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nirmāṇa-kāya


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(Skt.). The Emanation Body or physical embodiment of a Buddha.according to the Mahāyāna doctrine of the ‘three bodies’ (trikāya). The concept may have originated in Mahāsaṃghika circles (although the link is unproven), where it was maintained that the Buddha was essentially eternal and primordially enlightened in his cosmic or dharma-kāya aspect, but had the ability to manifest in various forms appropriate to different beings in saṃsāra in order to demonstrate to them the manner in which enlightenment (bodhi) may be attained. This docetic concept was largely adopted unchanged by later Mahāyāna followers. Some authorities, however, hold that docetism was a Mahāyāna development which then influenced certain later Mahāsaṃghika sources. In tantric Buddhism.the nirmāṇa-kāya is considered to be equivalent to the body vector of a Buddha's activities. See also body, speech, mind.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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