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3 Bodies(Enlightened Properties) In A Single Buddha

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Posted by Glenn on December 19, 2003 12:00:47 UTC

Perhaps, you could say that in making correlation of trinity in Chirtianity.

Three Bodies(Sanskrit, trikaya) also called the three properties or three enlightened properties. Three kinds of body which a Buddha may possess. A concept adopted in Mahayana to organize different concepts of the Buddha appearing in the sutras. The three bodies are: (1) The Dharma body or body of the Law (Sanskrit, dharma-kaya; Japanese, hosshin). The fundamental truth or Law to which the Buddha is enlightened. (2) The bliss body (Sanskrit, sambhoga-kaya; Japanese, hoshin), sometimes called the reward body, which is obtained as the reward of completing bodhisattva practice and having understood the Buddha wisdom. Unlike the Dharma body, which is immaterial, the bliss body is conceived of as an actual body, although one that is transcendent and imperceptible to common mortals. (3) The manifested body (Sanskrit, nirmana-kaya; Japanese, ojin), or the physical form in which the Buddha in which the Buddha appears in this world in order to save the people. T'ien-t'ai distinguishes two types of manifested body, the inferior manifested body (Japanese, retsu-ojin), or the Buddha who appears for the sake of common mortals, men of the two vehicles and bodhisattvas who have not yet reached the first stage of development (the forty-first stage of bodhisattva practice), and the superior manifested body (Japanese, sho-ojin), or the Buddha who appears for the sake of bodhisattvas at the first stage of development or beyond. Interpretations of the three bodies differ considerably from one school to another. Generally, it was held that the three could exist separately. For example, the Shingon sect holds that Dainichi is a Buddha in the Dharma-body aspect, and that Shakyamuni is a Buddha in the manifested-body aspect. Amida is regarded as a Buddha in the bliss-body aspect.

However, on the basis of the Lotus Sutra and the principle of ichinen sanzen(three thousand realms in a single life-moment or thought) which is derived from it, T'ien-t'ai maintained that the three bodies are not separate entities but three integral aspects of on Buddha which in the Lotus Sutra that Shakyamuni reveals that ALL phenomena possess each of the Three Properties at the same time. In this sense, the translation "three properties" is often used. The three properties are: (1) the property of the Law (Japanese, hosshin), or the essential property of the Buddha's life, which is the truth to which the Buddha is enlightened; (2) the property of wisdom (Japanese, hoshin), or the spiritual property of the Buddha's life, which enables the Buddha to perceive the truth; and (3) the property of action (Japanese, ojin), or the physical property of the Buddha's life. The property of action is the Buddha's body with which he carries out compassionate actions to save people, or these actions themselves. In discussing the passage in the Life-Span of the Thus Cone One(sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra that reads: "Listen well and hear the Tathagata's secret and his mystic power," T'ien-t'ai in the Hokke Mongu interprets the word "secret" to mean that a single Buddha possesses all three properties (Japanese, isshin soku sanjin) and the three properties are all found within a single Buddha.

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