The Doctrine of Kaya in Hinayana and Mahayana

By Nalinaksha Dutt
The Indian Historical Quarterly
vol 5:3, Setptember, 1929, pp. 518-546

p. 518 One of the points of difference between the Hinayana and Mahayana schools noticed by the Saddharma-Pundarika, viz., that Buddha makes a show of his existence in the three dhatus leads us to an examination of the question of the Kayas of Buddha as conceived by the Hinayanists and the Mahayanists. Of the Hinayana schools, the Sthaviravadins had very little to do with the Kaya conceptions, as Buddha was to them an actual man living in this world like any other human being and subject to all the frailties of a mortal body. Metaphorically they sometimes spoke of Buddha as identical with Dhamma without any metaphysical implication but these remarks gave opportunity to the Sarvastivadins and the Mahayanists to put forth their theories of Dharmakaya. The Sarvastivadins commenced speculating on the kaya of Buddha. but it was the school of the Mahasanghikas that took up the question of kaya in right earnest and paved the way for the speculations of the Mahayanists. The early Mahayanists, whose doctrines are mostly to be found in the Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita, along with the school of Nagarjuna conceived of two kayas: (i) Rupa- (or Nirmana-) kaya, which included bodies, gross and subtle, meant for beings in general, and (ii) Dharmakaya, which was used in two senses, one being the body of Dharma (i.e. collection of practices) which makes a being a Buddha, and the other the metaphysical principle underlying the universe-- the Reality. The Yogacara school distinguished the gross rupakaya from the subtle rupakaya, calling the former Rupa or Nirmana-kaya and the latter Sambhogakaya. The Lankavatara, representing the earliest stage of the Yogacara conception, calls the Sambhoga-kaya Nisyanda Buddha or Dharmata-nisyanda Buddha (the Buddha produced by the Dharmas). The Sutralankara uses the term Sambhogakaya for Nisyanda Buddha and Svabhavikakaya for Dharmakaya.(1) In the Abhisamayalankarakarika and the recast version of the Pancavimsati-sahasrika Prainaparamita, Sambhogakaya denotes the subtle body, which the Buddhas adopted for preaching their doctrines to Bodhisattvas, _____________ 1 Sutra., pp. 45, 188. p. 519 and Dharmakaya the body purified by the practice of the bodhipaksika and other dharmas, which make a Buddha. For the metaphysical Dharmakaya they use the term Svabhava or Svabhavikakaya. The Vijnaptimatrata-siddhi retains the conception of the Karika but adopts a new term, Svasambhagakaya, to denote the Dharmakaya of the Karika and distinguishes the Sambhogakaya by calling it Parasambhogakaya. Realistic Conception of Buddha in the Nikayas In a land where the tendency to deify saints is so strong, it is greatly to the credit of the early Hinayanists that they were able to retain the human conception of Buddha even a century or two after his actual existence, when the scriptures may be regarded as having been put into a definite shape. They gave expression to their conception of Buddha in the following words, occurring in the Nikayas: Bhagava araham sammasambuddho vijjacaranasampanno sugato lokavidu anuttaro purisadammasarathi sattha devamanussanam buddho bhagava. So imam lokam sadevakam samarakam sabrahmakam sassamanabrahmanim pajam sadevamanussam sayam abhinna sacchikatva pavedeti. So dhammam deseti adikalyanam, etc. (`The Blessed one is an arahat, a fully awakened one, endowed with knowledge and good conduct, happy, a knower of the world, unsurpassed, a leader able to control men, a teacher of men and gods, the awakened, the blessed. He knows thoroughly the worlds of gods, maras, recluses, brahmins and men, and having known them he makes his knowledge known to others. He preaches the dhamma (doctrines), which is excellent in the beginning, middle and end," etc).(1) A description like this does not suggest that Buddha was originally more than a man, a mortal, In the cosmology of the Buddhists, the gods of the various heavens, the highest of which is Brahmaloka,(2) are only beings of superior merit and power, but they are inferior, in the matter of spiritual attainments, to the saints or arahats. So in this description the Hinayanists do not attribute any transcendental or theistic element to Buddha. All they say is that Sakyamuni by pure ______________ 1 This passage occurs in many places of the Nikayas, see, e.g, Digha, I, pp. 87-88; cf. Lal. Vis., p. 3; Sad, P., pp. 144, 376. 2 In the Mahayanic works also, as for instance in the Dasa., it is stated that a Bodhisattva can become a Mahabrahman in the ninth bhumi if he so wishes. p. 520 and simple spiritual culture in this life and as a result of the accumulated merits of his previous lives, reached the highest stage of perfection and attained not only knowledge and power superior to any man or god but also the highest knowledge and power attainable. In the Majjhima Nikaya, Ananda explains why Buddha should be considered superior to the Arhats as well, although both arrived at the same goal. He says that there is not a single bhikkhu, who can be regarded as endowed with all the qualities in all their forms as possessed by Buddha. Moreover, a Buddha is the originator of the path not existing before, a knower and promulgator of the marga, which is only followed by the savakas.(1) Nikaya Passages admitting a non-realistic Conception In the face of such descriptions of Buddha, it would have been difficult for the later Hinayana schools to sublimate the human elements in him, had it not been for certain expressions in some of the earlier works of the Pitaka, which lent themselves to other interpretations. Some of these expressions are:- 1. `Yo vo Ananda maya dhammo ca vinayo ca desito pannatto so vo mam' accayena sattha. (Buddha said to Ananda just before his parinibbana `the dhamma and vinaya that have been preached by me will be your teacher after my death.').(2) The dhamma and vinaya clearly refer to the collection of doctrines and disciplinary rules delivered by Buddha' This is also evident from the conversation of Ananda with Gopaka-Moggallana, where the former explains why the monks after Buddha's death should not be considered as without refuge (appatisarana). He says that they have now a refuge in Dhamma (dhammapatisarana), which, he points out, are the doctrines and disciplinary rules.(3) 2. Bhagavato' mhi putto oraso mukhato jato dhammajo dhammanimmito dhammadayado iti.(4) Tam kissa hetu? Tathagatassa h' etam _________________ 1 Majjhima, III, p. 8. 2 Digha, II, p.154; Milinda, p. 99. 3 Majjhima, Gopaka-Moggallana Sutta (No, 108). Cf. Saddhamma Sangaha (JPTS., 1890), ch.x, p.65: Buddha says "84,000 dham makkhandhas have been preached by me in 45 years. I alone only pass away while there are 84,000 dhammakkhandhas which like 84,000 Buddhas (buddha-sadisa) will admonish you." 4 Samyutta, II, p, 221; Majjhima, III, p. 29 has the identical p. 521 adhivacanam. Dhammakayo iti pi Brahmakayo iti pi. Dhammabhuto iti piti. "Just as a brahmana would say that he is born of Brahma, through his mouth--Brahmuno putta orasa mukhato jata brahmaja brahmanimmita brahmadayada--so a Sakyaputtiya-samana may say that he is born of Bhagava, through his mouth, born of his doctrine, made of his doctrine, etc.(1) Though in this passage Dhamma is equated with Brahma, the context shows that there is no metaphysical sense in it; it is only to draw a parallel between a brahmana and a Sakyaputtiya-samana that Dhammakaya is equated with Brahmakaya. 3. Vakkali on his death-bed became very eager to see Buddha in person; so Bhagava came to him and said "Alam Vakkali kim te putikayena ditthena. Yo kho Vakkali dhammam passati so mam passati. Yo mam passati so dhammam passati." Just after saying this, Buddha referred to his dhamma of impermanence (anicca). There are in the Nikayas many passages of this import, which may well be taken as precursors of the later Mahayanic conceptions and probably formed the basis of their speculations. But the passages when read as they stand do not appear to bear any metaphysical sense. In this passage Buddha refers to his body as putikaya (body of impure matter), and to lay stress on his doctrines he says that his dhamma should be looked upon with the same awe and reverence by his disciples as they regard his person.(2) ________________________ passage with the addition "no amisadayado" after dhammadayado." For the interpretation of "dhammadayado" see Majjhima, I, pp. 12f. 1 Majjhima, II, p. 84; Digha, III, p. 84; Majjhima, III, pp. 195, 224 has ''Bhagava janam janati passam passati cakkhubhuto nanabhuto dhammabhuto". 