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: 86

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

ITZI Conference 2019

Subscribe to ITZI Conference Newsletter

* indicates required

Blog Posts

GROUP

Posted by David Brazier on January 11, 2019 at 9:43 3 Comments

I’ve always been interested in groupwork. Recently I’ve been facilitating a rather challenging group. It includes an older man who is enjoying his retirement, an outdoor type who does not say so much but clearly regards the other members as wimps, a writer who has an irritating obsession with etymology, one I think of as the wanderer whose life problem seems to be that of never having learnt to settle down, who tells endless entertaining stories of travels, love affairs and so on, and I was…

Continue

Sense on Brexit

Posted by Geeta Chari on December 16, 2018 at 18:51 0 Comments

https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2018/12/13/full-speech-sir-ivan-rogers-on-brexit/

I found this piece tremendously sensible, well-reasoned, and above all, realistic.

LONG JOURNEY

Posted by David Brazier on December 14, 2018 at 18:52 6 Comments

Carol drove me into Ottawa at midday on Wednesday 12th. I had spent the morning being interviewed and making a short film. In Ottawa we had lunch at the vegetarian restaurant and then went on to the airport where she dropped me off. I was to take a local plane to Montreal then fly to Paris and on to Bilbao in Spain with Air France, due to arrive at nine in the morning local time the following day. F would meet me in Spain and take me back to stay with him in a village near Vittoria.…

Continue

MY REAL LIFE

Posted by David Brazier on December 8, 2018 at 15:00 4 Comments

I'd like to try to say something about real life, which is the only thing that is really interesting.

I have been a bookworm ever since I learnt to read, which was not until I was seven years old. By that time I had already had important spiritual experiences. I was a rather odd child. Many ideas went through my head that tended to set me apart from other children.

Now,…

Continue

© 2019   Created by David Brazier.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service