Three kayas

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PadmaVonSamba
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Three kayas

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

After many years, I have yet to find a really clear explanation of the meaning of
Dharmakaya
Nirmanakaya
Sambhogakaya

—always it seems the terms are referenced in one context or another, with the same terms being used to express different things, and while I understand their use in those specific contexts, I’m looking for a good stand-alone definition for each of these terms.

Or, they are given literal but vague translations such as “truth body” and “enjoyment body”. Like, what does that even mean?

What’s the best teaching/explanation you’ve found?
EMPTIFUL.
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Re: Three kayas

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:38 pm

What’s the best teaching/explanation you’ve found?
Essence, Nature and Energy from the Dzogchen teaching, which correspond.

IIRC ChNN discusses in Crystal and The Way of Light which is quite brilliant, and was full of "aha" moments on things like this for me.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Three kayas

Post by Caoimhghín »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:38 pm What’s the best teaching/explanation you’ve found?
As I've heard, the nirmanakaya is a physical body with which a Buddha interacts with coarse matter. It is compounded and dies. Makes sense. The sambhogakaya is the reward, the fruition, of the extraordinary merit of buddhatva. It is like a glorious deva body. It is the dharmakaya that is tricky IMO. What "is" it? The naked mind? That seems too simple.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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Re: Three kayas

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Caoimhghín wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:03 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:38 pm What’s the best teaching/explanation you’ve found?
As I've heard, the nirmanakaya is a physical body with which a Buddha interacts with coarse matter. It is compounded and dies. Makes sense. The sambhogakaya is the reward, the fruition, of the extraordinary merit of buddhatva. It is like a glorious deva body. It is the dharmakaya that is tricky IMO. What "is" it? The naked mind? That seems too simple.
We can get a little closer maybe by realizing "the naked mind" or whatever term you want to use is non-differentiated from the emptiness of all phenomena.

I think It's also worth contemplating, at heart none of these are just about a discrete "Buddha" per se in anything but the most exoteric teaching. They are descriptions of aspects of reality, which is actually beyond limitations and categories, so conceptualizing always has it's limitations.

From a practical standpoint, the three kayas are present in the state of the indvidual, and can be..."experienced" as limited a term as that might be, recognized is maybe a better term?
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Three kayas

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

When we are speaking about our ordinary existence, we talk about “body, speech, and mind”, meaning the physical, communicative, and mental.

When we change to speaking about enlightened existence the order is reversed: mental, communication, and physical, such as: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.
Or, on an esoteric level, Dharmakaya, Sambogakaya, Nirmanakaya.

Dharmakaya can be said to be the enlightened nature of your own mind, or the nature of Reality. It depends on who you talk to.
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Re: Three kayas

Post by Malcolm »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:38 pm After many years, I have yet to find a really clear explanation of the meaning of
Dharmakaya
Nirmanakaya
Sambhogakaya
From a sutra point of view, the Abhisamayalamkara has the best definition. From a sarma point of view, you can find good explanations of the seven limbs of the kayas in several Sakya, Kagyu, or Gelug texts. In nyingma, look no further than longchenpa.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: Three kayas

Post by Malcolm »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:13 am
From a practical standpoint, the three kayas are present in the state of the indvidual, and can be..."experienced" as limited a term as that might be, recognized is maybe a better term?
This the trikaya of the basis, not the result.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: Three kayas

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Malcolm wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:59 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:13 am
From a practical standpoint, the three kayas are present in the state of the indvidual, and can be..."experienced" as limited a term as that might be, recognized is maybe a better term?
This the trikaya of the basis, not the result.
I don't recall the distinction between the two at the moment, at least not in way that's immediately obvious to me, can you elaborate please?
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Three kayas

Post by Malcolm »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:02 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:59 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:13 am
From a practical standpoint, the three kayas are present in the state of the indvidual, and can be..."experienced" as limited a term as that might be, recognized is maybe a better term?
This the trikaya of the basis, not the result.
I don't recall the distinction between the two at the moment, at least not in way that's immediately obvious to me, can you elaborate please?
The trikaya of the basis is the potential for the three kayas of the result, but that potential has not manifested its qualities. Mahamudra and Lamdre present a similar idea.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Re: Three kayas

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:24 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:02 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:59 am

This the trikaya of the basis, not the result.
I don't recall the distinction between the two at the moment, at least not in way that's immediately obvious to me, can you elaborate please?
The trikaya of the basis is the potential for the three kayas of the result, but that potential has not manifested its qualities. Mahamudra and Lamdre present a similar idea.
I get that, but how do you distinguish the Trikaya of the result, simply saying that the qualities which were potential are manifest in the result, aka Buddhahood? I mean, it seems that nine times out of ten when we want to talk about the Trikaya, we can only do so from the point of view of potentiality.

I don't remember how this distinction is made in Dzogchen or Mahamudra, in particular, other than the obvious as above, that's why I'm asking.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Three kayas

Post by Virgo »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:29 am I get that, but how do you distinguish the Trikaya of the result, simply saying that the qualities which were potention are manifest in the result, aka Buddhahood? I mean, it seems that nine times out of ten when we want to talk about the Trikaya, we can only do so from the point of view of a potentiality.