2 Samyutta, III, p.120; Majjhima, I, pp. 190, 191: Yo paticcasamuppadam passati so dhammam passati yo dhammam passati so paticcasamuppadam passati. For other references, see Prof. Vallee Poussin's article "Notes sur les Corps du Bouddha" in Le Museon, 1913, pp. 259-290. Compare the remarks in the later Pali works,-- Saddhamma Sangaha (JPTS., 1890), p. 61: Yo me passati saddhammam so mam passati Vakkali Apassamano saddhammam mam passe pi na passati. Milinda, p. 71: yo dhammam passati so bhagavantam passati, dhammo hi maharaja bhagavata desito ti. Ibid,, p. 73: Dhammakayena pana kho maharaja sakka bhagava nidassetum, dhammo hi maharaja bhagavata desito ti. p. 522 4. The passage in the Anguttara Nikaya,(1) where Buddha says that he is neither a god, nor a gandhabba, nor a man, has been taken by Prof. Masson-Oursel(2) as showing trace of the Mahayanic kaya conceptions. It is not impossible to read some metaphysical ideas into the passage, though probably the compiler of the Suttas did not mean to convey them. Dona brahmana, noticing the sign of the wheel in the feet of Buddha, enquired of him whether he was a deva, a gandhabba, a yakkha or a mortal. Buddha replied that he was none of these beings as he had got rid of the asavas (impurities) by the continuance of which one remains a deva, gandhabba, yakkha or mortal. Just as a lotus is born in water, grows in it but remains above and is apart from it, so also Buddha was born in the world, grew up in it but overcame it (abhibhuyya) and lived unaffected by the same. Therefore, he asked the brahmana not to regard him as anything but Buddha. There are other passages referring to the miraculous powers of Buddha, viz., his ability to live a kalpa or to assume different forms and perform such other miracles; but it will be noticed that these powers were attributed not to Buddha alone but also to his disciples in general, who bad been able to attain the higher stages of sanctification.(3) Kaya-conceptions of the Theravadins remained unchanged Even if it be assumed that the Mahayanic ideas are latent in the above-mentioned expressions though not adequately expressed, the discussion in the Kathavatthu to establish the historical existence of Buddha as against those who denied it, and the manner in which references were made to the events of Buddha's life as depicted in the Nikayas leaves no vestige of doubt about the opinion of the Theravadins regarding the kaya of Buddha.(4) ________________________ 1 Anguttara, II, p. 38. 2 Prof. Masson-Oursel in his article "Les trois Corps du Bouddha" J. A., 1913, pp. 581ff. 3 See Kosa, II, 10 (also for references in the Nikayas), 4 K.V. xvii, I: The Vetulyakas held on the basis of the passage cited above (no. 4) that 'it is not right to say that `the exalted Buddha lived in the world of mankind.' The Theravadins did not agree with them. Buddhaghosa also pointed out how the passage should be interpreted. p. 523 Though the terms rupakaya and dharmakaya found their way into the later Pali works(1) from Mahayana or semi-Mahayana works, they did not bring with them any non-realistic sense. Buddhaghosa even as late as the fifth century A.C. refers thus to the kayas: "yo pi so Bhagava asiti anuvyanjanapatimandita- dvattimsamahapurisalakkhana-vicitra-rupakayo sabbakaraparisuddha-silakkhandhadi-gunaratana- samiddha-dhammakayo yasamahatta-punnamahatta..... appatipuggalo araham sammasambuddho (`that Bhagava, who is possessed of a beautiful rupakaya, adorned with eighty minor signs and thirty-two major signs of a great man, and possessed of a dharmakaya purified in every way and glorified by sila, samadhi, etc.(2), full of splendour and virtue, incomparable and fully awakened').(3) In short, the early Hinayanists conceived the Buddha's rupakaya as that of a human being,(4) and his dhammakaya as the collection of his dhammas, i.e, doctrines and disciplinary rules collectively. Conception of the Sarvastivadins The other school, the Sarvastivadins, who retained the realistic conception of Buddha, differed a little from the Theravadins. Unfortunately their original Pitakas in Sanskrit are lost beyond recovery and we have to depend for our information about them on the few fragmentary pieces of their literature discovered in Central Asia, or on the Chinese translations of their Agamas, in which again very little spade-work has yet been done.(5) Our main source of information at present is the Abhidharmakosa, made accessible to us from Chinese by the monumental translation in French by Prof. Vallee _________________________________ 1 See e.g, Sad. San. (JPTS.) 1890, p. 69: Sambuddhanam dve kaya rupakayo siridharo/ Yo tehi desito dhammo dhammakayo ti vuccati// 2 The five khandhas referred to here are, sila, samadhi, panna, vimutti and vimuttinanadassana. See Mil., p. 98, 3 Vism., P. 234; Atthasalini, p.13: 'Nimittabuddha'; Jataka, I, p. 84: 'Rupakayasiri'. 4 See Prof, Vallee Poussin's Bouddisme, pp, 232f. 5 Dr. Chizen Akanuma (Eastern Buddhist, II, p. 7) quotes some passages from the Chinese Anguttara and Samyukta Agamas and shows that the dharmakaya of Buddha denoted the collection of dharmas (teachings). p. 524 Poussin. The Kosa, again, it should be noted, is the work of a systematiser and the production of a time much later than that of the Agamas, to which it bears the same relation as the Visuddhimagga does to the Pail Pitakas. As the present state of our knowledge indicates that the Divyavadana and the Lalitavistara(1) originally belonged to this school, though they were recast by the Mahayanists, we must examine with caution some of the statements found in them: regarding the kaya conception. (i) Divyavadana There are a few passages in the Divyavadana throwing light on the rupakaya and dharmakaya of Buddha and bearing the identical sense of the Pali works. On one occasion Srona Kotikarna said that, through the grace of his teacher, he had seen the dharmakaya of Buddha, but as he was anxious to see the rupakaya, he wanted to go to the place where Buddha was living at the time.(2) Upagupta once said to Mara that he had seen the dharmakaya only and requested him to show him the rupakaya. Mara thereupon made an image (vigraha) of Buddha replete with all the major and minor signs of great men.(3) In the answer that king Rudrayana gave to Bimbisara that "na rajan krpano loke dharmakayena samsprset" (let not, O King, an irreligious person(4) attain (lit. touch) the dharmakaya), the word "dharmakaya" may bear a metaphysical interpretation but the context does not warrant it.(5) The remark made by Asoka, after Upagupta had pointed out to him the stupa of Ananda' makes the sense of dharmakaya quite explicit. It runs thus: 'That body which you all call pure, excellent and made of dharma (dharmatmano dharmamayo) was borne (dharitam) by him called Visoka (=Ananda) and therefore his stupa deserves great honour. The lamp of dharma, the dispeller of the darkness of afflictions that burnt still among men was due to the power of him, the son of Sugatendra, and therefore, should be worshipped with special reverence.(6) _________________________ 1 Winternitz, Geschichte etc., II, p. 194. 2 Divya., p. 19. 3 Divya., p. 360. 4 Ibid., p, 560.: krpana is defined thus: yas tu dharmaviragartham adharme nirato nrpah/ sa rajan krpano jneyas tamastamahparayanah// 5 Ibid. p. 560. 6 Divya,, pp, 396-7. Cf. Przyluski, Asoka, p.408: In connection p. 525 There are, however, Avadanas in the Divyavadana, which were not without same Mahayanic tint, for, we read in the Rudrayanavadana,(1) as we usually find in the Mahayanic works, that rays of light issued forth from Buddha'(5) mouth when he smiled, irradiating the beings of heaven and hell. It is noteworthy that the Attasalini(2) also speaks of rasmis (rays of light) of six colours issuing out of Buddha's body. It seems that the Mahayanic ideas were percolating gradually into the rocky soil of the conservative Theravadins. (ii) Lalita vistara The Lalitavistara gives us a picture of Buddha more superhuman than human and yet far from the Mahayanic conceptions of the Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya, though in the last two chapters it dwells on the doctrine of Tathata. In the Lalitavistara Buddha is deified but there are no tracess of the Trikaya conception, It says in many places that Buddha appears in the world of men for lokanuvartana (i.e. to follow the ways of the world), which, if he so desired, he could avoid by remaining in one of the heavens and attaining emancipation there. The running account of Buddha's life is interrupted at times, --probably they are afterthoughts of the complier--by dialogues between Buddha and Ananda, in order to make the treatise appear Mahayanic and not Hinayanic. At one place Buddha explains to Ananda that, unlike human beings, he did not stay in the filth of mother's womb but in a jewel-casket (ratnavyuha)(4) placed in the womb, which was as hard as adamant but soft to the touch like the down of a Kacilindika bird, and that his birth and other events connected with it were all superhuman. At the same time he prophesies that there will be, in the future, men unrestrained in act, thought and speech, ignorant, faithless, proud, believing without deliberation what is heard by them, who will not believe in the superhuman nature of his birth.