial Buddha, or Adi-Buddha, according to the Sakya, Gelug and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
Saṃbhogakāya is the second mode or aspect of the Trikaya.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Ādi-Buddha is the "First Buddha" or the "Primordial Buddha". Another common term for this figure is Dharmakāya Buddha.
Longchen Nyingthig is a terma, revealed scripture, of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, which gives a systematic explanation of Dzogchen. It was revealed by Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798).
Dharmadhatu (Sanskrit) is the 'dimension', 'realm' or 'sphere' (dhātu) of the Dharma or Absolute Reality.
In Vajrayāna Buddhism, esoteric transmission is the transmission of certain teachings directly from teacher to student during an empowerment (abhiṣeka) in a ritual space containing the mandala of the deity. Many techniques are also commonly said to be secret, but some Vajrayana teachers have responded that secrecy itself is not important and only a side-effect of the reality that the techniques have no validity outside the teacher-student lineage.
The Gankyil or "wheel of joy" is a symbol and ritual tool used in Tibetan and East Asian Buddhism. It is composed of three swirling and interconnected blades. The traditional spinning direction is clockwise, but the counter-clockwise ones are also common.
In Dzogchen, rainbow body (Tibetan: འཇའ་ལུས་, Wylie: 'ja' lus, Jalü or Jalus) is a level of realization. This may or may not be accompanied by the 'rainbow body phenomenon'. The rainbow body phenomenon is pre-Buddhist in origin, and is a topic which has been treated fairly seriously in Tibet for centuries past and into the modern era. Other Vajrayana teachings also mention rainbow body phenomena.
In Buddhism, the Three Jewels, Triple Gem, or Three Refuges are the supports in which a Buddhist takes refuge by means of a prayer or recitation at the beginning of the day or of a practice session.
A pure land is the celestial realm of a buddha or bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism. The term "pure land" is particular to East Asian Buddhism and related traditions; in Sanskrit the equivalent concept is called a buddha-field. The various traditions that focus on pure lands have been given the nomenclature Pure Land Buddhism. Pure lands are also evident in the literature and traditions of Taoism and Bon.
Samantabhadri is a dakini and female Buddha from the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition. She is the consort and female counterpart of Samantabhadra, known amongst some Tibetan Buddhists as the 'Primordial Buddha'. Samantabhadri herself is known as the 'primordial Mother Buddha'. Samantabhadri is the dharmakaya dakini aspect of the Trikaya, or three bodies of a Buddha. As such, Samantabhadri represents the aspect of Buddhahood in whom delusion and conceptual thought have never arisen. As font or wellspring of the aspects of the divine feminine she may be understood as the 'Great Mother'. Seen differently, Samantabhadri is an aspect of Prajnaparamita.
Nirmāṇakāya is the third aspect of the trikāya and the physical manifestation of a Buddha in time and space. In Vajrayāna it is described as "the dimension of ceaseless manifestation."
In classical Buddhist Cosmology, Akaniṣṭha is the highest of the Pure Abodes, and thus the highest of all the form realms. It is the realm where devas like Maheśvara live.
In Dzogchen, the view is one of the Three Dharmas of the Path of Dzogchen. The other two dharmas of the path are practice (gompa) and conduct (chöpa).