I don't remember how this distinction is made in Dzogchen or Mahamudra, in particular, other than the obvious, that's why I'm asking.
We don't really have to distinguish anything except mind and rigpa experientially - and then die. Then you have manifestation that you are looking for.

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Re: Three kayas

Post by Malcolm »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:29 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:24 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:02 am

I don't recall the distinction between the two at the moment, at least not in way that's immediately obvious to me, can you elaborate please?
The trikaya of the basis is the potential for the three kayas of the result, but that potential has not manifested its qualities. Mahamudra and Lamdre present a similar idea.
I get that, but how do you distinguish the Trikaya of the result, simply saying that the qualities which were potential are manifest in the result, aka Buddhahood? I mean, it seems that nine times out of ten when we want to talk about the Trikaya, we can only do so from the point of view of potentiality.

I don't remember how this distinction is made in Dzogchen or Mahamudra, in particular, other than the obvious as above, that's why I'm asking.
The dharmakaya of the basis is the emptiness of the mind, the dharmakaya of the result is the omniscience from realizing that emptiness, for example.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Re: Three kayas

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Malcolm wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:49 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:29 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:24 am

The trikaya of the basis is the potential for the three kayas of the result, but that potential has not manifested its qualities. Mahamudra and Lamdre present a similar idea.
I get that, but how do you distinguish the Trikaya of the result, simply saying that the qualities which were potential are manifest in the result, aka Buddhahood? I mean, it seems that nine times out of ten when we want to talk about the Trikaya, we can only do so from the point of view of potentiality.

I don't remember how this distinction is made in Dzogchen or Mahamudra, in particular, other than the obvious as above, that's why I'm asking.
The dharmakaya of the basis is the emptiness of the mind, the dharmakaya of the result is the omniscience from realizing that emptiness, for example.
Thanks.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Three kayas

Post by Tao »

An interpretation derived from my readings

Dharmakaya is the knowledge of the buddhist truths, completly realized. Like Anatman or Sunyata.

So Dharmakaya is the buddha mind that knows all the truths. And that's buddhahood, the other two bodies are derived from this. It's wisdom. It's the mind that holds all that realizations. That's the name: the truth body.

Sambogakaya is the "felt buddha", like bliss, or emanations, or dreams or other inner consequences (all inner consequences) of Budhahood, that is wisdom so it's in the end a consequence of the Dharmakaya, so it's a secondary body. And somewhere between mind and the conventional world. It's the enjoyement body, bliss an Nirvana happen here. Wisdom itself, cannot "feel" (bliss or not bliss). It's wisdom. So bliss happens in another body.

And Nirmanakaya is the actings in the world of the physical body of Buddha, mostly derived from wisdom (Dharmakaya) and how buddha feels (Sambogakaya). So it's a secondary or terciary body. It lives in the conventional world. The buddhas operate in the world from here. Including, I think, use of intelect and reasoning.

There're three and not one, just because is not an Atman, but the contrary. They're not one. So we call them "bodies".
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Re: Three kayas

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Sometimes Sambogakaya and Nirmanakaya are grouped together as the “form kayas”. They manifest as appearance.

Dharmakaya is formless. It doesn’t manifest as appearances.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
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Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
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Re: Three kayas

Post by haha »

Mahayanasamgraha chapter ten (i.e. the wisdom that is the result of the training) has detail exposition about Kayas. It also gives some lights how the tantra has integrated these concepts in empowerment.

Characteristic, realization and attainment, mastery, support, constitution, distinction, good qualities, profundity, recollection, and activity. These [are the themes that] clarify the Buddha bodies.

From BDK English Tripitaka
The Dharma body is characterized as the conversion of support, as being composed of radiant qualities, nonduality, eternity, and inconceivability.

Check out The Summary of the Great Vehicle Translated by John P. Keenan BDK English Tripitaka 46-III Chapter X for detail.
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Re: Three kayas

Post by Aemilius »

The best explanation is that there is no perceiver-independent object anywhere in the world. And thus, if you are on the level of the Deva-realms, you will perceive a heavenly, shining and brilliant body of the Buddha. Apply this principle to the bodhisattva bhumis, and you will get the Sambhoghakaya and the other kayas. Or apply it to the six realms in the world of becoming, and you wil also get differently perceived Buddha-objects or kayas.
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Re: Three kayas

Post by Virgo »

Virgo wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:34 am [
We don't really have to distinguish anything except mind and rigpa experientially - and then die. Then you have manifestation that you are looking for.

Virgo
We also have to put forth great effort towards enlightenment, of course. This was a specific Dzogchen point that I was making.
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Re: Three kayas

Post by taleen »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:38 pm After many years, I have yet to find a really clear explanation of the meaning of
Dharmakaya
Nirmanakaya
Sambhogakaya

What’s the best teaching/explanation you’ve found?
I think that a pretty good explanation was given here -

https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.p ... 95#p542995
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