What are the Three Bodies of the Buddha

What are the Three Bodies of the Buddha

Although many people throughout the globe know Buddhism, many people are

insensitive to the founding principles of this religion. I will read one principle and give my

reaction trying to be as much objective as possible. In this brief paper, I would like to give my

reaction on a segment of De Bary’s book on Buddhism Tradition about “The Three Bodies of the

Buddha” through to the topic on Karma and Rebirth (De Bary, 1972, p. 94-98) The authors start

by introducing what the text is about; where the founders derived the principles from Asanga’s


De Bary then describes the names of the three bodies starting with the Body of Essence,

the body of Bliss and the Transformation Body (1972, p. 94). We learn that the foremost body is

the foundation of the other two bodies. This conviction clearly indicates that the bodies are

interdependent. In my opinion, a complete religious activity must involve an aspect of each

body; whether directly or indirectly. The Body of Bliss differs in every plane of the cosmos,

depending on the region, name, mode, and in occurrence of a phenomenon. The Body of

Essence, although intrinsic in the Body of Bliss is subtle and uniform. Indeed, The Body of

Essence is uniform for all the Buddhas. In my opinion, The Body of Bliss recognizes all the

human diverse nature, and despite their difference, they have a common origin signified by The

Body of Essence.

The Transformation Body articulates the stages all humans go through, including the

birth, enlightenment, and last, but not the least, Nirvana. The transformation body, according to

Asanga’s Ornament, has magic power that can guide men to enlightenment. The Bodies of the

Buddhas although distinct, are uniform in basis, tendency, and act (De Bary, 1972, p. 95).


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