The Terminology of Three Kayas

If you are like me and get confused about terminology, this may help your confusion…I mean, clarify your confusion!

The traditional names for our three enlightened qualities are dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmankaya. These are known as the three kayas.

This is described on three levels: Ground, Path and Fruition.

At the level of Ground (being our basic nature), dharmakaya is empty essence, sambhogkaya is cognisant nature and nirmanakaya is expression.

At the level of Path (where we are now: our being is confused about its basic ground), dharmakaya is bliss, sambhogkaya is clarity and nirmanakaya is non-thought.

At the level of Fruition (where we realise that the path never existed and we have been the ground all along), the three kayas are seen as Buddhahood. Dharmakaya is free from any constructs. Sambhogakaya is Light. Nirmankaya manifests as form, to benefit all beings.

NB Expression, non-thought and physical manifestation are levels of nirmanakaya, revealed as compassion. In the moment of non-thought, compassion is stillness. Depending at what level we are working, we may use any of the six paramitas, or the four enlightened activities to suit a situation.

Six paramitas: patience, generosity, discipline, perseverance, meditation and transcendent knowledge.

Four enlightened activities: pacifying, magnetising, enriching and destroying.

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