(5) One can perceive through the poetical exaggerations of ______________________ with the destruction of the law, Mahamaya exclaiming "Ceux qui sont nes du Corps de la Loi (dharmakaya), ou sont-ils alles? 1 Divya., xxxvii, p, 568. 2 Attha., p. 16. 3 E.g. Mtu., I, pp. 168, 170. 4 Lal. Vis., pp. 88, 105, 106. This formed one of the points of contention of the Mahasanghikas. See Masuda, Early Origin &c. in the Asia Major, vol. II. 5 Ibid., pp. 87ff, This goes against the Sarvastivada and Theravada conceptions. p. 526 the Lalitavistara that it has in view the historical Buddha endowed with the major and minor signs--a human being after all, who requires to be reminded by the heavenly musicians of the acts of his past lives and his resolution to become a Buddha and rescue beings from misery, and who needs a stimulus to renounce the world in order to fulfil his resolution.(l) In connection with the offer of houses which was made by the gods to the Bodhisattva when he was in the womb, it is said that in order to please ail the gods who offered houses he caused the the appearance of his pregnant mother Mayadevi in each of those houses by means of the Mahavyuha samadhi. This does not clearly reflect any idea of Nirmanakaya-it appears more like some of the miracles mentioned in the Nikayas. In the last chapter of the Lalitavistara where Buddha's attributes are mentioned, he is called the great tree (mahadruma), because he possesses a body of Dharmakayajnana (the knowledge of Dharmakaya).(2) As this chapter is very likely a Mahayanic addition, we may reasonably say that the Lalitavistara in its original form as a treatise of the Sarvastivadins viewed Buddha as a human being with superhuman attributes. (iii) Abhidharmakosa We may now consider the writings of Vasubandhu, the great exponent of the Sarvastivada school. In his Abhidharmakosa he imported a new meaning into the words Dharmakaya and Rupakaya. In examining the three Saranas, he tried to bring out the real sense of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha in which a Buddhist takes refuge. He said that those who take refuge in Buddha do, in fact, take refuge in the dharmas (qualities) which constitute a Buddha (buddhakaraka), i.e. the dharmas by the acquisition of which a certain person is called a Buddha, or in other words, the dharmas by the acquisition of which a person understands all things. These dharmas are ksayajnana (knowledge of the destruction of misery), anutpadajnana(3) knowledge _______________________ 1 The descriptions gave opportunity to the Mahayanists to invent Upayakausalya Paramita, the duties of Adhyesana, Yacana, etc. 2 La1,. Vis., p. 428 3 Kosa, VI, 67 explains that Ksayajnana with Anutpadajnana makes Bodhi. On account of difference among saints in the acquisition of these jnanas, Bodhi is said to be of three kinds: Sra- p. 527 of the further non-origination of misery), and samyagdrsti (right view) of the Asaiksas together with the dharmas attendant on the jnana, viz. the five pure skandhas. A dharmakaya is formed of these dharmas, In another place, while showing the sameness of the Dharmakayas of all Buddhas, he explained the Dharmakaya as a series of pure dharmas, or rather a renewal of the psyche-physical organism of the substratum (anasravadharmasamtana, asrayaparavrtti).(1) The Dharmakaya then signifies a new purified personality or substratum (asraya), but it is pointed out that such a dharmakaya is possessed also by an arhat.(2) In the Sutralamkara(3) such a dharmakaya is also attributed to the mother of Sakyamuni or to an advanced upasaka. Thus we see that the Kosa has two interpretations of the Dharmakaya, one being th qualities adhering to a Buddha and the other the purified personality (asraya) possessed by him. The Kosa, in fact, replaces the concrete conceptions of the Dharmakaya found in the Nikayas and the Divyavadana by an abstract one. In the last two works the Dharmakaya signified only the doctrines, viz., the Bodhipakkhiya dharmas or Anicca, Dukkha and Anatma, together with the Vinaya rules contained in the Patimokkha, while to Vasubandhu it meant the qualities adhering to a Buddha as well as the purified personality (asraya). Referring to the formulae of the Saranas, Vasubandhu says that as the physical body (rupakaya) of Buddha does not udergo any _________________________ vakabodhi, Pratyekabuddhabodhi and Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. By the above two jnanas one completely abandons ignorance (asesavidyaprahanat); by the first, one realises the truth that his task is accomplished (i.e. the duhkha has been realised by him); by the second, one realises that his task is no more to be accomplished, (i.e, the duhkha has been realised by him and he will not have to labour any more). The samyagdrsti of the Asaiksas is to see things as they are really, to know truly the general character (samanyalaksana) of dharmas, See Keg, VI, 50 fn. For a note on the Ksayajnana, see Masuda, 'Origin of Schools etc.', in Asia Major, vol.II, Fasc. I. 1 Kosa,VII. 34 for the sense of asraya see Ibid., VIII, 34 fn. Cf. asraya parsuddhi, Sutra, p. 186 l. I. 2 Kosa, IV, 56. 3 Huber, Sutralamkara, pp, 217, 390 quoted in the Fr. Transl. of the Kosa, VII, 32 p 81. p. 528 modification by the acquisition of the quality of Buddha, one should not take refuge in the rupakaya of Buddha, which is, in fact, the rupakaya of the Bodhisattva and hence sasrava (impure). Just as a man would respect a monk for the qualities adhering to him and not for his person, so a Buddhist should take refuge in Buddhatva and not in Buddha the person. In the same way Vasubandhu explains the two other saranas, viz., Dharma and Sangha, the former being explained as Nirvana, or the three Truths-Duhkha, Samudaya and Marga, or Sukha, Duhkha and Aukha-adukha--and the latter as the qualities that a sangha of monks is expected to possess.(1) The Vibhasa informs us that there are some who believe that to take refuge in Buddha is to take refuge in the body constituted by the head, nape of the neck, belly, back, hands and feet of the Tathagata. Some say that as the body is born of parents, it is impure (sasrava) and therefore it should not be a place of refuge, The refuge should be the Asaiksa dharmas, which make a Buddha, i,e., the Dharmakaya.(2) Apparently the Vibhasa refers in the first case to the earlier Hinayana schools and in the second to the Sarvastivadins and their followers. Similar Dharmakaya Conception among the Satyasiddhis and the Mahayanists The Satyasiddhi school takes almost the same view of the Dharmakaya as the Sarvastivadins. According to it the Dharmaksya is made of sila, samadhi, prajna, vimukti and vimuktijnanadarsanadharmakayas. Buddhaghosa, Nagarjuna and the writer of the Milinddapanha also refer to such a dharmakaya.(3) It means that the body of Buddha was purified by the practices of these five skandhas, and hence it can be called Dharmakaya. But as these purifications are obtained by Arhats also, Harivarman, the founder of the Satyasiddhi school, distinguished the Dharmakaya of Buddha by saying that his dharmakaya consisted not only of the above five purificatory practices but also of ten powers (dasa bala), four proficiencies (vaisa- _________________________ 1. Compare the formulae of Sarana in the Nikayas, e.g. Digha, III, p. 227. 2. Kosa., VI, p. 32 ; IV, p. 76n.; VIII, p. 34. 3. Vism. p.234; M. Vr.(as opinion of non-Madhyamikas), p.433; Mil, p. 98. p. 529 radya) and the three recollections (smrtyupasthana), which the Arhats cannot obtain.