QUESTION: As a vow 22 student, just starting., I've been asked to look at the trikaya and make some comments. I'm researching the answer but find many answers on the subject. Not all the same and can differ considerably.
Could you give me your interpretation of the Trikaya and what each means to you?

SHORT ANSWER: Nirmanakaya = the Buddha appearing in the world; Sambhogakaya = the Buddha appearing in spiritual form; Dharmakaya = the ultimate nature of Buddha

LONGER ANSWER: The spiritual life is grounded upon our experience through the senses and intuition. We encounter teachers who act within the practical world; we have spiritual experiences, often as a function of such meetings; and we have an unavoidable intuition of a beyond - the ultimate, infinite, unconditional - that Buddha sometimes calls the Unborn, sometimes the Deathless. This is metaphysics, but it is very practical in that it designates our experience. Experience goes beyond the merely empirical. Our experience of the transient world inevitably generates our intuition of what is not impermanent - nirvana. However, we find ourselves stuck in samsara. Spiritual life actually occurs in the tension between the two - the space of spirituality - the sambhogakaya. This is the realm of visions, dreams, and profound awakenings. Amida Buddha is sambhogakaya.

There is some correspondence between trikaya and the Christian trinity. God the father (Dharmakaya) is beyond our ken. God the Son (Nirmanakaya) appears in the world, teaches, relates, and engages in human life in the material world. The Holy Spirit (Sambhogakaya) thus descends upon those with faith and empowers them to go forth in apostolic mission. This is very similar to the Buddhist principle.

Those who presume to know more than can be known about the absolute are dogmatists. Those that seek to deny the absolute are sceptics. Buddhism is a middle way. Neither dogmatists nor sceptics can experience a real spiritual life. The sambhogakaya is inaccessible to them because of, on the one hand, rigidity of pre-judgement and on the other negativity of faith.

In East Asia Buddhism revolves around sambhogakaya, not just in Pureland but in the generality of the main schools. In the West there has been such an emphasis upon the historicity of Shakyamuni that many practitioners have lost touch with the spiritual level and made Buddhism into either a technical practice (which turns it into a kind of mental keep-fit) or a moral system (which puts the emphasis upon conformity rather than discovery, doctrine rather than wisdom). Buddhism has techniques and morals but they are not the core of the Dharma.

Views: 39

Replies to This Discussion

Thank you your answer has helped me a great deal. It has also given me more to think about. I had perceived the trikaya as in the short answer. I believe my problem may well be trying to over analyse and understand far more than I will be able to.

RSS

Events

ITZI Conference 2017

Blog Posts

RENCONTRE AVEC LAMA WANGMO EN JUIN

Posted by David Brazier on February 22, 2017 at 14:32 0 Comments

Rencontre entre David Brazier & LN Wangmo

les 10 & 11 juin 2017

à Saint-Martin-Lestra…

Continue

Quarantine.

Posted by Adam Dunsby on February 22, 2017 at 13:19 2 Comments

It’s funny what goes through your mind when you spend several hours walking round in circles chanting! In my experience it can be as mundane as thinking about the person who laid the carpet, or as profound as contemplating the significance of spiritual practice. Here’s what came up for me in our most recent session:

In a few billion years the sun will burn out and it’s gravitational mass will be reduced to the point where it can no longer maintain it’s influence on the…

Continue

A lovely greeting from Tibet

Posted by Sujatin Johnson on February 22, 2017 at 13:17 0 Comments

© 2017   Created by David Brazier.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service