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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
winter 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 41 enlightened being; it is an empty body that is like space. This is known as the inner buddhanature, and from this perspective, it is said that the Buddha became enlightened in the “inner Bodhgaya.” Here, the dharmakaya is also known as the inner Bodh- gaya, because it is the ultimate place of enlighten- ment of the Buddha. The inner Bodhgaya is the Bodhgaya of one’s own self-knowing awareness. Thus, according to this extraordinary point of view, when it is taught that the Buddha was enlight- ened within the state of the dharmakaya, it means that he was enlightened within the vast expanse of the wisdom mind of the primordial buddha Samantabhadra, the one who has fully realized bud- dhanature from the very beginning. According to the teachings of Dzogpa Chenpo, or Dzogchen, it is taught that when one realizes the buddhanature internally, then one’s buddhanature is known as the glorious primordial buddha Samantabhadra. Buddha Samantabhadra is enlightened in the primordial ground, the vast expanse of the dhar- makaya. From this wisdom mind, Samantabhadra manifests infinite sambhogakaya buddha fields, arrayed in the vastness of the expanse of space like infinite lights, as numerous as there are atoms in all of existence. From that state of dharmakaya enlightenment, and due to its blessings, compas- sion, and power, the infinite sambhogakaya buddha fields naturally manifest. Then similarly from the sambhogakaya buddha fields, Samantabhadra dis- plays infinite nirmanakaya emanations such as Bud- dha Shakyamuni, who appear in the worldly realms of existence for the benefit of sentient beings. The Dharmakaya Buddha If we wish to understand the dharmakaya Buddha for ourselves, let us consider the example of space. To begin, we need to contemplate repeatedly what is meant when it is said that the natural state of mind is similar to space. In the Dzogchen teachings, There are two ways of under- standing a buddha or an enlightened one, depending on whether one considers a buddha from the ultimate point of view or from the relative point of view. A buddha may be understood from the ultimate point of view as manifesting from the absolute “downward” into the relative realms of experience out of compassion for beings. On the other hand, a buddha may be understood from the relative point of view as one who begins from the relative condition of an ordinary sentient being in samsara and gradually progresses “upward” along the path in order to realize the ultimate. When we speak of the Buddha according to the relative viewpoint of the general vehicles of Bud- dhism, we are speaking from the perspective of the ordinary dualistic mind. In this case, the teach- ings speak of the outer buddhanature. From the standpoint of the outer buddhanature, Buddha Shakyamuni became enlightened under the bodhi tree at the “outer Bodhgaya,” the place where the thousand buddhas of this fortunate aeon are enlightened. On the other hand, if we want to understand Buddha Shakyamuni according to the ultimate viewpoint of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, then we are speaking from the perspective of the dhar- makaya. Dharmakaya means “absolute body” or “truth body” and refers to the wisdom mind of an (Opposite) Samantabhadra by Chris Banigan