(1) The Abhisamayalankarakarika(2) and the Pancavimsati -sahasrika- prajnaparamita,(3) important text-books of the Yogacara school, define the Dharmakaya with a similar sense. They say that the various dharmas, viz., Bodhipaksikas, Apramanas, Vimoksas, Samapattis and so forth, constitute Sarvajnata (omniscience) and Sarvajnata is the Dharmakaya. It should be noted that the Karika and the Prajnaparamita use this expression in a sense different from that current in the Mahayana texts. It is really the Svasambhogakaya of the later Vijnanavadins. The Prajnaparamitas also maintain the conception that Dharmakaya is produced by dharmas, the highest of which is, according to them, the prajnaparamita, i.e. the knowledge which helps a person to realise the dharma-sunyata. The Astasahasrika takes up the question whether the honour shown to the relics of the Tathagatakaya is more meritorious than the honour shown to the Prajnaparamita, e.g., by making a copy of it. The answer given is that the relies depend on the body purified by the prajnaparamita, and therefore it is the source of Buddhas. The source deserves more honour than the remnants of the fruit (i.e. relics of Buddha) produced therefrom, and therefore it is more meritorious to honour the Prajnaparamita than the relics.(4) It adds that all teachings of Buddha issue from the Prajnaparamita and the Dharmabhanakas preserve and propagate them; so the Dharmabhanakas should also be respected. They are protected by the Dharmakaya, the Prajnaparamita. Sarvajnata (omniscience) is predominated (paribhavita) by the prajnaparamita; from sarvajnata issues the body of Tathagata, the relics of whom are worshipped; hence prajnaparamita deserves greater honour.(5) Hinayanic speculations: (a) Whether rupakaya is vipakaja? The Kosa maintains that the rupakaya of Buddha endowed with the major and minor signs is the result of the excellent karmas of his ________________________________ 1. Y. Sogen, Systems, etc, pp. 181, 182, 2. Karika, Ch. viii. 3. Pancavimsati, (ASB, ms.) 1, 224a. 4. Asta,, ch. iv. 5. Ibid., p.99. It is from this conception that the Prajnaparamita is addressed as the mother of Buddhas. p. 530 previous lives. According to it, even the Buddhas cannot escape the effects of their karma. The schism created by Devadatta in the sangha is attributed to a deed in one of the previous lives of Sakyamuni. The Vyakhya and the Vibhasa explain that it happened to Sakyamuni only, and not to any other Buddha's, because in one of his former lives he divided by dissension the disciples of an ascetic, possessed of five abhijnas.(1) That the Buddhas enjoy or suffer the effects of karma is also maintained by the Divyavadana(2) and the Majjhima Nikaya.(3) The Divyavadana refers to a saying of Sakyamuni that even the Jinas themselves are not free from their karmas, while the Majjhima Nikaya says that a Tathagata performs good deeds in his previous lives, and as a result of those he enjoys in the present pure, and pleasant sensations (vedana) only. Tradition says that when Buddha was hurt by the splinter of stone thrown by Devadatta, he said that ninety-one kalpas ago he had hurt a person by a spear, as the result of which evil deed, he now received a wound. The Milindapanha, however, takes a different view of this matter. Admitting that Devadatta created a schism in the sangha, it says that as the schism was not created by any act of Buddha's own and as it was caused by an external influence, it should be said that Buddha as the result of his karma had an undivided assembly (abhejjapariso). In a similar way it explains away the wound or the illnesses from which Buddha suffered. First it asserts that Buddha attained omniscience after uprooting all roots of evil (akusalamulas); so he could not have any more sufferings through karma. It then says that apart from karma there are other causes like the three humours, seasons, etc. which produce 'vedana' (feelings). According to it, the wound that Buddha received was due to an 'opakammika' (accidental) cause and his illnesses to causes other than karma. (b) Was Buddha a jarayuja or upapaduka? In order to remove doubt from the minds of the people as to the nature of the birth of so great and meritorious a being as the Bodhisattva in his last existence--a doubt expressed also in the Lalitavistara, where a ratnavyuha has been devised for the Bodhisattva's abode in his mother's womb--the Kosa(4) proceeds to show that the _______________________________ 1. Kosa, VII. 34, p.8 fn., 84; IV. 102, p.212 fn. 2. 2. Divya., p.416 3. Majjhima, III, p.227. 4. Kosa, III, 9. p. 531 Bodhisattvas possess the power of choosing the manner of their birth (upapattivasitva), and that Sakyamuni chose birth in a uterus (jarayu) with two objects. One was to benefit the Sakya clan and at the same time not to give opportunity to the people to consider him a magician or a god or a demon, and the other was to leave some relics of his body, by worshipping which men and other beings would go to heaven by thousands, or attain deliverance. The Mahasanghikas and their followers(1) assert that Sakyamuni was an upapaduka (self-born), and that even his son Rahula was also an upapaduka, for Bodhisattvas cannot have kama. They assert that Bodhisattvas are possessed of 'adhisthaniki rddhi' (i.e. the power of appearing anywhere and in any form), and that by that power Sakyamuni made a seeming show of his existence in the womb of Maya. They conceived Buddha as lokottara (transcendental), and Sakyamuni as only a phantom (Nirmanakaya). The transcendental Buddha has a rupakaya which is limitless, everlasting, free from all sasrava dharmas. He is always in samadhi,(2) never sleeps or dreams, can know everything in an instant of thought. He knows neither fatigue nor rest, and is ever busy in enlightening sentient beings. His power and his life are limitless. For the benefit of sentient beings he appears at will in any one of the six gatis. Whatever he utters relates to the truth, though people may understand him differently. In short, the Mahasanghikas conceived Buddha as a totally supermundane being with illimitable powers and knowledge, who never desired to attain Nirvana.(3) Kaya conception at the beginning of Mahayana The Mahayanists incorporated the Nirmanakaya conception of the Mahasanghikas into their Trikaya theory, adding the two other, Samhhogakaya and Dharmakapa, the former approaching the Mahasanighilka conception of the transcendental Buddha, while the latter was a new philosophic conception of the Mahayanists. ______________________ 1. Eg. the Vetulyakas (Kathavatthu). 2. Cf. Lanka., p, 240: sada samahitas ca tathagatah. 3. For details see Masuda's Origin and Doctrines of Early Indian Buddhist Schools, Asia Major, vol. II, fasc. I; Anesaki's article in the E.R.E., sv. Docetism (Buddhist); Suzuki's Outlines of Mahayana Buddihism, pp. 249-251. See also Kosa, III, 9 referring to Mahavastu, I, pp. 145, 154 p. 532 These new Kaya conceptions, it seems, did not make much of an appeal at the beginning of Mahayana. The Saddharma-pundarika and the Suvarnaprabhasa tried to erase any lingering impression about the historical existence of Sakyamuni. In the Saddharma-pundarika(1) we find Maitreya Bodhisattva, assuming the role of a sceptic and enquiring how Buddha could, within a short space of forty years after the attainment of Bodhi at Gaya, perform the innumerable duties of a Tathagata and lead incalculable bodhisattvas to Buddhahood. It appears like the paradox of a man of twenty-five years claiming centenarians as his sons and the latter calling him their father. Similarly Buddha's pointing to Bodhisattvas who had been performing the various duties conducive to Buddhahood for many millions of years as his disciples appears paradoxical. Maitreya says further that in the minds of those Bodhisattvas who recently became Mahayanists (navayanasamprasthitah) there may be doubts of this nature; so the Tathagata should explain the paradox for the welfare of the religion. Buddha then asks his audience thrice to believe his words (avakalpayadhvam abhisraddaddhvam), and says, "It is not to be considered (naiva drastavyam) that Bhagavan Sakyamuni lately leaving his family attained Bodhi at Gaya. I attained sambodhi incalculable ages ago(2), and since then I have been preaching the dharma. All that I have said about the previous Tathagatas, Dipankara etc., and their parinirvana were all my own creations. They were only my expedients for imparting the dharma (upayakausalyadharmadesan- abhinirharanirmitani). All that I have said to the effect that I was young, recently born, left home, and attained Bodhi, was to appeal to a class of people who otherwise would not have been convinced of the excellence of the religion and derive benefits therefrom. But all that I said was not untrue, as the Tathagatas know what the three dhatus really are; they know that the dhatus neither are born nor die, neither produce nor nonproduce, neither exist nor non-exist; neither are they the same nor different, and they are neither true nor false. All that the Tathagatas say is true, but people devoid of right knowledge construe different meanings out of it. Though I have not attained parinirvana, I say that I have attained it. In order to rouse curiosity in the minds of the people and a desire to see Buddha, I say that the appearance of a Buddha is an exceedingly rare event, I made a show of the Nirvana, but did not enter into it, but people with distorted views could not ______________________________ 1. Sad' P., pp.311ff. p. 533 see my real self, and busied themselves with the worship of my relics. But this also produced a good effect, for they thereby became righteous and gave up their passions. From among them I formed my Sravakasangha, and showed myself at Grdhrakuta, and explained to them how to attain the agrabodhi." In the Suvarnaprabhasa(1) Ruciraketu and Kaundilya the brahmana play the role of the sceptics. The former enquires why Sakyamuni, who performed so many meritorious deeds, should have such a short span of life as eighty years. The latter seeks a mustard-like relic of Buddha's body to worship and thus go to heaven. Ruciraketu is told by the Buddhas of all lokadhatus that they did not know any man or god who could calculate the length of Sakyamuni's life. They said that it might be possible to count the drops of water in a sea but it would be impossible to accertain the length of his life. Kaundilya brahmana, who only feigned ignorance, was told by Litsavikumara that, just as it is absurd to expect cocoanuts from a rose-apple tree, so it is absurd to expect a relic from the Buddhakaya. The Tathagatas have no origin, they are ever existing and inconceivable. It is only the Nirmitakaya that is shown by them. How can a body, in which there is no bone or blood, have a dhatu (relic)? Buddhas have only Dharmakaya and there is only the Dharmadhatu. Nirmanakaya The Mahayanic texts tried to show, on the one hand, that the Hinayanists were wrong in their belief that Sakyamuni was really a man of flesh and blood and that relics of his body existed, while on the other hand, they introduced the two conceptions of Nirmanakaya and Buddhakaya. Whatever is said to have been done by Sakyamuni is accounted for by these tests as the apparent doings of a phantom of the Buddhakaya, a shadowy image created to follow the ways of the world (lokanuvartana),(2) in order to bring conviction to the hearts of the people that the attainment of Buddhahood was not an impossibility. As the Buddhas possess the knowledge of all that is to be done (krtyanusthanajnana),(3) they can take any form they desire for the illumination of the various classes of beings. The Mahayanic conception of the Nirmanakaya is essentially the same as that of the Mahasanghikas. ______________________________ 1. Suvarnaprabhasa (B.T.S. ed.), pp.4-8. 2. Cf. Mtu., I, pp.168, 170. 3. One of the four jnanas peculiar to Buddha, see Mvyut., p.2, p. 534 The Prajnaparamitas in their quaint way refer to the Nirmanakaya or Rupakaya. The Pancavimsati says that a bodhisattva after acquiring all the necessary dharmas and practising prajnaparamita, becomes Sambuddha. He then renders service to beings of all lokadhatus (worlds) of the ten corners at all times by Nirmanamegha (Nirmanaclouds). This is called the Nairmanika-kaya.(1) From the Chinese sources(2) we are informed that Nagarjuna in his commentary on the Prajnaparamita, called the Mahaprajnaparamita sastra, speaks of two kayas, rupakaya and dharmakaya. The former is the body born of parents, possessing the qualities of sentient beings, and is subject to human frailties. It was born in Kosala while his dharmakaya was born at Rajagrha. The material body was necessary for "earthly truth." It was for the deliverance of beings that Buddha assumed different bodies, different names, birth-places and ways of emancipation. This interpretation of rupa- and dharma-kayas is also followed in the Chinese Parinirvanasutra and Sandhinirmocanasutra.(3) Some of the Yogacara texts furnish us with the following information regarding the conception of Nirmanakaya as prevailing among the Yogacarins: (i) The Sutralankara(4) explains the Nirmanakaya to be those forms which are assumed by Buddhas to render service to beings of the various worlds. It generally refers to the human form that Buddha takes in order to make a show of his acquiring the ordinary arts and crafts required by an average man, living a family life and then retiring from it, and ultimately attaining Nirvana by recourse to ascetic practices. (ii) The Vijnaptimatratasiddhi tells us that the Nirmanakaya is meant for Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas, Prthagjanas (common men) and Bodhisattvas, who are not yet in one of the ten bhumis. It may appear in all lands whether pure or impure.(5) The Chinese commentaries on the Siddhi mention the various ways, in which Buddha can transform his body or another's body or voice, and his or others' mind, to suit his purpose. Not only could he transform himself into Sakya- ______________________________ 1. Pancavimsati (Cambr. ms.) 343b. 2. C.Akanuma, E.B., II, pp.17ff.; Masuda, Die Indivi- dualistische Idealismus, etc., p.60. 3. E.B., II, pp. 21f. 4. Sutra., p. 45. 5. Masuda, Die Individualistische, etc., p.60. p. 535 muni, or Sariputra into a young girl, but he could also create an altogether new apparitional body, not, of course, a living, thinking being.(1) Often he assumed the voice of Brahma or expressed himself through the mouth of Sariputra or Subhuti, and it was for this reason that we find Sariputra or Subhuti explaining some of the abstruse Mahayana teachings, which they themselves were not expected to understand.(2) The third way in which he could transform his voice was to produce sounds from the sky. His thoughts were supramundane (lokottara) and pure (anasrava). He could produce in his mind any thought he liked; in fact, he appeared in his Nirmitakaya as Sakyamuni with a mind (citta) suited to the ways of the world. He could also impose his thoughts on the minds of others. (iii) The Abhisamayalankarakarika thinks that there are four kayas, of which the Svabhavikakaya is real, and the three others, viz., Dharmakaya (= Svasambhogakaya), Sambhogakaya (= Parasambhogakaya) and Nirmanakaya are samvrta (i.e. unreal) which are meant for Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Sravakas respectively. According to it. the Nirmanakaya was intended for Sravakas and Bodhisattvas, who are not yet in one of the ten bhumis. It describes the Nirmanakaya as a body unsevered from the real kaya; and as the actions performed by it are similarly unsevered from the kaya, they should be regarded as asamsara (transcendental, i.e. not worldly). Then it proceeds to show that the thirty-seven kinds of purificatory actions performed by the Nirmanakaya are really the actions of the Dharmakaya. The thirty-seven actions, as explained by it, are the thirty-seven steps through which a Nirmanakaya passes after its inception. They are as follows:(3) A Nirmanakaya (i) is unmindful of good or bad forms of existence; in other words, takes birth as an animal, human being or god as necessities require-this is called gatiprasamam; (ii) practises the four samgrahavastus (elements of popularity); (iii) enlightens himself about matters opposite and similar, good and evil, by the srutamayi and such other means of knowledge, and then applies himself to the service of others, keeping himself unconcerned (i.e. having no anunaya, like a magician (for the things made by him magically); (iv) prac- _____________________________ 1. I have derived this information from Prof. de la Va Ilee Poussin. 2. See Asta., pp. 14, 33, 414. 3. Journal Asiatique, 1913, p. 604. p. 536 tises the six paramitas purified in three ways trimandalavisuddhi); (v) performs and persuades others to perform, the ten kusalakarmapathas (moral duties) and thus establish all in the path leading to Buddhahood; (vi) exerts for realising the non-existence in reality of all things; (vii) comprehends the non-duality of things and the all-pervasiveness of the dharma-dhatu, and so on, until he reaches the Tathagatabhumi after realising the absence of difference between things constituted and unconstituted.