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: 77

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 2019

Subscribe to ITZI Conference Newsletter

* indicates required

Blog Posts

More Will Be Revealed!!

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on November 5, 2018 at 12:46 1 Comment

Adjusting to the extreme contrast between India and England has been a truly enlightening experience for me and I will probably be processing it psychologically for quite a while to come! 

It is impossible not to be affected by the seething mass of raw energy that flows endlessly there, seemingly toward no apparent goal except pure survival. It often seemed like hell…

Continue

MARY MIDGLEY

Posted by David Brazier on October 21, 2018 at 17:25 1 Comment

Born: September 13, 1919, London, United Kingdom

Died: October 10, 2018

Mary was a dear friend and inspiration. I first met her when she came to a meditation class I was leading. Her husband had recently died and she was grieving. She did not need meditation, she just needed to grieve and that be OK, which it definitely was, but she continued to come to meetings and made a…

Continue

Running a Course in Korea and Elsewhere

Posted by David Brazier on August 3, 2018 at 1:40 2 Comments

I am currently leading courses on Buddhist psychology here in Seoul, Korea, but as I am putting the course onto this site as we go along, members of La Ville au Roi (Eleusis) are also responding so it is a bit as though the course is going on in several countries at the same time which is nice.

Varlam Shalamov

Posted by Geeta Chari on July 16, 2018 at 0:00 1 Comment

From The Paris Review:

For fifteen years the writer Varlam Shalamov was imprisoned in the Gulag for participating in “counter-revolutionary Trotskyist activities.” He endured six of those years enslaved in the gold mines of Kolyma, one of the coldest and most hostile places on earth. While he was awaiting sentencing, one of his short stories was…

Continue

© 2018   Created by David Brazier.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service