Friday, October 19, 2007

longs spyod rdzogs pa'i sku - sambhogakaya

The second form part in the system of three parts of a Buddha is longs spyod rdzogs pa'i sku, sambhogakaya in Sanskrit, and usually translated with the intriguing title enjoyment body.

longs spyod is enjoyment, rzdogs pa is perfect. The 'i is a genitive particle, binding the right side to the left. sku is body.

This term is also sometimes shortened to be longs sku.

So what is this form? It is the form an enlightened being takes for ten level bodhisattvas, as a representation as a teacher. This has five perfected parts: perfect teacher, perfect retinue, place, teaching, and time that is only perceptible to bodhisattvas on the tenth (last) ground.

If you attend a teaching, and you sit close to a teacher, it is an approximation of what will happen later along the path, when you are a tenth level bodhisattva. You might maybe even have this teacher in the enlightened, sambhogakaya form. Or maybe that is already the case, and we don't yet perceive it??

And why is this an enjoyment body? The buddha is in a constant state of bliss, hence the name.

Now, a case that might map to this is the story how Asanga was taken to the realm of Maitreya and receive the five texts. Now, according to the Tantric system Maitreya is already enlightened, but in the scope of this story, the Sutra tradition, Maitreya is not yet enlightened, and is on the tenth stage Bodhisattva level, just about to become enlightened. Anyway, there are many other examples of practitioners reaching up to this level and receiving teachings directly from a sambhogakaya form, and these are also described for various enlightened beings in the scriptures. This includes the so called 32 minor and 80 minor marks of an enlightened being.

As a final note, these three parts are also associated with a Buddha's body, speech, and mind, nirmanakaya is the body aspect, sambhogakaya is the speech aspect, and dharmakaya is the mind aspect.

Next, there's actually another, four-part description of an enlightened being.

No comments: