Religion Past and Present

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(392 words)

[German Version]

(Sanskrit, “threefold body [of the Buddha]”; Chinese sanshen, Japanese sanjin). Early Buddhist literature describes the historical person of the Buddha as rūpakāya, “a body recognizable through its physical form”). As an enlightened being, his person was equated metaphorically with the truth of his teaching (dharma[kāya]). “Whoever imparts insight into my teaching sees me as well” (Saṃyuttanikāya 22.87). When the Buddha died, his teaching remained. If all of the Buddha’s truth were the same, his individual identity would necessarily h…

Cite this page
Astley, Ian, “Trikāya”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 11 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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