Three kayas

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Three kayas (Skt. trikāya; Tib. སྐུ་གསུམ་, ku sum, Wyl. sku gsum) — the three 'bodies' of a buddha according to the Mahayana tradition. They are the:

  1. dharmakaya,
  2. sambhogakaya and
  3. nirmanakaya.

They relate not only to the truth in us, as three aspects of the true nature of mind, but to the truth in everything. Everything we perceive around us is nirmanakaya; its nature, light or energy is sambhogakaya; and its inherent truth, the dharmakaya.

Canonical Literature



Further Reading

  • Philippe Cornu, Manuel de bouddhisme — Philosophie, pratique et histoire. Tome II, Bouddhisme Mahāyāna (Editions Rangdröl, 2019), pages 66-75.
  • Paul Harrison, “Is the Dharma-kāya the Real ‘Phantom Body’ of the Buddha?” In The Journal of the International Association for Buddhist Studies Vol. 15 No 1, 1992. pp 44-94.
  • John Makransky, Buddhahood Embodied: Sources of Controversy in India and Tibet. SUNY Series in Buddhist Studies (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997)
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying revised and updated edition (HarperSanFrancisco and London: Rider, 2002), pages 346-347.
  • Thinley Norbu, The Small Golden Key (Shambhala Publications, 1999), pages 68-93.

Teachings Given to the About Rigpa Sangha

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