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Buddhadharma : Fall 2009
57 fall 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly nirmanakaya, or “created body,” is the flesh and blood physi- cal body, but it’s understood as pure. The sambhogakaya, or “body of enjoyment,” refers to the energetic world, the invisible world of symbol and magic. The dharmakaya is the ultimate body, the body of reality itself. All those kayas manifest within the body, so when we talk about not focusing on the body, we are not suggesting that, therefore, spirituality is elsewhere. That just puts you back up in your head. The body is a gateway that is accessible to us right here, right now. BuddhadharMa: How is something as rarified as the sambhoga- kaya and the dharmakaya still “body” in the sense that we understand body, as the thing with ears and nose and toes? reggie ray: We have a cultural understanding of what the body is, but we have to realize that lots of different people in dif- ferent cultures and at different levels of maturation look at the physical body and see very different things. Some look at a body and all they see is physical phenomenon defined by modern biology, but a meditator can look at the body and see that as a conceptual overlay. What the body actually is, as Phillip said, is a continuous flow of sensations, none of which is solid. At a further level, someone could look at this body and see pure energy. They In turn, the students will have a larger orientation from the beginning. I agree with Rinpoche’s and Cyndi’s descriptions of the original conception of asana practice as being about the energetic level of experience. In fact, every asana is actu- ally a form of meditation. There is a one-pointedness to every single asana, and if you find that one-pointedness within the practice, it changes the practice. Even if you’re not informed about a particular map of how energy moves in the body, you discover blockages, and the awareness itself starts to open up the channels. Cyndi Lee: I would add that there is not only the one-pointed- ness of the asana—what I would call the shamatha aspect— but also panoramic awareness. You feel the energetic circuitry in space in a room with other people. It becomes a template for how we are with other people in the world. BuddhadharMa: One of the early instructions many of us received was not to focus or “centralize” on the body. We were told to go beyond think- ing of ourselves as our body. How do you understand this teaching in rela- tion to the strong focus on the body you’ve all been speaking about? reggie ray: When we’re instructed not to focus on the body, we’re being taught not to focus on our idea of the body, the body as we currently expe- rience it. The more you explore your physical body, the more it dissolves into energy, and you realize that even the idea of having a physical body is mistaken. The body is an energetic phenomenon onto which we have superimposed the idea of solidity. PhiLLiP Moffitt: The body is the way to get into this moment, and to develop a continuity of presence, of being. reggie ray: At a very deep level, we can talk about experiencing the Bud- dha’s body, the three kayas. The The body is not peripheral. Engagement with the body is at the heart of spirituality. If you go far enough in working with your body, you discover your fundamental being beyond time and space. —Reggie Ray