(1) In short, the Karika wants to say that the whole course of life of a Bodhisattva, extending through incalculable births, is nothing but the Nirmanakaya, a thing not separate from the Dharmakaya, as, in fact, according to the Mahayana philosophy, all creations are neither the same as, nor different from, the dharmadhatu. (iv) The Lankavatara explains the relation of the Nirmanakaya to the Dharmakaya in the same way, It states that the Nirmitabuddhas are not produced by actions; the Tathagata is neither in them nor outside them (sarve hi nirmitabuddha na karmaprabhava na tesu tathagato na canyatra tebhyas tathgatah).(2) It is only when the sons of the Jina realise the visible world to have no existence apart from the citta that they obtain the Nirmanakaya free from kriya and samskara, and endowed with bala, abhijna and vasita.(3) Like the Siddhi, it says that the Tathagatas by creating Nirmanakaya perform the various duties of a Tathagata (Tathagatakrtya).(4) It gives also the interesting information that Vajrapani serves as an attendant on the Nirmitanirmanabuddhas, and not on the real Buddhas(5): and that the function of such a Buddha is to preach and explain the characteristics of dana, sila, dhyana, samadhi, citta, prajna, jnana, skandha, dhatu, ayatana, vimoksa, and vijnana.(6) Sambhogakaya We have seen that the Rupakaya or Nirmanakaya was meant for the Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas, Prthagjanas and Bodhisattvas who were not in one of the ten bhumis, so another kaya had to be devised, a very subtle kaya, for the benefit of the Bodhisattvas. This is called _____________________________ 1. Abhisamayalankarakarika, (A.S.B. ms.) 1. 5b; also J.A., 1913, pp. 599, 600. 2. Lanka., p. 242. 3. Lanka., p. 73. 4. Ibid., p. 240. 5. Ibid., p. 242. 6. Ibid., p. 57. p. 537 Parasambhogakaya, as distinguished from Svasambhogakaya, a similar subtle body perceived by the Buddhas alone. It is this Parasambhogakaya which plays the role of a preacher of the various Mahayana sutras, the scenes being mostly laid either at Grdhrakuta, the only place in the three dhatus considered pure and suitable for the appearance of a Sambhogakaya, or in the Sukhavati-vyuha, or in one of the heavens. It will be observed from the description of the appearance of Buddha and his manner of preaching the Sutras that the Mahayanists were not yet able to forget or rise above the human conception of the Hinayanists. They still give Sakyamuni the role of the presiding Buddha of the universe, to whom flock reverently with flowers, incense etc. all the Bodhisattvas, Sravakas and Grhapatis of the various lokadhatus of the ten directions, to hear from him the Prajnaparamita, the Saddharmapundarika, or the Gandavyuha. These Bodhisattvas again have their own tutelary Buddhas, who, according to the Mahayana metaphysics, possess the same Dharmakaya as Sakya- muni. They also come or are sometimes sent by their Buddhas, with messages of greetings and flowers as tokens of their regard, to Sakyamuni Buddha, whose Buddhaksetra is at present the Saha-lokadhatu. Sometimes the descriptions go so far as to say that the Buddhas themselves came to hear discourses from Sakyamuni Buddha, and the concourse of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas became so great that the Saha-loka- dhatu had to be cleared of all oceans, mountains, seas, rivers, and cities, as well as gods, men and other beings. As we read in the Hinayana texts that monks used to come to meet Buddha, bringing with them one or two samaneras, so also we read in the Saddharmapundarika that on account of insufficiency of space the countless Buddhas could not bring with them more than one or two Bodhisattvas as attendants (upasthapakas).(1) Now let us see what was their conception of the Kaya of this Buddha. According to the Satasahasrika and the Pancavimsatisahasrika, (2) it is an exceedingly refulgent body, from every pore of which streamed forth countless brilliant rays of light, illuminating the lokadhatus as innumerable as the sands of the Ganges. When this body stretched out its tongue, innumerable rays of light ______________________________ 1. Sad. P., pp. 244-245. 2. Sata., pp. 8-29; Pancavimsati, pp. 6ff.; For Asecanaka' see Samadhirajasutra, (B.T.S. ed.) p.10 p. 538 issued forth from it, and on each ray of light was found a lotus of thousand petals on which was seated a Tathagatavigraha (an image of the Tathagata, a sort of Nirmanakaya), preaching to Bodhisattvas, Grhasthas (householders), Pravrajitas (recluses) and others the dharma consisting of the six paramitas. After a Simhavikridita samadhi his body illuminated the trisahasramahasahasra lokadhatu just as the bright clear sun or the full-moon illuminates the world. Buddha then shows his Prakrtyatmabhava (real form) to all the worlds. The several classes of gods as well as the men of the four continent, Jambudvipa, Aparagodana etc., see this Prakrtyatmabhava and think that the Tathagata is sitting before them and preaching the doctrine. From this body again some rays of light issue forth by which all beings of all lokadhatus see Sakyamuni Buddha preaching the Prajnaparamitas to his sangha of monks and congregation of Bodhisattvas. Though this concept of the refulgent body of Buddha found currency in the Prajnaparamitas, the expression Sambhogakaya was still unknown to them. It was usually called by them Prakytyatmabhava (natural body) or Asecenaka-atmabhava (All-diffusing body). As a matter of fact, the Astasahasrika is not even aware of the Prakrtyatmbhava or Asecanaka-atmabhava, showing clearly its priority to the other Prajnaparamitas. It speaks only of Rupakaya and Dharmakaya(1) and the long glorious description of Buddhakaya, which appears in the Sata and Pancavimsati as 'nidana' (introduction) to the text, is totally absent from it. It is only in the recast version of the Pancavimsati that the expression Sambhogika-kaya was introduced by way of giving a gist of the topic.(2) In it the Sambhoga-kaya is described thus: Bodhisattvas, after attaining bodhi by means of the prajnaparamita, take a body endowed with thirty-two major and eighty minor signs with a view to preach the doctrines of Mahayana to the bodhisattvas and at the same time to arouse in their minds joy, delight and love for the excellent dharma(3). The Prajnaparamitas regarded this refulgent kaya as nirmita (created), and as such they included it in Rupakaya and did not feel the necessity of introducing the conception of a third kaya, the Sambhogika. In keeping with this dvikaya theory of the Prajnaparamitas, Nagarjuna also did not refer to, or probably was not aware of, the third kaya, the Sambhogika. Both Drs. Akanuma and Masuda could not _____________________________ 1. Asta., pp. 338, 497, 513 2 & 3. Pancavimsati (A.S.B. ms.) 1, 359a Iti Sambho- gika-kayah. p. 539 trace the conception of Sambhogakaya in Nagarjuna's Mahaprajnaparamitasastra. Dr. Akanuma also mentions his disinclination to accept the "Hymns of the Triple Body (Trikaya)" ascribed by the Tibetans to Nagarjuna as a work of the famous Nagarjuna.(1) If the Karikas of Nagarjuna on the Tathagatakaya(2) be examined, it also becomes apparent that Nagarjuna was interested in giving an exposition of the real kaya (i.e. Dharmakaya or Svabhavakaya) only. To him the distinction of Sambhogakaya and Rupakaya was unimportant, as both of them were unreal. Thus, we see that up to the time of Nagarjuna, the conception of Sambhogakaya was not distinguished from that of Rupa-or Nirmanakaya. The Lankavatara presents us first with this conception, calling it Nisyanda- or Dharmata-nisyanda-Buddha, and it seems that the term Sambhogakaya was not yet current. We have seen that in Hinayana works also it is pointed out that the super-excellent body of Buddha, endowed with the major and minor signs of great men, was due to the countless meritorious deeds performed by him in his previous lives(3). The Chinese rendering of Sambhogakaya by hsing fo, in which hsing means fruit or reward, also indicates that Sambhoga had no other sense than 'vipaka or nisyanda'. The later Yogacarins called it Parasambhogakaya in order to distinguish it from the other kaya called by them Svasambhoga. Though the Astasahasrika does not distinguish Sambhogakaya from the Nirmanakaya, it refers to the super-excellent body of Buddha as the result of his meritorious acts in previous lives.(4) The Lankavatara by using the expression Vipakaja or Vipakastha, shows a stage of transition from the Hinayanic conception of Vipakaja-kaya to that of Mahayanic Parasambhogakaya. The Lankavatara says that the function of the Nisyanda Buddha is to teach the parikalpita (imaginary) and pardtantra (relatively existent) nature of things to those persons, who weave a net of thought-constructions around themselves being unaware of the dreamlike nature of things.(5) This is also the function of Sakyamuni of ______________________________ 1. Eastern Buddhist, II, pp. 17ff. 2. M. Vr. ch. XXII. 3. Lanka., pp. 28, 34; see ante, pp. 529-530. 4. Asta., p. 515. Buddhanam kayah karanasamutpannah purvakarmavipakad utpannah, etc. 5. Lanka., p. 57. p. 540 the Sahalokadhatu when he imparts the teaching of the Prajnaparamitas or the Saddharma-Pundarika.(1) (ii) The Sutralankara also does not distinguish Sambhogakaya into Svasambhoga and Parasambhoga. It says that with this body Buddhas enjoy the dharmas and it is different according to the different lokadhatus, implying thereby that a Buddha of each lokadhatu has his own Sambhogakaya which is different from those of other Buddhas of other Buddhaksetras.(2) (iii & iv) The Suvarnaprabhasa and the Abhisamayalankarakarika tell us that the Sambhogakaya is a very subtle body of Buddha. It is endowed with all the mahapurusa signs and is generally assumed by Buddhas for imparting the higher and metaphysical truths to the advanced bodhisattvas. The Suvarnaprabhasa(3) also does not speak of the two forms of Sambhogakaya, to be found in the Siddhi. (v) The Siddhi says that there are two Sambhogakayas called Parasambhogakaya and Svasambhogakaya. The former is seen by bodhisattvas, while the latter is seen by the Buddhas of the various lokadhatus, and not by bodhisattvas. As regards refulgence, illirnitability and immeasurability there is no difference between these two kayas. Both of them have colour and form (varna-rupa- samsthana) as well as sound (sabda). On account of the knowledge of sameness (samata) obtained by Buddhas, the body is anasrava (pure). It can appear only in a pure land like the Sukhavativyuha or Grdhrakuta. The differences between the Para-sambhogakaya and the Sva-sam- bhogakaya are that the former has the mahapurusalaksanas while the latter has not, and that the citta of the former is as unreal as that of the Nirmanakaya, while the citta of the latter is real, and besides, this citta possesses the four jnanas, viz., adarsajnana (mirror-like knowledge),(4) samata-jnana (knowledge of the sameness of all things), pratyaveksana-jnana (knowledge of distinguishing subject, object and the varieties of things) and krtyanusthana-jnana (knowledge of doing all that is to be done).(5) The rupa of both the Sambhogakayas is exceedingly subtle and expansive without limit, yet it is sapratigha ______________________________ 1. The function of Nirmitabuddha is to teach dana, sila etc. see ante, p. 536. 2. Sutra., pp. 45-6. 3. Suzuki, Outlines etc., p. 257 ; in the published portion of the Sanskrit text (B.T.S.) this passage does not occur, 4. Cf. Digha., II, p. 93 : Dhammadasa. 5. Explained in detail in the Sutra., pp. 46ff; Mvyert., 5. p. 541 (possessed of the quality of obstruction). Nevertheless the subtle bodies of countless Buddhas are interpenetrable. The recast version of the Pancavimsati(1) refers to the Sambhogakaya, and does not, like the Karika, distinguish between Dharmakaya (= Svasambhoga) and Parasambhogikakaya the reason being that in the original version of the Pancavimsati, there must have been, as in the other Prajnaparamitas, the conceptions of only two kayas, and not of three or four. The Karika, in fact, supports the Siddhi in regard to the conception of kayas, using only somewhat different names. The conception of the Svasambhogakaya shows a tendency of the Yogacara school to posit something like the Isvara of the Upanisads behind the phenomenal universe. The Dharmakaya corresponds to the impersonal absolute of the Vedanta, the Brahman, and the Sambhogakaya to the Isvara when Brahman assumes name and form. Every Buddha, it should however be noted, has his own Sambhogakaya but all Buddhas have one Dharmakaya. The Lankavatara also gives hints to this effect. It says that abhava (absence of anything) is not Tathagata, and again, as Tathagata is described as 'Anutpadaanirodha', it has some meaning. It then denotes the Manomayadharmakaya(2). It cannot be seen by non-Buddhists, Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas and even Bodhisattvas in one of the first seven bhumis. Just as different names of one thing or one person like hasta, kara, pani, or, Indra, Sakra, Puraudara indicate different aspects of the same thing so also the different names of Sakyamuni Buddha in the Sahalokadhatu, e.g. Svayambhuva, Nayaka, Vrsabha, Visnu, Isvara, Pradhana, Kapila, Soma, Bhaskara, Rama, Vyasa; or, Sunyata, Tathata Bhutakoti, Nirvana, Sarvajna etc. indicate the different aspects of Sakyamuni Buddha(3). People being subject to the conceptions of two extremes 'is' or 'is not' (dvayantapatitaya) do not know that Buddha is like a reflection of the moon on water neither appearing nor disappearing. In this passage there is a clear hint that this Manomayadharmakaya, existing in the Sahalokadhatu, is the same as the Svasambhogakaya of the Siddhi and the Asecanaka-atmabhava or _____________________________ 1. Pancavimsati (A.S.B. ms) 1. 359a. Cf. Siksa. p.159 Bodhic., pp. I, 4; Mtu., III, pp. 344, 452. 2. For definition of Manomayakaiya and its three sub- divisions, see Lanka., p. 81; Suzuki, E.B., iv, pp. 284-5. 3. Lanka., pp. 192-3 ; Cf. Dasa., P, 55, p. 542 Prakrtyatmabhava of the Prajnaparamitas, and it corresponds to the Upanisadic conception of Isvara. Dharmakaya The three Kayas, of which we have so far spoken, belong strictly to the realm of Samvrti, worldly and transcendental, and as such they were treated as Rupa or Nirmanakaya by the early Mahayanists, including Nagarjuna. The only real kaya of Buddha is the Reality as conceived by the Mahayanists, and is not different from the things or beings of the universe(1). Though an attempt to define it by the current words and expressions is bound to be not only incorrect but misleading, the Mahayanic texts tried to give an idea of it as far as the language permitted. The Karika and the Siddhi call it Svabhavika or Svabhava kaya. It is, according to them, immeasurable and illimitable. It fills all space. It is the basis of the Sambhoga and Nirmana-kayas. It is devoid of all marks (i.e. mahapurusalaksanas) and is inexpressible (nisprapanca). It is possessed of eternal, real and unlimited gunas. It has neither citta nor rupa, and again it is not different from them. There is one and only one Dharmakaya. Buddhas may have their individual Sambhogakayas but they have all one Dharmakaya(2). It call only be realised within oneself and not described, for that would be like the attempt of the blind man to describe the sun, which he has never seen(3). It is often questioned whether the conception of Dharmakaya can be traced in the Prajnaparamitas and the works of Nagarjuna, and whether the Prajnaparamitas and works of Nagarjuna admit of such a reality, or rather preach pure and simple negativism? To put in another way, was it the object of the Prajnaparamitas and Nagarjuna's works to point out only the incongruities of the world and worldly knowledge and avoid making any statement about the Reality or the truth? The Astasahasrika and other Prajnaparamitas, though unrelenting in their negation of every possible statement about the reality, never assert that Tathata or Sunyata or Dharmakaya in its real sense is also non-existing. The statements like 'tathatavikara ______________________________ 1. In a Buddhist inscription of Battambang, a stanza in salutation of Buddha brings out this idea. See Le Museon, vol. VII. 2. Cf, Vis. M., p. 508 : Nirvana is one for all Buddhas.dhass. 3. Masuda, op. cit., p. 59; Suzuki, Avakening of Faith, p. 62. p. 543 nirvikaravikalpa nirvikalpa' (Suchness is immutable, unchangeable, beyond percept and distinctions)(1) show rather a positive conception of the Reality than a purely negative one. In regard to the Dharmakaya also the Astasahasrika makes similar statements, It says that he who knows that the dharmas, existing in the world or preached by the Tathagata, have no more existence than things in a dream and, does not enquire whence the Tathagata comes and where does he go, realises the Tathagata through Dharmata.(2). The Buddhakaya, that people speak of, arises through cause and condition like the sound of a flute; it has really no appearance or disappearance, Those who run after the form and voice of the Tathagata and conceive of his appearance and disappearance is far from the Truth(3). No further statemeuts than this can be mad e about the Reality, for that would be again prapanca. When the Astasahasrika asserts that Tathagata does not exist, it refers to that Tathagata as conceived by one on reading the Mahayana texts. Even the Bodhisattvas, unless and until they reach the tenth bhumi, cannot extricate themselves from a conception of the Tathagatakaya, however subtle it may be (e.g. the Svasambhogakaya). They are still under a delusion and it is this delusion that the Prajnaparamitas endeavour to remove by asserting that there is no Tathagata. Nagarjuna by denying the existence of a so-called Tathagata does nothing more than what the Prajnaparamitas endeavour to establish. His point is that, if bhavasantati (series of existence) be admitted then the existence of a Tathagata should also be admitted,(4) for the Tathagata represents the ultimate state of this bhavasantati; it is a ______________________________ 1. Asta., p. 507 ; cf. another passage : ya ca tatha- gatatathata ya va ca dharma-tathata ekaivaisa tathatadvayadvaidhikaradvayatathata na kvacit tathata na kutascit tathata na kasyacit tathata tatah sa tatha-tadvayadvaidhikaradvayatathata. (That which is Tathagata-tathata and that which is all-things-tathata are non-dual, one and the same, Tathata is neither anywhere nor arises from anywhere, nor belongs to anything, hence as Tathata does not belong to anybody; it is non- dual and one). For other passages of similar import, see M. Vr., ch. xxii. 2. Asta., p. 514: te dharmataya tathagatam prajanati. Cf, M.Vr. p. 448 : dharmato buddha drastavyah. 3. Asta,, p, 513. 4. M Vr., p. 431 :vidyata eva bhavasantatis tathaga- tasadbhavat. p. 544 state attained by a being after a long series of existence. As in reality (paramarthatah) there is no bhavasantati, there is also no Tathagata--that being who is supposed to have become Tathagata after practising mahakaruna and other virtues, and thereby attaining omniscience. If the Tathgata had really existed, he would either be the same as five skandhas or different from them, or the skandhas would be in him or he in the skandhas, but as he is none of these nor any one of these is he, he cannot have any real existence. By these and other similar arguments Nagarjuna asserts that there is no Tathagata. By such denial he only establishes that the Tathagata as the ultimate state of bhavasantati does not exist. Candrakirti, in support of Nagarjuna's arguments, quotes a passage from the Astasahasrika (p.479), in which Buddha and his dharma are compared to maya or svapna, but at the same time he says "we do not assert the non-existence (nastitva) of the Tathagata in every way, for then we would be guilty of apavada (denial), and yet being desirous of describing the Tathagata by means of vyavahara-satya (conventionally) and by taking recourse to super-impositions (samaropa) we say that he is sunya or asunya, or sunyasunya or naiva sunyam nasunyam. But he who endeavours to realise the true Tathagata by having recourse to statements and denials will never know him. Candrakirti in support of this quotes the verses from the Vajracchedika, to which the Astasahasrika also refers, viz., "he who endeavoured to see me through my form and voice could not see me because dharmato buddha drastavya dharmakaya hi nayakah/ dharmata capy avijneya na sa sakya vijanitum// (A buddha is to be seen) in the sense of dharmata (nature of dharmas), for the leaders (of men) have only Dharmakaya. That dharmata-is unktnowable (so also is the Tathagata)(2) Nagarjuna concludes his examination of the Tathagatakaya by identifying Tathagata with the world (jagat)(5) or nature itself, and asserting that the Tathgata, whom people or even Bodhisattvas have ______________________________ 1. Ibid., p.432. Na hy ekena janmana Sakyam tathaga- tatvam anupraptum. 2. M. Vr., p.448 ; cf, Asta., pp. 513, 514; Vajra., p. 43. 3. Tathagato yatsvabhavas tat svabhavam idam jagat/ Tathagato nihsvabhavo nihsvabhavam idam jagat// M. Vr., pp. 448-9 p. 545 in view, is only a bimba (image) of kusaladharmas and is not the real Tathata or Tathagata(1). A dialectician like Nagarjuna cannot go further than this to establish the Reality. it is by denial of the existence of unreal things, including the so-called Tathagata, that he points towards the Reality--the real Tathagatakaya, the Dharmakaya(2). The conception of Dharmakaya was of special interest to the Yogacarins. The Lankavatara(3) in describing it says that Dharmata- Buddha is without any substratum (niralamba) and lies beyond the range of functioning organs of sense, proofs or signs and hence beyond the vision of Sravakas, Pratyeka-buddhas or the non-Mahayanists. It is to be realised within one's own self. The Sutralankara(4) calls it Svabhavika-dharmakaya. It is one and the same kaya in all Buddhas, very subtle, unknowable and eternal. The Trimsika(5) explains the Dharmakaya as the transformed asraya (substratum)--the alaya- vijnana--the transformation being effected by knowledge (jnana) and the suppression of the two evils (dausthulyas), viz., klesavarana and jneyavarana. The Aloka(6) on the Abhisamayalankarakarika also explains the Dharmakaya in a similar way. According to it, there are two kinds of Dharmakaya, one being the Bodhipaksika and other dharmas, which are themselves pure and productive of clear knowledge (nisprapancajnanatmaka) and the other the transformed asraya of the same, which is then called Svabhavakaya. Prof. Stcherbatsky(7) supplies us with nearly the same information that we find in the Aloka from some source, which he does not mention. He says that "according to the early Yogacaras the Dharmakaya is divided into Svabhavakaya (no-bo-nid-sku) and Jnanakaya (ye-ses-kyi-sku), the first is the motionless (nitya) substance of the universe, the second is anitya, i.e. changing, living." Evidently what the Professor means by Jnanakaya is the Dharmakaya, consisting of the Bodhipaksika and other dharmas, of the Aloka. That the Svabhavakaya is the nityakaya, as pointed ______________________________ 1. M.Vr., p. 449. 2. Prapancayanti ye buddham prapancatitam avyayam / Te prapancahatah sarve na pasyanti Tathagatam // See also M. Vr, p. 534. 3. Lanka., pp. 57, 70. 4. Sutra., p. 45. 5. Trimsika, p. 44. 6. J.A., 1913. 7. Con. of N., p. 185n. p. 546 out by him, is also supported by the Suvarnaprabhasa and other texts(1). The Chinese commentators on the Siddhi say that Dharmakaya is the metaphysical principle of real citta and rupa of the Tathagata. 'It is the real nature of things, and it can be equated with Tathata, Dharmadhatu or Tathagatagarbha.(2) The goal of Bodhisattvas is to realise the Dharmakaya. Every being has the Dharmakaya, or the Dharmakaya comprises all beings of the world, but beings being blinded by avidya do not realise this fact. What the Bodhisattva aims at is the removal of this avidya and the realisation of the fact that he is the same as the Dharmakaya. The Aloka on the Karika(3) enumerates gradual steps through which a Bodhisattva passes, and points out that the last step of a Bodhisattva is to realise the Dharmakaya (dharmakayahisambodhena bhavisyati), after which it becomes easy for him to assume any one of the four kayas. In the Lankavatara we notice that Mahamati is anxious to know how a Bodhisattva after completion of the ten bhumis can attain the Tathagatakaya or Dharmakaya and go to any one of the Buddhaksetras or heavens. The Lankavatara also describes in rosy colours the prospect of attaining Dharmakaya. It says that a Bodhisattva after attaining the Mahadharmamegha in the ninth bhumi is adorned with many jewels, and sits on a lotus in a jewelled palace surrounded by other Bodhisattvas of his status. He there comprehends the illusory nature of all things. He is anointed (abhiseka) by Vajrapani as a son of Buddha. He then goes beyond the bhumi of Buddhasutas by realising within himself the dharmanairatmya and confronts the Dharmakaya.(4) The Trimsika says that just as Vimuktikaya is the goal of the arhats so Dharmakaya is the goal of Bodhisattvas. It shows that as the arhats by getting rid of klesavarana obtain a purified kaya so also a Buddha by getting rid of both klesa- and jneyavaranas obtains the Dharmakaya.(5) ______________________________ 1. Suvarnaprabhasa (B. T. S.), p. 8; Lanka., p. 78; Sutra., p. 46. 2. I have derived this information from Prof. de la Vallee Poussin. In Lanka. (pp. 77, 78) the Tatha- gatagarbha is described as nitya, dhruva, sasvata, siva etc. just as the non-Buddhists speak of their great soul as nitya, karta, nirguna, vibhu, avyaya. 3. J. A., 1913. 4. Lanka., pp. 51, 70. 5. Trimsika, p. 44.